Deep within the cell walls of every tree lies a powerful substance. A substance that provides the second biggest source of renewable carbon on the planet. When extracted and converted, it holds the promise to transform the way we use our natural resources to make products.
What is lignin?
Lignin is a complex plant-derived polymer found in the cell walls of almost all dry-land plants. Trees are composed of 20-30% of lignin, where it acts as a natural and strong binder. It binds cellulose and hemicellulose together, giving wood its stiffness and resistance to rotting. After cellulose, it is the biggest renewable source of carbon anywhere.
Stora Enso produces 50 000 tonnes per year of kraft lignin at its Sunila Mill, in Kotka Finland. Sunila Mill is the largest kraft lignin extraction plant in the world. We have been producing lignin at industrial scale since 2015 at this Finnish mill, where it is also fired in our lime kiln to replace the use of fossil-based fuel and reduce our CO2 emissions. Lignin is extracted from the kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood, pine and spruce, using the Valmet LignoBoost® technology.
As a material, lignin is:
Lignin has numerous applications across a variety of industries, including automotive, construction, coatings, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Refined lignin can replace fossil-based phenols that are used in resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material. Other potential uses in the future include carbon fibre and carbon for energy storage.
Stora Enso produces and sells lignin in different formats: dry lignin, wet lignin and lignin granules. Lineo by Stora Enso is our commercial lignin offering that can be tailored to your specific needs.