Microwave process parameter optimization for synthesizing a high-phenolic-content kraft lignin biooil

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University of New Brunswick


The current petrochemical consumption is a barrier to climate change adaption for a sustainable future. Microwave pyrolysis of Kraft lignin (KL) can output a biooil, rich in aromatic chemical building blocks. Based on literature review, controlled polymerization of phenolic KL biooil presents a promising route to synthesize a KL biooil-based thermoplastic. This research has evaluated the ‘optimal’ parameters to formulate a highly phenolic KL biooil with high yield. These include microwave receptor type, percentage of microwave receptor, and the power level. It is found that a 50 wt.% microwave receptor produced the highest yield, noting that pyrolysis of KL at 450 W and 600 W displayed comparable yields. The obtained phenolic content ranged between 47 to 97%. Finally, the study concludes that 450 W applied to a 50-50 wt.% KL-spruce biochar feedstock is favorable for potential extraction of biooil-sourced thermoplastic polymer.