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Selective Electrochemical Degradation of Lignosulfonate to Bio‐Based Aldehydes

Von Wiley-VCH zur Verfügung gestellt

A sustainable electrochemical pathway for degradation and thermal treatment of technical lignosulfonate is presented. This approach is an opportunity to produce remarkable quantities of low molecular weight compounds, such as vanillin and acetovanillone. For the electrochemical degradation, a simple two-electrode arrangement in aqueous media is used, which is also easily scalable. The oxidation of the biopolymer occurs at the anode whereas hydrogen is evolved at the cathode. The subsequent thermal treatment supports the degradation of the robust chemical structure of lignosulfonates. With optimized electrolytic conditions, vanillin could be obtained in 9.7 wt% relative to the dry mass of lignosulfonate used. Aside from vanillin, by-products such as acetovanillone or vanillic acid were observed in lower yields. A new and reliable one-pot, two-step degradation of different technically relevant lignosulfonates is established with the advantages of using electrons as an oxidizing agent, which results in low quantities of reagent waste.

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