Published 9 April 2015 by Stora Enso
Traditional pulp making process only uses about 50% of any given tree harvested. The left-overs, like lignin and hemicellulose, end up being burned for energy. Cellulosic sugars and lignin have the potential to become building platforms or raw materials for cost-effective renewable solutions for the specialty chemicals, construction, coatings, personal care and food industries, among others.
Stora Enso has been researching lignin and its attributes for more than a decade. It is a complex material, but has the potential for some interesting applications. Among those, a sustainable alternative to the phenols used in plywood and wood-panelling glues and the polyols used in foams in the construction and automotive industries.
Stora Enso’s investment in US-based Virdia is a next step to explore and develop an innovative way of extracting from the cellulosic biomass, the highly refined sugars and lignin needed for viable commercial applications.
We have also invested in a biorefinery at the Sunila Pulp Mill for the further development of business around lignin extracted from Nordic pine and spruce. The biorefinery started trial runs in late 2014.