Hydrothermal conversion of catechol into four-carbon dicarboxylic acids

Guodong Yin, Fangming Jin, Guodong Yao, Zhenzi Jing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Conversion of lignin into value-added chemicals is attracting growing attention due to the depletion of fossil fuels and the abundant resource of lignin. In this study, hydrothermal conversion of a model compound of lignin, catechol, into value-added four-carbon dicarboxylic acids (C4-DCAs), such as tartaric (HOOC-CH(OH)-CH(OH)-COOH), malic (HOOC-CH2-CH(OH)-COOH), and fumaric (HOOC-CH=CH-COOH) acids was investigated. The yield of total C4-DCAs can reach as high as 41.0%, and alkali played a key role in not only promoting the production but also avoiding the decomposition of C4-DCAs. The reaction mechanism of hydrothermal conversion catechol into C4-DCAs showed that catechol is first oxidized to o-quinone, which is then attacked by the hydroxyl radical (OH) or the hydroperoxyl anion (HO2-) via conjugate addition to decompose into C4-DCAs. This result is helpful to facilitate studies for developing a new, green, and sustainable process to produce value-added C4-DCAs from lignin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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