Roxy Zhou

xiaojuan.zhou [at]
Current Position: 
Educational Background: 
M.S. ChBE 2013

Research Position

MS Student

Educational Background

B.S. in ChemE from Miami University


Dr. Jones and Dr. Agrawal

Project Title

Selective Hydrogenation of Lignin-Derived Model compounds to Produce Nylon 6 Precursors

Project Description

The purpose of this study is to investigate the conversion of monomeric lignin fragments into cyclohexanols for use as a source of lignin-derived monomers for renewable Nylon 6 production. A specific goal is to transform lignin-derived monomeric phenolic species to their cyclohexanol analogs via selective catalytic hydrogenation. A fixed-bed flow reactor is used to evaluate the selective hydrogenation of individual model phenolic species (guaiacol, etc). The initial catalyst composition studied is Ni/SiO2, which was previously shown to form cyclohexanol as an intermediate from phenol. In parallel a Parr reactor will be used to study hydrogenation of phenolic species such as catechol and substituted catechols with commercial Raney catalysts. A primary focus is on tuning the reaction conditions to form desired products, while avoiding the formation of bicyclic species which can be precursors to catalyst deactivation, or fully hydrogenated products of lower value. An understanding of the reaction products from lignin-derived monomers to substituted cyclohexanols will allow assessment of the feasibility of using lignin as a renewable source of raw material in comparison with using cyclohexanol made from petroleum with price of $1000/MT for Nylon 6 production. Based on the products, catalyst compositions and/or reaction conditions that target selective production of cyclohexanol and substituted cyclohexanols will be identified.


Favorite toy as a kid

Barbie dolls

Favorite hobbies

Eat & Read