Heraeus improves lignin conversion
In collaboration with Johannes Kepler University Linz, Heraeus Precious Metals has developed and applied for a patent on an industrial precious metal catalyst for efficient lignin conversion. This is described as “highly suitable for the conversion of lignin to phenolic components on an industrial scale”.
The heterogeneous catalysts are based on 5% platinum and 1% nickel with hydrotalcite (HTC) as a support material. HTC has both acidic and alkaline centres, while the platinum loading ensures better lignin conversion and higher monomer and oligomer yield, while helping, with the nickel, to suppress coke formation.
Once the metal is spent, the catalysts can also be recycled in an environment-friendly way, by being separated from the reaction mixture and and reused in the same application. Applications are mainly envisaged in the conversion of natural lignin and other biomass into polymers and resins.