Technological watch

Lignin pilot plant opens in Germany / Bio-based feedstock material for PU, thermoplastics

Lignin pilot plant opens in Germany / Bio-based feedstock material for PU, thermoplasticsUS timber group Mercer (New York, New York; has opened Europeâ??s first pilot plant for lignin in Rosenthal, Germany. The new Mercer Lignin Center in the immediate vicinity of the local pulp mill has a production capacity of 300 t/y on an area of 1,000 m². No details were given on the amount invested.
Moving from the sidelines to the spotlight: lignin (Photo: Mercer)
Lignin is a by-product of the processing of wood cellulose and consists of various aromatic building blocks, the phenylpropanoids. Structurally, it resembles a polyphenol, which makes it suitable as a substitute for petrochemically produced phenol used, for example, in polyurethane or other thermoplastics, a company spokesperson told
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The pilot plant would be a step towards the planned industrial-scale production, said Mercer International CEO Juan Carlos Bueno at the opening of the facility. In the long term, Mercer is aiming for a production capacity of 30,000 t/y of lignin at the Rosenthal site. According to the spokesperson, more than twice this capacity would be conceivable for its German site in Arneburg.
From now on, Mercer Rosenthal also plans to produce lignin, in addition to pulp, bioenergy, and tall oil (Photo: Mercer)
In Rosenthal, Mercer already produces kraft pulp, a feedstock for paper and tissue production, with an annual production capacity is 360,000 t/y. Another bio-based by-product of the pulp produced there is tall oil.
Mercer International is a global manufacturer of wood-based products with locations in Germany, the US, and Canada. The companyâ??s annual production capacity is 2.3 mn t/y of pulp, 1.3 mn m³/y of sawn timber, and 210,000 m³/y of cross-laminated timber (CLT).
Meanwhile, UPM Biochemicals is building a bio-refinery in Leuna, Germany, at a cost of around EUR 1.2 bn, where hardwood is to be used to produce biochemicals for the production of plastics, among other things. Technical commissioning is scheduled for the end of this year, with the start of production planned for the first half of 2024.06.09.2023 [253479-0]

Publication date: 06/09/2023



This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.