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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2015, Article ID 137634, 18 pages
Review Article

Photocatalytic Based Degradation Processes of Lignin Derivatives

1Institute of Bioprocess Engineering and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen, 35390 Giessen, Germany
2Media University, Packaging Technology, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
3Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
4Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany

Received 8 August 2014; Accepted 13 October 2014

Academic Editor: Elisa Isabel Garcia-Lopez

Copyright © 2015 Colin Awungacha Lekelefac et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Photocatalysis, belonging to the advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), is a potential new transformation technology for lignin derivatives to value added products (e.g., phenol, benzene, toluene, and xylene). Moreover, lignin represents the only viable source to produce aromatic compounds as fossil fuel alternative. This review covers recent advancement made in the photochemical transformation of industrial lignins. It starts with the photochemical reaction principle followed by results obtained by varying process parameters. In this context, influences of photocatalysts, metal ions, additives, lignin concentration, and illumination intensity and the influence of pH are presented and discussed. Furthermore, an overview is given on several used process analytical methods describing the results obtained from the degradation of lignin derivatives. Finally, a promising concept by coupling photocatalysis with a consecutive biocatalytic process was briefly reviewed.