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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 8, 2014

Hydrogenolysis of lignin in ZnCl2 and KCl as an inorganic molten salt medium

  • Jörn Appelt EMAIL logo , Anne Gohrbandt , Jana Peters , Martina Bremer and Steffen Fischer
From the journal Holzforschung


Lignin can be converted into monomeric products with the aid of molten salt media. Molten zinc chloride (ZnCl2)/potassium chloride (KCl) mixtures are suitable for this purpose. The application of an eutectic mixture with low melting points leads to similar main products as are obtained by pyrolysis. The hydrogenolysis of an organosolv lignin in molten salts of ZnCl2/KCl was investigated as a function of reaction temperature, residence time, and lignin concentration, and the composition of liquid products and monophenols was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The yields can be optimized by the proper selection of the reaction temperature. A longer residence time and higher lignin concentrations lead to increased formation of solid residues and gaseous products. The liquid products mainly consist of substituted phenols derived from lignins. Polymeric products are the result of condensation reactions (i.e., the formation of new C-C linkages in the course of secondary reactions).

Corresponding author: Jörn Appelt, Department of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Fuchsmühlenweg 9, Haus 1, 09596 Freiberg, Germany, e-mail:


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Received: 2014-2-26
Accepted: 2014-10-13
Published Online: 2014-11-8
Published in Print: 2015-7-1

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