Membrane Fractionation of Liquors from Lignin-First Biorefining

Zafar Sultan, Inês Graça, Yueqin Li, Sérgio Lima, Ludmila G. Peeva, Daeok Kim, Mahmood A. Ebrahim, Roberto Rinaldi*, Andrew G. Livingston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


For the utilization of each lignin fraction in the lignin liquors, the development of separation strategies to fractionate the lignin streams by molecular weight ranges constitutes a timely challenge to be tackled. Herein, membrane filtration was applied to the refining of lignin streams obtained from a lignin-first biorefining process based on H-transfer reactions catalyzed by Raney Ni, by using 2-PrOH as a part of the lignin extraction liquor and as an H-donor. A two-stage membrane cascade was considered to separate and concentrate the monophenol-rich fraction from the liquor. Building on the results, an economic evaluation of the potential of membrane filtration for the refining of lignin streams was undertaken. In this proof-of-concept report, a detailed analysis is presented of future developments in the performance required for the utilization of membrane filtration for lignin refining and, more aspiringly, solvent reclamation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1212
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date25 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

H2020 European Research Council. Grant Number: ERC Consolidator Grant LIGNINFIRST (Project Number: 725762).


  • economic evaluation
  • H-transfer reactions
  • lignin-first biorefining
  • membrane fractionation
  • Raney Ni


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