Rapid microwave-assisted biomass delignification and lignin depolymerization in deep eutectic solvents

Pranjali D. Muley, Justin K. Mobley, Xinjie Tong, Brian Novak, Joseph Stevens, Dorel Moldovan, Jian Shi, Dorin Boldor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Biomass deconstruction and lignin depolymerization was performed using three different deep eutectic solvents. Various temperature (110°, 130°, and 150 °C) and time (1, 5, 10, 15 min) conditions were tested in a 2450 MHz microwave reactor. Oxalic acid (130 °C, 15 min) and formic acid DES (150 °C, 15 min) gave the highest lignin yield. Microwave heating reduced the processing time significantly. NMR characterization shows that microwave heating promotes selective bond cleavage during lignin depolymerization and has a narrow molecular weight distribution compared to conventional heating techniques. Molecular dynamic simulations showed that certain lignin bonds are stretched under the electric field imparted during microwave irradiation, increasing its probability of breaking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1088
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Biomass deconstruction
  • Deep eutectic solvents
  • Lignin depolymerization
  • Microwave heating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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