Wood is composed of 20 – 3à % of lignin and has traditionally been discarded by the pulp and paper industries or at best turned into energy via co-generation.
Stora Enso (Finland), a global major of the Pulp and Paper industry, announced recently the launch of its lignin-based phenol under the trademark Lineo™. The company says lignin is a renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials that are being used in combination with formaldehyde in adhesive resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber, and in paper lamination and insulation material. Stora’s lignin is separated during the Kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood.
Stora Enso had invested some EUR 32m to build a world-class bio-refinery at Sunila Mill in Finland containing lignin extraction plant and dryer, lignin dust burners in the lime kilns and a packing line. The company was reportedly aiming at setting- up a new business selling lignin extracted from the mill’s black liquor to external customers within specialty chemicals and high-tech materials industries.
Stora Enso said it was developing new applications in which lignin would provide added-value as a natural polymer for applications in the building, construction and automotive sectors where lignin can substitute phenols in plywood glues and other wood-based panels, as well as polyols used in foams and was expected to generate annual sales of EUR 80m in 2017. Sunila Mill has an annual capacity of 370,000 tons of softwood pulp and 50,000 tons of dry lignin.
The company claims to be the largest Kraft lignin producer in the world. Lineo™, in a stable, free-flowing brown powder form, has reportedly a high dry content, high dispersion ability and long storage time. Lineo™ is consistent from batch to batch and can be supplied in different levels of dryness depending on customer demand.