The general objective of CatReMo is to study in details the solvothermal conversion of non-fractionated LC in the presence of heterogeneous catalysts, in order to produce glycols (ethylene and propylene) and glycol-derived amines.

The three LC principal components, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, are sources of 5 to 6 carbon molecules and substituted aromatics, which can be further transformed into a wide variety of useful chemicals.

For their valorization, heterogeneous catalysis plays an essential role besides other types of catalysis due to several advantages related to durability, recovery, use in different types of reactors including continuous flow reactors.

In the project, the target molecules are glycol-derived amines, value-added chemicals, of great interest considering their potential industrial uses like in the polymer industry. To date, these compounds are produced from fossil resources and CatReMo project aims at studying in details alternative routes, starting from LC.

The possibility of obtaining usual short chain (di)amines at a large scale from renewable biomass, especially from wood LC, is therefore attractive in the context of the biorefineries development. Glycol-derived amines production will be studied following two configurations of reaction during the project. In a first configuration, involving sequential reactions, the first step is the production of glycols from LC (in water), that is followed by a second reaction between produced glycols with amines to produce glycol-derived amines. This route then involves independent steps, and different catalysts, and the challenge here is to perform the reactions in a sequential way in order to avoid an isolation step of glycols issued from the LC transformation. In a second configuration, the one-pot formation of such amines through a direct catalytic reductive aminolysis of LC (reaction of LC with amines) will be studied. This strategy appears much more challenging and corresponds to a very innovative approach considering that only one step is needed to reach short chain glycol-derived amines. The two approaches will include: (1) a detailed study of the reactivity of LC over catalysts in hydrothermal conditions; (2) the evaluation of the benchmark catalysts and novel catalytic formulations stabilities, and elucidation of physical and chemical deterioration mechanisms; (3) a reaction mechanism and process modeling to evaluate the robustness of the integrated process, and including the measure of 2L scale LC transformation.

The consortium is formed by three major laboratories in France:

Institut de Recherches sur la Catalyse et l’Environnement de Lyon (IRCELYON) is recognized for its knowledge of biomass reactivity using heterogeneous catalysis and leads the LC reactivity activities.

Unité de Catalyse et Chimie du Solide (UCCS) has strong expertise in the preparation and characterization of tailored solid catalysts and leads activities on heterogeneous catalyst optimization and characterization.

Laboratoire de Catalyse, Polymérisation et Procédés (CP2M), expert in the field of reactor and process engineering, leads the activities devoted to the modeling of reaction mechanism and process integration.

CatReMo will implement and consolidate research collaboration, contributing to the acquisition of knowledge of material sciences and catalyst formulations, reaction mechanisms and kinetics, and biomass catalytic transformation, towards the formation of partly biosourced amines. In the long term, CatReMo will contribute to the acquisition of fundamental knowledge necessary for the development of biorefineries.

Project coordinator

Franck Rataboul

Scientific responsabilities

IRCELYON: Franck Rataboul

UCCS: Sébastien Royer

CP2M: Clémence Nikitine


November 2019 – April 2024 (54 months)


475 000 euros