Let’s Talk About Lignin

Exploring Forest-Based Lignin Opportunities

September 15, 2021

10:00 am EST – 11:30 am EST

International Guest Speakers

Live Q & A Session

Thank you to all who participated and to our wonderful guest speakers. Missed it? Watch the replay below, or on Youtube.



Throughout the Canadian forest sector, Lignin has traditionally been treated as low-quality, low-value side streams of product processing. However, lignin is an abundant raw material. When extracted and processed, lignin has a wide variety of uses and applications, including opportunities to displace traditional fossil-based chemicals and products. Lignin-derived products will play a crucial role in the Canadian bio-economy value chain. Since 2010, Ontario and Canada have invested significantly in research and development to develop technologies to extract wood based lignin. These investments have seen world leading pilot plants developed by FPInnovations in Thunder Bay and significant research capacity at Canadian universities. This research investment has seen the installation of a first of kind commercial lignin extraction plant in Canada and several promising commercial applications opportunities developed.


Guest Speakers

Mojgan Nejad

Assistant Professor

Michigan State University

“Lignin Valorization: Challenges and Opportunities”

Lignin is a natural polymer that is isolated as a byproduct through pulping and biorefinery processes. Unfortunately, lignin is still considered an underutilized portion of biomass because pulp and biofuel manufacturers have been mainly focused on producing high-quality paper or high-yield sugars for bioethanol production. However, it is time to consider simultaneously producing high-quality, high-purity lignin in an integrated process. Lignin has great potential to replace petroleum-based raw materials in the production of polymeric resins. My talk focuses on how we can entirely replace phenol, polyol, and bisphenol A (BPA) in the formulation of polyurethane, phenolic, and epoxy resins to develop lignin-based adhesives, coatings, and foams.  


“Recent progress in the generation of value-added lignin derivatives via industrially attractive processes”

Lignin has been regarded as an under-utilized by-product of the chemical pulping and cellulosic ethanol industries. To improve the financial profit of these processes and prevent a major loss of resources, value-added products could be produced from lignin. Recently, different processes were developed for generating lignin at commercial scales in an effort to facilitate the production of value-added products from lignin. For example, the LignoBoost and LignoForce technologies are commercial processes for producing kraft lignin, while TMPBio technology is employed for producing hydrolysis lignin in a cellulosic enzymatic process. Due to the commercial availability of lignin, extensive research has been conducted on producing altered lignin based value-added products. In this presentation, Dr. Fatehi will

elucidate 1) recent development in the production of lignin-based value-added products and processes, including the LignoTall process, following polymerization and grafting pathways, and 2) challenges and opportunities associated with the generation, characterization and use of such products. The main emphasize of this presentation will be on the generation of flocculants, dispersants, adsorbents and lignin nanoparticles.


Eric Olivier

Senior Director, Bioproducts, FPInnovations

FPInnovations

Natacha Mongeau

Manager, Business Development

FPInnovations

“A strategy towards valorization of lignin.

FPInnovations has been at the forefront of developing processes to extract and utilize lignin from Canadian forests. Through the development of LignoForceTM, we have enabled kraft mills to extract a portion of the lignin produced by the kraft pulping process. Lignin can also be extracted from wood using enzymatic hydrolysis processes like TMP-BioTM. The characteristics of this lignin are distinctly different than kraft lignin and much more like native lignin, providing a variety of additional applications. The presentation will summarize FPInnovations’ strategy for commercialization of forest-based lignin, based on continued process development and development of applications. Our state-of-the art facilities for characterization and utilization of lignin, both at laboratory and pilot-scales, provide us with unique capabilities to advance the use of lignin in the every-day world.


What is CRIBE/Nextfor

CRIBE is an Ontario based non-profit that works to support the development of next generation forest products through collaboration and project funding. Nextfor, as a part of CRIBE, is an industry-led ecosystem of collaborations to create and accelerate new technologies and forest-based products in Ontario.

Nextfor launched a series of High Performance Lignin Collaboration Forums in 2018 and 2019 to gather value chain feedback on the state of lignin product development in Canada and Ontario. Nextfor workshops identified the need for collaboration and communication across the value chain, including improved understanding of end user needs and a focus on building end user focused collaboration projects. Industry leaders worked together in these sessions to identify three opportunity maps for commercialization:

• Polymer Fine Chemicals;

• Resins/Adhesives;

• Thermoplastics and Composites.

Since 2019, Nextfor has successfully launched two funding challenges; the 2020 High-Performance Lignin Challenge Fund and the 2021 Accelerated Commercialization Trial: Lignin 2.0.