Non-sulfonated Lignin in Dried Powder Form
LIgnin is the second most abundant organic polymer on Earth (behind cellulose) and makes up about 30% of non-fossilized organic carbon. It is the material that is responsible for providing the sturdy structure of plants as well as transporting liquids throughout the living plant tissues. lignin is normally obtained from lignite coal, thus production of lignin from ag biomass actually can offset production from coal.
Pulping of wood or straw is mostly the process of separating the cellulose fibers of the plant from one another as they are held together by lignin to form the plant physical structure, thus the lignin residue from pulping. Lignin is also the material within the plant that gives raw pulp its brown color which is bleached out in the pulp bleaching process to produce whiter pulps. SustainaPulp mills will each be world class producers of non-sulfonated lignin at an annual projected output of about 40,000 tons/yr.
Because the Phoenix pulping process used by SustainaPulp does not use sulfer, the lignin output of the process is non-sulfonated (without sulfur). Non-sulfonated lignin has much more exotic uses than sulfonated lignin and is in very short supply globally, making it much more valuable than sulfonated lignin. Additionally, lignin produced by SustainaPulp bio-refineries will be in dry powdered form, a form that is much easier to handle and use as a chemical feedstock.
lignin can be used as an additive and/or feedstock for the manufacture of: carbon fiber, phenols, resins, emulsifiers and wetting agents, adhesives, resins and binders, dispersants, agglomerants, chelants, anti-bacterials, water treatment solutions, emulsions, stabilizers, inks and azo pigments, dyestuffs, micronutrients, refractories and ceramic additives, ore processing solutions, and cement and concrete.
Hemicellulose C5/C6 Sugars
Cellulose and hemicellulose are two types of natural polymers that are found in plant cell walls and are important components of natural lignocellulosic materials. These two components are different in their chemical composition and structure in that cellulose is an organic polysaccharide molecule whereas hemicellulose is a polysaccharide matrix.
C5 and C6 sugars can serve as precursors to platform chemicals that can be converted to a wide variety of products. Several of these sugar to chemical processes are being developed today but the lack of an adequate supply of particulary C5 sugars is stunting the commercialization of these new applications. Continued advances in C5 sugar production and conversion are key factors in the future of these ag biomass based chemicals. C6 sugars are fairly abundant and mostly used today for fermentation into such products as ethanol. Each SustainaPulp mill will be a world class producer of C5 sugars at an annual projected output of about 35,000 tons/yr in concentrations that are useable by downstream processors.
Some of the key anticipated high value uses of C5 sugars are for the manufacture of Xylitol, a natural human grade sweetener and for the manufacture of glycol based products. Probably the most interesting emerging use of C5 sugars is as the base feedstock for a new generation of bio-degradeable plastics that could greatly benefit the planet by substantially reducing micro-plastic residues in the ecosystem.
An illustration of the physical structure of cellulose fiber, hemicellulose, and lignin in plant materials such as those that would be used in the making of paper pulp.
SustainaPulp Will Recover Valuable By-Products From Straw Aside From Cellulose
Each SustainaPulp mill will be equipped with an advanced bio-refinery that will separate out and condition non-sulfonated lignin and hemicellulose C5/C6 sugars for use by industry in a myriad of products and applications.