Investigation on pyrolysis mechanism of guaiacol as lignin model compound at atmospheric pressure

Chunjiang Liu, Lili Ye, Wenhao Yuan, Yan Zhang, Jiabiao Zou, Jiuzhong Yang, Yizun Wang, Fei Qi, Zhongyue Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Understanding the pyrolysis mechanism of lignin is of great importance for improvement of thermochemical conversion processes and upgrading of biofuels. In this work, the pyrolysis of lignin model compound, guaiacol, at atmospheric pressure has been studied in a flow reactor by synchrotron vacuum ultraviolet photoionization mass spectrometry. Over 50 species were detected and identified in guaiacol pyrolysis, including alkanes, alkenes, cyclic alkenes, dienes, alkynes and aromatics. Major pathways proposed, including homolytic cleavage of O-CH3 bond, isomerization, dehydrogenation and hydrogenation, were evaluated using quantum chemical calculations. In the proposed pathways, homolytic cleavage of O-CH3 bond is regarded as an important route for the formation of catechol. H-atom and CH3-radical assisted demethoxylation mechanisms were proposed to interpret the formation of phenol and cresol, respectively. Furthermore, an energetically advantageous route including intramolecular H-immigration, ring-opening and decarbonylation was proposed to account for the formation of C4 products. A series of aromatic products were detected in this work, which is helpful to understand the coking mechanism during pyrolysis of lignin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-638
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 11675111 , 51606122 and 91641205 ) and Shanghai S&T Innovation Action Plan ( 17142202000 ). Authors are grateful to the technical support from the Center for High Performance Computing at Shanghai Jiao Tong University .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Guaiacol
  • Lignin model compound
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Pyrolysis
  • Quantum chemical calculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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