High-value products from lignin

The objective of the project is to develop technologies to use lignin as an alternate renewable material source in selected high value applications, optimally aiming at reduced production costs simultaneously with improved properties. Various technical lignins will be studied as raw materials: the presently available kraft lignin, emerging 2nd generation hydrolysis lignin, and lignin dissolved during prehydrolysis of wood, representing a potential future source of lignin with special characteristics. All these lignins differ in chemical structure and properties, and their properties will be further modified according to the requirements of the target material applications.

In addition to chemical modification, physical methods, such as introduction of superhydrophobic surface structure, will be among the tools applied for property tailoring. The lignins as such and after modifications will be characterised using appropriate chemical analyses and material property tests. The most suitable lignin types, combined with necessary modifications, will be identified for each application.

A wide range of target end-use applications are addressed for the developed lignin-based materials, such as metal coatings in marine applications, aiming at protection against biofouling, water frictional resistance, corrosion and icing, binder of the active metal components in the adsorbent materials for biogas purification and membranes for various the biomedical field or edible films. Despite of this wide range, many of the applications have similar material property requirements and thus the generic lignin modification study serves many application lines.