Low Temperature Plasma for Chemical Production

A new way to extract high-value chemicals from lignin.

The project will use low temperature plasma to utilise valuable chemicals from low value bio-based feeds. Lignin is a waste material from wood processes when cellulose and hemicellulose have been extracted. Lignin is a very large molecule that contains interesting chemical structures and aromatics.

The project consortium aims to develop a process, based on low temperature plasma that will be able to decompose lignin into valuable chemicals, which can enable a production of bio-based chemicals at a price level that is comparable to today’s cost. The consortium will also focus on utilising possible waste from this process to produce synthesis gas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) which also is a valuable feedstock for production of chemicals, and to examine if the technology can be used on black liquor.

The application is focusing on using a resource that is present in large quantities in the Nordic countries. If successful, the project may be able to increase the value string for companies operating in this region - forestry, paper mills, and chemical companies that will be able to produce competitive bio-based chemicals. The technologies involving bio-based chemicals have a strong foundation in these countries being in the forefront of the development of bio technologies replacing traditional feedstocks typically based on crude oil and other fossil fuels.

There is also a large export potential as lignin and bio-based chemicals is not solely related to the Nordic countries. There is a demand for these chemicals in other parts of the world and the demand is increasing as new technologies make it possible to develop alternative production routes.

Project partners

  • University of Uppsala, Sweden
  • Haldor Topsøe, Denmark
  • Perstrop AB, Sweden
  • N2 Applied, Norway