In this work, we investigate the potential economic feasibility of using electrocatalytic reactors, as compared to traditional thermochemical reactors, to upgrade lignin monomers to cycloalkyl and aromatic species, specifically targeting benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX). To this end, we developed a process-based techno-economic model to quantify the viability of electrochemical upgrading, to benchmark materials and reactor performance requirements, and to identify potential technical hurdles. Furthermore, we investigate the model sensitivity to critical process parameters and key assumptions. This analysis enables a direct comparison between traditional thermochemical hydrogenation processes and proposed electrochemical hydrogenation processes across multiple installation scales as well as potentially favorable combinations of the two approaches. We hope that the results presented here inspire further research into electrochemical approaches to enable biomass upgrading.
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