A high-yield process for converting lignin into reformulated, partially oxygenated gasoline compositions of high quality is provided. The process is a two-stage catalytic reaction process that produces a reformulated, partially oxygenated gasoline product with a controlled amount of aromatics. In the first stage of the process, a lignin feed material is subjected to a base-catalyzed depolymerization reaction, followed by a selective hydrocracking reaction which utilizes a superacid catalyst to produce a high oxygen-content depolymerized lignin product mainly composed of alkylated phenols, alkylated alkoxyphenols, and alkylbenzenes. In the second stage of the process, the depolymerized lignin product is subjected to an exhaustive etherification reaction, optionally followed by a partial ring hydrogenation reaction, to produce a reformulated, partially oxygenated/etherified gasoline product, which includes a mixture of substituted phenyl/methyl ethers, cycloalkyl methyl ethers, C.sub.7 -C.sub.10 alkylbenzenes, C.sub.6 -C.sub.10 branched and multibranched paraffins, and alkylated and polyalkylated cycloalkanes.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Grant No. XAC-5-14411-01 awarded by the National Renewable Energy Lab and Grant No. AU-8876 and Amendment 1 awarded by Sandia National Labs (DOE Flowthru).