Wet Air Oxidation of Industrial Lignin Case Study: Influence of the Dissolution Pretreatment and Perovskite-type Oxides

Original Paper


Wet air oxidation (WAO) of lignocellulosic biomasses is a promising route for the production of renewable and valuable compounds, involving air as primary oxidant and mild reaction temperatures. In this work, an industrial residue of bioethanol production, steam exploded lignin derived from wheat straw, undergoes a WAO process with the aim to achieve more insights on the process performances in terms of potential yields of aromatic compounds and carboxylic acids (CAs). The experiments were carried out in a pressurized 50 ml batch reactor loaded with water or other aqueous solutions as solvent, the standard conditions were 150 °C of temperature, 20 bar of initial air pressure and 2 h. Afterwards, several solvothermal pretreatments were applied in order to depolymerize and solubilize lignin under inert atmosphere; the residues-free solutions obtained in this way were used as substrate for the WAO reaction. The choice of the pretreatment temperature, solvent alkalinity and presence of perovskite catalysts were evaluated with regard to the mass yields of resulting aromatic compounds and CAs, their carbon content, and the products distribution. Best performance exhibits a lignin dissolution ratio of 53% with 1.3% of yield towards aromatic compounds, where vanillin is the principal product (59.1%), but also the 32% of yield in CAs with glycolic acid as major product (40.9%).

Graphical Abstract


Straw lignin Vanillin Carboxylic acids Perovskite oxides Wet air oxidation 



The authors acknowledge Biochemtex S.p.A for providing the industrial feedstock used in this study.

Supplementary material

12649_2017_9947_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (646 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 645 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Ansaloni
    • 1
  • Nunzio Russo
    • 1
  • Raffaele Pirone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT)Politecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly

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