Uses of lignin

Lignin is the natural glue that holds wood fibers together. It is renewable and abundant and some of it is already being sold by pulp mills. Lignin can be used in a wide range of applications, ranging from fuels to advanced chemicals and materials.

Domtar

Domtar, North American producer of paper, pulp and paper-based products, markets their lignin as a biobased alternative to petroleum products, and lists a wide range of uses for lignin. 

Domtar has recently also taken another step forward in commercializing lignin-based applications by investing in Prisma Renewable Composites, which is developing advanced materials from lignin and other natural resources.

Video: BioChoice Lignin from Domtar.

 

Stora Enso

Stora Enso markets a high purity kraft lignin with great dispersibility and reactivity in chemical formulations. For more information, see Stora Enso’s web page on lignin.

Video: Lineo™ by Stora Enso – kraft lignin.

 

Lower CO2 emissions - using lignin as fuel

Stora Enso reports that up to 70 % of the natural gas for the lime kilns in the Sunila mill could be replaced with lignin. Emissions of fossil CO2 was reduced by 27 000 tonnes per year.

Lignin can also be used as fuel in power boilers. The LignoBoost demonstration plant in Bäckhammar, Sweden, has participated in long-term trials (2007-2008) to replace coal at the Fortum combined cycle heat and power plant in Stockholm.  

Using lignin as fuel might currently be the quickest way a pulp mill can start getting value from the extracted lignin. A mill with a yearly production of 400 000 tons of pulp can, according to estimations, save as much as 20 000 m3 (5.2 million gallons) of fuel oil per year.

Stora Enso Sunila Mill - LignoBoost plant for high quality kraft lignin production

Stora Enso’s Sunila Mill produces kraft lignin with Valmet’s LignoBoost™ technology.

LignoBoost plant at Domtar's Plymouth mill in North Carolina

Domtar's LignoBoost plant at Plymouth, North Carolina, USA is integrated with the pulp mill and separates and collects lignin from the pulping liquor. This provides the Plymouth NC mill with numerous benefits. Lignin is a high-quality bio-based alternative to fossil fuel based materials. Separation of a portion of the mill's total lignin production also off-loads the recovery boiler, and allows an increase in pulp production capacity.