The Swedish research institutes and companies Innventia, Nordic Paper and Paper Province have started a collaboration to develop the future forest-based bioeconomy. The first step is to establish an open test bed called LignoCity. Here, companies can develop and scale up technology that refines lignin to new climate-friendly fuels, chemicals and materials.
As the world heads towards a bio-based economy, lignin – a by-product of pulp production – is increasingly seen as a raw material with great potential. Lignin could be a green alternative for producing fuels and energy as well as chemicals and lightweight materials. Great efforts are being made to develop processes and to refine different lignin qualities for different applications.
Thanks to a broad newly established collaboration initiated by Innventia, Nordic Paper and Paper Province, several of these initiatives can now be realised. With financial support mainly from VINNOVA, Innventia’s demonstration plant in Bäckhammar will be further developed and made into an open test bed for companies who want to evaluate and validate new refining concepts in the lignin area. The plant is currently the only one in the world that can produce tailor-made lignin qualities in sufficient quantities for upscaling.
The purpose of LignoCity is to create a centre where ideas are brought together and opportunities for commercial development are identified and supported. Lignin from kraft pulp production and other sources, for example from ethanol and sugar production, can be processed at the plant. The project involves 18 industrial and public players, including Karlstad University, the municipality of Kristinehamn and Casco Adhesives AB.
“With LignoCity, we are bringing together business models, technological development and infrastructure for research, development and innovation. In the long term, we also hope to be able to extract other components from the black liquor and tackle other process streams,” says Per Tomani, manager for the LignoCity project and the Lignin & Carbon Fibres focus area manager at Innventia.
“It is extremely valuable for the region’s businesses to have access to this type of open test facility, so that we can continue the development of a forest-based bioeconomy,” says Maria Hollander, CEO of Paper Province.