A team of researchers from Purdue University's Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels has developed a catalytic process that converts lignin into valuable chemical commodities. "We are able to take lignin - which most biorefineries consider waste to be burned for its heat - and turn it into high-value molecules that have applications in fragrance, flavoring and high-octane jet fuels," Mahdi Abu-Omar explains. "We can do this while simultaneously producing from the biomass lignin-free cellulose, which is the basis of ethanol and other liquid fuels. We do all of this in a one-step process."
Biomass to chemicals