EBI Personnel Directory Rauchfuss, Tom

Biomass Depolymerization

Tom Rauchfuss





Catalytic Conversion and Degradation of Lignocellulosic Materials

Being a polymer composed of many C–O bonds, lignin is optimally degraded by breaking these linkages. In this project, researchers will search for nontraditional methods for the scission of C-O bonds relying on organometallic reactions. The main effort will be aimed at high-risk, high-return fundamental studies of organometallic reactions using well-defined substrates and reagents. New reactions that may prove ineffective for delignification could prove useful in other areas of biofuels and biomaterials.  And, most importantly, new chemical principles and new researchers trained in this area represent the ultimate payback, as in any “translational research.”

Catalytic Carbon-Oxygen Bond Cleavage for Upgrading Cellulose

The team developed a process that couples petrochemicaly dervied arenes from the BTX steam and sugar dehydration production (HMF) for the production of diesel-like fuel precursors. Petroleum-derived diesel is a misturee of C11-C15 alkanes, cycloalkanes, and aromatic compounds. To convert the C5, C6 units composed in lignocellulosic biomass into diesel-range fuel, C-C bond formation is necessary. The hybrid fuel concept the team developed was an important step in this direction.