The production of chemicals from biomass, a renewable feedstock, is highly desirable in replacing petrochemicals to make biorefineries more economical. The best approach to compete with fossil-based refineries is the upgradation of biomass in integrated biorefineries. The integrated biorefineries employed various biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies to produce biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Bio-based chemicals can help to replace a large fraction of industrial chemicals and materials from fossil resources. Biomass-derived chemicals, such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), levulinic acid, furfurals, sugar alcohols, lactic acid, succinic acid, and phenols, are considered platform chemicals. These platform chemicals can be further used for the production of a variety of important chemicals on an industrial scale. However, current industrial production relies on relatively old and inefficient strategies and low production yields, which have decreased their competitiveness with fossil-based alternatives. The aim of the presented review is to provide a survey of past and current strategies used to achieve a sustainable conversion of biomass to platform chemicals. This review provides an overview of the chemicals obtained, based on the major components of lignocellulosic biomass, sugars, and lignin. First, important platform chemicals derived from the catalytic conversion of biomass were outlined. Later, the targeted chemicals that can be potentially manufactured from the starting or platform materials were discussed in detail. Despite significant advances, however, low yields, complex multistep synthesis processes, difficulties in purification, high costs, and the deactivation of catalysts are still hurdles for large-scale competitive biorefineries. These challenges could be overcome by single-step catalytic conversions using highly efficient and selective catalysts and exploring purification and separation technologies.
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