CORDIS - EU research results

Conceptual Study of Electrochemical based novel process using Lignosulfonates to produce bio-based monomers & polymers

Project description

A novel biorefinery concept turns pulp waste into chemicals with care for the environment

Lignin accounts for about 20-30 % of the content of wood, and it is the second most abundant organic molecule on Earth after cellulose. During sulfite pulping of wood in the paper and pulp industry, the lignin is sulfated yielding water-soluble lignosulfonates (highly branched ionic polymers) as a by-product. The ability to valorise these biopolymers by converting them into organic monomers and other polymers for the chemical industry has many benefits. These range from greener chemicals to a circular economy with reduced waste, energy and raw material usage. The EU-funded SElectiveLi project will develop the technology to convert low-cost lignosulfonate feedstocks into high-value, bio-sustainable chemicals.


SELECTIVELI represents a strong BBI consortium, including full members Sappi (SAPPI), Idener (IDENER), associated members Vito (VITO), Leitat (LEITAT) and Sintef (SINTEF) in addition to industrial partners Chimar (CHIMAR) and LCEngineering (LCE) and leading experts in the field of preparative electrochemistry, University of Mainz (JGU).
SELECTIVELI will provide proof of concept on the laboratory scale (at least TR3) to demonstrate the potential for converting low cost lignosulfonate feedstocks (by-product from paper and pulp industry) into high value bio-sustainable chemicals through the following:
(I) Development and optimisation of the electrochemical process to convert bio-based feedstock (lignosulfonates) into target monomers, some of which can be converted into polymers for study in further downstream processes.
(II) Development and optimisation of downstream separation and purification processes to extract the target products and conversion of intermediate building block monomers (mixed phenolic derivatives) into higher value polymers
(III) Modelling the process to (a) prepare process designs and scale up strategies for future industrial scale production and ensuring commercial viability (b) assessing energy requirements and proving the process is capable of benefitting from surplus energy and accommodating energy fluctuations.
(IV) Conducting a full life-cycle analysis to establish that a future biorefinery process can reduce environmental footprint of a value chain.


Net EU contribution
€ 793 896,00
55122 Mainz

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Rheinland-Pfalz Rheinhessen-Pfalz Mainz, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 884 106,25

Participants (7)