Lignin-derived chemicals to hit market in 2021
Lignin, a component of lignocellulosic biomass and a common byproduct stream from cellulosic conversion processes, has a potential market worth of $242 billion. However according to Lux Research, the commercialisation of lignin derived chemicals such as BTX (a mixture of benzene, toluene, and xylene) and cyclohexanol lags growing feedstock supplies.
“Lignin is capable of producing a variety of straight chain, cyclic and aromatic chemicals, each with market sizes ranging from the tens of millions of dollars up to the hundred-billion-dollar range,” said Julia Allen, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Finding Untapped Value: Converting Lignin to Higher Value Chemicals.”
“But creating higher-value chemicals requires technology development to balance feedstock variability, lignin separation effects, depolymerisation, and product separation challenges, which still has significant work ahead,” she added.
Image credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory