Lignin-First Fractionation of Softwood Lignocellulose Using a Mild Dimethyl Carbonate and Ethylene Glycol Organosolv Process

Alessandra De Santi*, Maxim V. Galkin, Ciaran W. Lahive, Peter J. Deuss, Katalin Barta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


A mild lignin-first acidolysis process (140 °C, 40 min) was developed using the benign solvent dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and ethylene glycol (EG) as a stabilization agent/solvent to produce a high yield of aromatic monophenols directly from softwood lignocellulose (pine, spruce, cedar, and Douglas fir) with a depolymerization efficiency of 77–98 %. Under the optimized conditions (140 °C, 40 min, 400 wt % EG and 2 wt % H2SO4 to pinewood), up to 9 wt % of the aromatic monophenol was produced, reaching a degree of delignification in pinewood of 77 %. Cellulose was also preserved, as evidenced by a 85 % glucose yield after enzymatic digestion. An in-depth analysis of the depolymerization oil was conducted by using GC-MS, HPLC, 2 D-NMR, and size-exclusion chromatography, which provided structural insights into lignin-derived dimers and oligomers and the composition of the sugars and derived molecules. Mass balance evaluation was performed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4468-4477
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Early online date26-Feb-2020
Publication statusPublished - 7-Sep-2020


  • acidolysis
  • biomass valorization
  • depolymerization
  • dimethyl carbonate
  • lignin

Cite this