Metal triflates for the production of aromatics from lignin

Peter Joseph Deuss, Ciaran Lahive, Christopher Stuart Lancefield, Nicholas James Westwood, Paul C J Kamer, Katalin Barta, Johannes G. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The depolymerization of lignin into valuable aromatic chemicals is one of the key goals towards establishing economically viable biorefineries. In this contribution we present a simple approach for converting lignin to aromatic monomers in high yields, under mild reaction conditions. The methodology relies on the use of catalytic amounts of easy to handle metal triflates (M(OTf)x). Initially, we evaluated the reactivity of a broad range of metal triflates using simple lignin model compounds. More advanced lignin model compounds were also used to study the reactivity of different lignin linkages. The product aromatic monomers were either phenolic C2-acetals obtained by stabilization of the aldehyde cleavage products by reaction with ethylene glycol, or methyl aromatics obtained by catalytic decarbonylation. Notably, when the former method was ultimately tested on lignin, especially Fe(OTf)3 proved very effective and the phenolic C2-acetal products were obtained in an excellent, 19.3±3.2 wt % yield.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2974-2981
Issue number20
Early online date21 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2016


  • Acidolysis
  • Aromatics
  • Depolymerization
  • Lignin
  • Metal triflates


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