Each year, vast amounts of biomass are processed in pulp and paper production. Besides cellulose, resources like tall oil and methanol are already produced by modern Kraft pulp mills as bio-based products besides cellulose. Therefore, these “biorefineries” are already a major industrial player in transmission from a fossil fuel based industry to a bio-economy based on sustainable production of chemicals and power from renewable resources.
Still, the major fraction of wood-based components of spent pulping liquors are simply incinerated in the recovery boiler. The lignin and the carboxylic acids dissolved in Kraft black liquor could be isolated and processed into platform chemicals and value-added products. These bio-based resources are of high interest as chemicals for the production of e.g. polymers substituting their fossil-fuel-based equivalents.
Our research project targets the isolation of carboxylic acids from effluents from the pulp and paper industry. The whole line of downstream processing and the integration in the pulp mill as well as the corresponding analytics are investigated.
The project is carried out in close cooperation with the industry partner, which facilitates the transfer of valuable know-how and enables us to carry out experiments using real process streams.