Lignin science - products and processes

Lignin - a valuable by-product of the pulp mill

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Our research refines the tree's own glue – lignin – into materials, chemicals and motor fuels. We also develop processes to utilise and refine the large amounts of lignin and other wood polymers that chemical pulp mills and other biorefineries receive as a by-product.

Why lignin?

For every tonne of pulp produced, 200 kg of lignin can be extracted from the pulp mill's by-product black liquor. The lignin is currently used almost exclusively as internal fuel, but has the potential to be refined into bio-based products with significantly higher value, such as aviation fuel or carbon fiber for batteries or gas purification.

Our lignin competence

Our lignin expertise includes separation processes, production of carbon fiber and other carbonized materials, systems analysis, energy technology, polymer chemistry and technology, and chemical analysis. We have separation equipment for lignin in sizes from laboratory scale up to demonstration scale. RISE, together with Chalmers, has developed the currently commercialised LignoBoost process for lignin extraction.

What we can offer

We help pulp producers and other biorefineries to find suitable process solutions for the extraction of their lignin and to identify appropriate processing.

Our RISE LignoDemo demonstration plant for lignin separation can produce up to 8,000 tonnes of lignin per year. An example of a large-scale trial with lignin is the long-term test of replacing coal at Fortum's combined heat and power plant in Stockholm. Another example is a full-scale trial in a pulp mill recovery boiler in Sweden where replacement of fossil fuels with lignin was evaluated.

Examples of what RISE can offer in the field of lignin processes and products:

  • Evaluation and feasibility studies of lignin separation together with Valmet who market the LignoBoost process
  • Modeling of specific pulp mills – material, Na/S, energy and water balances – including a techno-economic assessment of the integration of the LignoBoost concept into the pulp mill
  • Process development to improve the mill's biorefinery capabilities
  • Tailor-made R&D projects.
  • Large-scale production at RISE LignoDemo

Source: RISE