KoMoLisa: Continuous modification of kraft lignin and black liquor
The pulp and paper industry has a high potential to contribute to a change from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy. Today, the utilization of sustainable resources and the production of different products from biomass already turns modern pulp mills into biorefineries. Further research is necessary to increase the degree of raw material utilization and to make the needed processes and sustainable products economic and ecological attractive. Since decades, especially the separation and application of lignin from Kraft black liquor is regarded as unused possibility of a cascade raw material utilization. Despite of numerous research projects, a large-scale application of technical Kraft Lignin is not industrially applied. The consortium of experienced scientists from the area biorefinery process development and from Mond AG made it their goal to go new ways with the combination and intensification of individual process steps to make technical Kraft lignin accessible for the large scale utilization in reactive applications. Such an application is the admixture of Lignin to phenol-formaldehyde resins in the production of plywood where it not only increases the biogenic content but also replaces phenol with its critical properties. The aim of the project is the development of a process to modify lignin by increasing its reactivity and the separation thereof from black liquor. Both process steps are planned to work continuously. In experiments, these process steps are tested and optimized before modified lignin samples for the application in phenol-formaldehyde resins are prepared. The modification and the continuous separation of liquid lignin are based on a heat treatment. Hence, intensive research is necessary to evaluate the ecologic and economic feasibility.