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Filippo Brienza defends his PhD on lignin depolymerization

May 3, 2022

Congratulations to Filippo for an exceptionnal PhD defense! Filippo has been working on “Extending the scope of reductive lignin depolymerization toward new feedstocks and innovative non-metal approaches“. His work paves the way to an improved valorization of lignocellulose in future biorefineries.

He has accomplished a huge amount of work to set up the experimental procedures and the analytics in our labs, so as to allow studiying these complex processes and come up with innovative solutions. He has explored the Reductive Catalytic Fractionnation (RCF) on unconventional biomass (a.o. herbaceous biomass), and studied the possibility to get rid of the H2 gas, in this context. He has invented a new reductive process based on the use of sodium dithionite. His work is systematically complemented with useful technico-economic assessments to evaluate the potential of the proposed technologies. His thesis also contains a huge, didactical, and comprehensive overview of the existing and emerging pretreatments/processes to upgrade the lignin fraction of lignocellulose biomass. Highly recommended read if you are entering the field! (stay tuned for publication, or feel free to contact me to ask for a preview)

My colleague Iwona Cybulska and me, we are very proud of Filippo and his accomplishments. We also would like to thank collaborators, in particular Bert Sels and his group, for helping us with some analytical challenges, Patrick Gerin for being always present and providing valuable advice to Filippo during the thesis, and Maxim Tschulkow, Philippe Niemmegeers and Steven Van Passel for guiding us in the world of TEA.

Here are two happy men at the end of the defense (April 21, 2022):

Filippo is holding a heating resistance (offered by lab mates, with autographs!) as a reminder of his fierce battles with this part of the Parr reactor.

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