Lignin & Cellulose

Lignin – The Future Gold

LIGNIN: the bio-sourced brown gold that is not coffee but could still be worth as much as $2000/ton in the future. This becomes an absolute buzz theme for plant chemistry scientists!

The development of bio-based molecules from lignin, the natural oligomer obtained after extracting the cellulose and hemicelluloses from biomass via a soft and respectful fractionation process, is a key research subject for many scientific teams around the world.

It starts to be an absolute buzz theme and numerous technical papers are being published on the subject, leading to interesting expected enhancements of currently petrochemical sourced polymers .

For example this one recently published in the Journal of Polymers and the Environment: Development of Lignin & Nanocellulose Bio-PU ( Polyurethane) Foams with enhanced propreties for Automotive Parts Technical Paper – The green rigid polyurethane (PU) foam has been developed with 100 % soy polyol after optimization of formulation ingredients and lignin has been introduced and isocyanate content reduced in the green rigid PU foam.

The cellulosic nano-fibers have also been successfully incorporated and dispersed in green rigid PU foam to improve the rigidity.

The influence of nano cellulose fiber modification (enzymatic treatment, hydrophobic modification with latex) on the foam density, open cell content, foam raise height, water vapor, and mechanical properties of rigid PU foam were studied.

The foamed structures were examined using scanning electron microscopy to determine the cell size and shape due to the addition of cellulosic nano-fibers. The odor test were performed to evaluate the odor concentration 100 % soyol based PU foam including lignin and nano-fiber and compared to 100 % synthetic based polyol PU foam.

The experimental results indicated that the compression and impact properties improved due to the modification of nano cellulosic fibers.

The odor concentration level of nano-fiber reinforced rigid PU foam reduced significantly compared to 100 % PU foam due to the replacing of isocyanate content.

It can be said that with an appropriate combination of replacing isocyanate by lignin and addition of nano-fiber, rigid PU foam properties could be improved.

Source : Faruk, Omar; Sain, Mohini; Farnood, Ramin; Pan, Yuanfeng; Xiao, Huining From Journal of Polymers and the Environment (2013)

An update on the state of the research on the subject in France will be presented by several experts scientists during the Research and Industry Forum organized by the CARNOT Institute 3BCAR in Paris on January 20 2014.



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