Lignin by Stora Enso is a high purity kraft lignin with great dispersibility and reactivity in chemical formulations. Lignin is separated during the kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood using the LignoboostTM system.
Lignin is a complex macromolecule (aromatic, heterogeneous, amorphous and cross-linked) and it is the most abundant natural aromatic polymer. In nature, lignin acts as the glue which binds cellulose and hemicellulose together, giving stiffness to the plant, making the cell wall hydrophobic and protecting it against microbial degradation. The purified lignin macromolecule contains a high number of phenolic, aliphatic and carboxylic hydroxyl groups.
Sunila Mill in Finland is the world’s largest integrated lignin extraction plant producing dry kraft lignin. The LignoboostTM system, originally developed by Innventia and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, is coupled with a ring dryer to extract a high purity kraft lignin from the black liquor stream.
Production started in 2014, and has since then, continuously been optimized to maximize outputs. The stability of the process and the exclusive utilization of Nordic softwood species (spruce and pine) guarantee our lignin’s consistent quality. Today, Stora Enso is the largest producer of dry kraft lignin with a nominal capacity of 50 000 tonnes per year.
Sustainability and certifications
We actively work with our stakeholders to promote sustainable forest management and the wider use of certification systems. As certification programs cover all the aspects of sustainability, they are a reliable indicator of responsible forestry. Like all our products, lignin is made from sustainably sourced wood and our Sunila Mill has both FSC and PEFC chain-of-custody certifications.
Typical end use applications
Stora Enso’s kraft lignin is a highly versatile product with numerous potential end uses. Due to its chemical structure, it is especially suitable as phenol replacement in industrial phenolic resins used in the manufacturing of wood panels and engineered wood, e.g. plywood, oriented strand boards (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material.
In recent years, an increasing number of applications traditionally linked to the petrochemical industry have been investigating the use of kraft lignin, which has proven itself as a valid alternative to currently used raw materials, e.g. carbon fibres. Although phenolic resin is the first commercial use for our kraft lignin, there is a multitude of applications under evaluation, and we believe this versatile product will find its use in many more industrial areas in the future.
Any questions? Contact our application team.