Smart technology for biomass separation takes a step forward
Publicerat 12 May, 2022
Lixea’s biomaterial separation process can reduce the use of fossil oil and extend the life cycle of products and materials. On 24 May, the Swedish pilot plant will be inaugurated and ready for production.
At Lixea’s pilot plant, in Värmland County, Sweden, a new method is being developed to separate biomaterials into their main components. Thanks to the process and liquid salt, residues from rice and grain crops, wood chips, and sawdust, can be broken down into cellulose and lignin. The resulting raw materials can then be used to manufacture paper, packaging materials, biocomposites, and nanocellulose.
“The pilot is set for operation. For the inauguration, it will be commissioned and ready for biomass production,” says Jennica Ivarsson, COO at Lixea.
However, Lixea still has some adjustments to make before the pilot can be taken into full production.
“First, we need to reach an operation level that we feel confident in. We will start using the process on sawmill chips from spruce. That is what we have worked with the most so far.”
A curious market
Lixea’s process mainly extracts cellulose and lignin. Cellulose is best known for its use in papermaking, and lignin can be described as a natural adhesive that mainly origins from the forest. Both raw materials have a wide range of uses.
“Primarily, we see the cellulose from our process being used in the production of packaging materials or as feedstock for bioethanol and sugar. On the lignin side, the market is still quite young, except in asphalt production where the use of lignin is perhaps the most developed.”
Regardless, the future market for Lixea’s process looks bright.
“There are many interested parties on both the cellulose and the lignin side. The interest is in the products and the process itself. It feels promising,” says Jennica.
But before stakeholders can use the process, it needs some refinement.
“Over the next six months, the focus will be on getting the process up and running. Taking samples and doing analyses. The next step is to look closer at how we can scale up, and how to find investors and partners.”
The inauguration gathers supporters
When starting a business, it is important to have the right contacts. This has been no exception for Lixea.
“We have needed help in many different areas. On the one hand, we only have a few employees, since we are a startup company, and on the other hand, we need to find solutions quickly to achieve our goals on time. That is why networks are super important, and I feel that in Värmland, there is a genuine willingness to help.
Several of those who have supported Lixea in one way or another will attend the opening ceremony on 24 May.
“We look forward to the inauguration and welcome those who have supported us along the way to opening our pilot plant.”