Electrochemical de-methylation of lignin

A significant research effort was focused on the use of lignin in substitution of phenols in phenolformaldehyde resins (PFR) because of the structural similarities, aiming to mitigate crude toxicity and to achieve bio-degradable PFR by grafting of the sites for ligninases attack. However, the efficiency of condensation reaction between lignin and formaldehyde is rather low due to the high quantities of etherified phenolic sites of low reactivity in lignin in comparison to conventional phenolic compounds. Lignin was found to undergo the variety of transformations induced by the electrochemical phenomena, where the electricity can be delivered from renewable sources and the reaction media is water. The electrochemical demethylation yields the increase of the reactivity of lignin towards polycondensation. We would like to explore the bulk electrochemical de-methylation of lignin. Our preliminary experiments on a membrane electrolysis showed the achievement of oxidative conversion of lignosulfonate of high quantity in water solution.