lignin electrocatalysis ridCongratulations to our Ph.D. Nicola Di Fidio for his scientific publication "Electro-oxidative depolymerisation of technical lignin in water using platinum, nickel oxide hydroxide and graphite electrodes" on the RSC "New Journal of Chemistry". In order to improve the lignin exploitation to added-value bioproducts, a mild chemical conversion route based on electrochemistry was implemented.

For the first time, soda lignin Protobind™ 1000 (technical lignin from the pulp & paper industry) was studied by cyclic voltammetry to investigate the effect of the main reaction parameters, such as the type of electrode material (platinum, nickel oxide hydroxide, graphite), the pH (12, 13, 14), the scan rate (10, 50, 100, 250 mV/s), the substrate concentration (2, 20 g/L) and the oxidation/reduction potential (from -0.8 to +0.8 V). Under the optimal reaction conditions (NiOOH electrode, pH 14, lignin 20 g/L, 0.4 V), the electro-oxidative depolymerisation of lignin by electrolysis was performed in a divided cell. The reaction products were identified and quantified by ultra-pressure liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The main products were sinapic acid, vanillin, vanillic acid, and acetovanillone. The obtained results demonstrated the potential feasibility of this innovative electrochemical route for lignin valorisation for the production of bio-aromatic chemicals.
The work is available at the following link: