Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Lignin-based side streams of the pulp and paper industry are currently incinerated to produce energy while being a potential large volume feedstock resource for producing higher added value products such as fibres, polymers, resins and platform chemicals. The exploitation of these streams requires the application of new technologies to arrive at novel and economically viable solutions able to compete with fossil-based alternatives.

Scope: Development of separation, purification and conversion processes for the production of fully bio-based added value products from lignin-based side streams of the pulp and paper industry. Proposal should target one or several of the following product types: (multifilament) carbon fibres, biopolymers, thermoplastic resins, composites and small phenolic compounds for platform chemicals. Research challenges relate to the isolation of suitable quality lignin from black liquor and bleaching effluents; the development of products matching or improving mechanical, chemical and funcional properties of existing commercial products (e.g. when addressing carbon fibres, multifilament yarns that can be woven as conventional fabrics); the validation of the developed process by means of small scale prototypes with view to future demonstration. A close collaboration with the full value chain including end users is required. A life-cycle assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed technologies. Proposal will consider potential standardisation related activities expected to facilitate the market uptake of the developed products.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of at least EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Expected impact:

·         Achieving technological validation of a number of lignin based products: at least 4 new bio-based materials for proposals addressing the development of chemicals, resins and precursor materials for biopolymers.

·         Realising a five times cost decrease with respect to conventional carbon fibres, while at the same time meeting mechanical and stability requirements, for proposals addressing the development of carbon fibres.

·         Reducing GHG emissions of the developed processes by at least 20% as compared to conventional ones.

·         Increasing sustainability and competitive-edge of end-user sectors such as chemical, transportation, aerospace, textile, energy, construction industries.

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