Discovering Biomass Structural Determinants Defining the Properties of Plant-Derived Renewable Carbon Fiber
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Traditional lignocellulosic feedstock research has focused on biomass characteristics essential for improving saccharification efficiency, yet the key biomass features underlying high-quality renewable lignin materials remain unknown. Nevertheless, modern biorefinery cannot achieve sustainability and cost-effectiveness unless the lignin stream can be valorized. We hereby addressed these scientific gaps by investigating biomass characteristics defining lignin-based carbon materials properties. Lignin from eight sorghum samples with diverse characteristics was fabricated into carbon fibers (CFs). Remarkably, only lignin uniformity was found to define CF mechanical performance, highlighting the new structure-property relationship. Contrarily, lignin content and composition did not impact on carbon material properties. Mechanistic study by XRD and Raman spectroscopy revealed that higher lignin uniformity enhanced CF microstructures, in particular, turbostratic carbon content. The study for the first time highlighted lignin uniformity as an important biomass structure determinant for renewable products, which opened up new avenues for feedstock design toward diverse products enabling sustainable and cost-effective bioeconomy.
author list (cited authors)
Li, Q., Hu, C., Li, M., Truong, P., Naik, M. T., Prabhu, D., ... Yuan, J. S.