Lignin-Based Composite Materials for Photocatalysis and Photovoltaics

Depleting conventional fuel reserves has prompted the demand for the exploration of renewable resources. Biomass is a widely available renewable resource that can be valorized to produce fuels, chemicals, and materials. Among all the fractions of biomass, lignin has been underutilized. Due to its complex structure, recalcitrant nature, and heterogeneity, its valorization is relatively challenging. This review focuses on the utilization of lignin for the preparation of composite materials and their application in the field of photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Lignin can be used as a photocatalyst support for its potential application in photodegradation of contaminants. The interaction between the components in hybrid photocatalysts plays a significant role in determining the photocatalytic performance. The application of lignin as a photocatalyst support tends to control the size of the particles and allows uniform distribution of the particles that influence the characteristics of the photocatalyst. Lignin as a semiconductive polymer dopant for photoanodes in photovoltaic cells can improve the photoconversion efficiency of the cell. Recent success in the development of lignosulfonates dopant for hole transport materials in photovoltaics will pave the way for further research in lignin-based high-performance organic electronic devices.
Khan A, Nair V, Colmenares JC, Gläser R. Lignin-Based Composite Materials for Photocatalysis and Photovoltaics. Top Curr Chem (Cham). 2018 May 2;376(3):20. doi: 10.1007/s41061-018-0198-z.