Lignin is one of the main building blocks of a tree and makes up 20-30% of the composition of wood. Yet it has traditionally been discarded by the pulp and paper industries. However, Stora Enso has recognised the potential of this versatile raw material, which can be used in a range of applications where fossil-based materials are currently used.
Lignin is a renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials which are used in resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material.
Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Biomaterials division, says, “Having increased our lignin focus in recent years, we’re delighted to launch Lineo. Lignin is a non-toxic raw material with traceable origin and stable cost structure, and bio-based Lineo is ideal for companies looking for alternatives to oil-based products. We believe that everything made from fossil-based materials today, can be made from a tree tomorrow.”
Stora Enso has been producing lignin at industrial scale since 2015 at its Sunila pulp mill in Finland. The mill’s capacity is 50 000 tonnes of lignin per year, making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world. Stora Enso is already selling Lineo to replace phenol, and the company is also looking at many other applications for this very versatile material.
A stable, free-flowing brown powder, Stora Enso’s lignin is separated during the kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood. Lineo has a high dry content, superior dispersibility and long storage time. With a higher reactivity and purity, Lineo is consistent from batch to batch and Stora Enso can supply different levels of dryness, according to customer demand.