The Road to Biorenewables: Carbohydrates to Commodity Chemicals

Roger A. Sheldon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)
262 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The pressing need for climate change mitigation has focused attention on reducing global emissions of carbon dioxide by effectuating the transition from fossil-based chemicals manufacture to a carbon neutral alternative based on lignocellulosic waste. The first step involves fractionation of the lignocellulose into cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Subsequently, a cellulase enzyme cocktail is used to catalyze the hydrolysis of the polysaccharides into their constituent sugars. This is followed by selective conversion of the carbohydrates into commodity chemicals using a variety of sustainable bio- and chemocatalytic methodologies. These include, inter alia, fermentative production of alcohols, diols, and carboxylic acids and a variety of chemocatalytic reductions and oxidations. Hence, the transition from fossil feedstocks to lignocellulose represents a switch from hydrocarbons to carbohydrates as the primary basic chemicals. To compare these renewable biomass-based routes with their petrochemical equivalents, it is necessary to develop reliable sustainability metrics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4464-4480
Number of pages17
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript

Keywords

  • Carbohydrates
  • Enzyme immobilization
  • Ethanol equivalent
  • Lignin
  • Lignocellulose
  • Magnetic enzymes
  • Renewable biomass
  • Sustainability metrics

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