Holistic Valorization of Hemp through Reductive Catalytic Fractionation

ACS Sustain Chem Eng. 2021 Dec 27;9(51):17207-17213. doi: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06607. Epub 2021 Dec 15.

ABSTRACT

Despite the increased use of hemp fiber, negligible attention has been given to upgrade the hemp hurd, which constitutes up to 70 wt % of the hemp stalk and is currently considered a low-value byproduct. In this work, valorization of hemp hurd was performed by reductive catalytic fractionation (RCF) in the presence of a metal catalyst. We found an unexpectedly high yield of monophenolic compounds (38.3 wt %) corresponding to above 95% of the theoretical maximum yield. The high yield is explained by both a thin cell wall and high S-lignin content. In addition, organosolv pulping was performed to generate a pulp that was bleached to produce dissolving-grade pulp suitable for textile fiber production (viscosity, 898 mL/g; ISO-brightness, 90.2%) and nanocellulose. Thus, we have demonstrated a novel value chain from a low-value side stream of hemp fiber manufacture that has the potential to increase textile fiber production with 100% yield and also give bio-oil for green chemicals.

PMID:34976442 | PMC:PMC8715730 | DOI:10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06607

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