What is lignin?
Simply described, lignin is nature’s own adhesive. It is found in the cell walls of all plants and binds the fibers together and provides strength. The more lignin, the stronger the plant.
Lignin is a climate-smart gold mine when it comes to development of fossil-free products which can meet the needs of the future. It can be used, for example, in the production of plastic, fuel, asphalt, batteries, carbon fiber, in building and construction materials and as a fire and UV protection.
So far, lignin is an underused raw material, but the use of it is gating higher and higher. For example, it has been used as a binder in the asphalt to several roads in Sweden.
Thanks to lignin, the use of oil and coal may decrease in the future.
Maximum use of the tree
Most lignin is found in trees. They consist of 20-30 percent lignin. This is what allows them to grow up to be, in some cases, over a hundred meters high.
As it stands today, lignin is a by-product of paper and pulp production. It is separated from the cellulose as part of the black liquor and burned to create steam that provide the mills with green energy. It thus being used. But its value is great higher if it is extracted to create smart and sustainable products.