Mercer Rosenthal Pioneers Lignin Valorization with Pilot Lignin Center

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Mercer Rosenthal has made a significant investment in lignin technology, with the commissioning of the LignoBoost XS pilot plant in August 2023 in Rosenthal, Germany.

This pilot plant, the only one of its kind in Europe, has the capacity to produce one tonne of kraft lignin per day, representing a fraction of the total lignin available at Mercer Rosenthal.

Traditionally, lignin, a biopolymer produced in pulp mills, has been primarily used for bioenergy production. However, with the establishment of the Lignin Center, Mercer Rosenthal aims to utilize lignin as a biomaterial in various industries. Lignin shows promise as a replacement for fossil-based materials in products like resins, adhesives, batteries, and thermoplastics.

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Under the supervision of Dr. Lars Gabriel, the Lignin Center has demonstrated the adaptability and potential of lignin extraction processes. The pilot plant allows for the production of kraft lignin in desired quality and quantity, with properties adjusted through process parameters and chemical additives.

The compact size of the LignoBoost XS pilot plant enables experimentation without disrupting the pulp mill's operations while producing significant lignin quantities. Early-stage product development has garnered interest from industry and academia, with ongoing collaborations across various applications.

Future plans include identifying optimal lignin products through pilot-scale testing and potential expansions to accommodate industrial-scale production. Successful product development may lead to the construction of an industrial plant within the next five years, marking a significant step towards a sustainable future in lignin utilization.