Lignin

Revolutionary cutting edge technology for the production of bio-oil.

Lignin: using what would otherwise go to waste

Lignin is a polymer that plays an important role in the carbon cycle by binding atmospheric carbon dioxide to plants’ woody substances.

Up to 40 percent of all naturally occurring vegetation consists of lignin. It’s considered the “glue” in trees that gives trunks their strength by binding cellulose fibres together.

50 percent of trees’ energy content

Lignin also has high energy value, accounting for more than 50 percent of the energy content in trees.

While lignin is one of wood’s primary components, it’s not required for making paper. This means lignin is generally considered a low-value biomass waste product. A substantial part of the pulping by-product commonly known as black liquor consists of lignin.

Every tonne of pulp produced in a mill can generate 200 kg of lignin extracted from the black liquor. Often, lignin is simply burned to help power the paper mills where it is extracted in the first place.

But thanks to RenFuel’s patented catalytic process, it’s now possible to convert lignin – a forestry waste product – into a renewable lignin bio-oil that can replace traditional fossil-based fuels.

Lignin can cut the transport sector’s CO2 emissions

The notion of powering cars, buses, planes, and ships with liquid fuels derived from forestry by-products isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound.

After all, traditional fossil fuels are also derived from lignin. But that lignin originates from trees and plants from tens of millions of years ago rather than from trees processed in a 21st century pulp mill.

And while burning fossil fuels releases carbon that would otherwise stay trapped beneath the earth’s surface, burning lignin-based biofuels absorb as much CO2 during growth as they emit when burned. Thus, replacing fossil fuels with sustainable biofuels helps combat climate change by ensuring that ancient carbon stays in the ground rather than being released into the atmosphere.

By converting lignin from present-day forest by-products to biofuels used to power vehicles, RenFuel enables almost every vehicle in use today – whether car, truck, ship, or plane – to start its own net-zero emissions journey.

Replacing fossil fuels with lignin-based biofuels can thus help cut the transport sector’s CO2 emissions, accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels.