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Lignin Derived Renewable Lubricants

A renewable route to source biobased poly α-olefin Group IV and refrigerant base oils towards a lower carbon footprint

Technology Overview

Researchers at the University of Delaware have synthesized two types of lubricant base oils from lignin (). Lignin is a naturally occurring crosslinked, functionalized biopolymer composed of three main aromatic monomers. It is the only natural source of aromatic monomers.

Presently, approximately 70-100 Mt/y of isolated lignin is obtained from biomass through pulping or biorefining processes, but most isolated lignins have a dark color, strong odor, broad molecular weight distribution, and limited reactivity, which relegates valorization to low-value applications (e.g., fillers for tires or burnt for energy recovery). This technology provides a renewable route to source biobased poly α-olefin Group IV and refrigerant base oils towards a lower carbon footprint.

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