Investigations were carried out to obtain different lignin monomers such as vanillin and catechol as efficiently as possible, to prevent side reactions e.g., during lignin degradation. Therefore, extraction experiments were performed to determine the influence of parameters such as initial pH in the aqueous phase, organic phases containing alcohols or solvating extractants, and monomer concentrations. Cyanex 923 (Cy923) and tri-n-butyl-phosphat (TBP) diluted in kerosene were the organic phases chosen to evaluate the transport of vanillin because of their high efficiencies (>76.8%) and suitability in membrane technologies. The most efficient vanillin transport was accomplished with Cy923, as > 90% of vanillin was transferred after 5 h. However, the permeability coefficient at carrier concentration of > 0.48 mol/L was influenced not only by the diffusion but also by the organic mixture viscosity. Thus, this concentration was used in the membrane experiment containing a mixture of vanillin and catechol in the feed phase. Catechol was transported about 7% faster to the receiving phase than vanillin, presumably due to its chemical structure. Side reactions were avoided using the current liquid membrane set-up, allowing the further industrial application of an entire process, which, e.g., recovers vanillin from enzymatic lignin conversion by membrane technology.
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