featuring Joshua Yuan, Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering Chair and Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor
Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant renewable energy and biopolymer source. The innovations in biomass utilization have profoundly impacted the advancement of human civilization. The fundamental understanding of the structure-property relationship of biomass polymers empowers biomaterial design to address some of the most daunting challenges in our generation, including global climate change and persistent waste accumulation. Conventional research on biomass utilization focused on reducing lignin content to increase cellulose saccharification in biorefinery, yet the discoveries failed to inform how to manufacture quality biomass-based materials. Recent studies have advanced the understanding of biomass structure–property relationships and discovered several characteristics such as lignin molecular weight, uniformity, linkage profile and functional group that are critical for manufacturing diverse quality biomaterials.
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