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Canadian lignin lab receives funding

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Canadian lignin lab receives funding
Funding from the government of Ontario and Natural Resources Canada is allowing FPInnovations to operate a new world‐class lignin lab and demonstration plant at the AbitibiBowater mill in Thunder Bay, Ont.


June 30, 2011
By Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio Economy

June 30, 2011, Thunder Bay, ON – The Centre
for Research and Innovation in the Bio‐Economy (CRIBE), through funding
provided by the government of Ontario and Natural Resources Canada, is
investing in FPInnovations to operate a new world‐class lab and
demonstration plant at the AbitibiBowater mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario. CRIBE
is providing $850,000 to this innovative new project, and Natural Resources
Canada is providing an additional $500,000, for a total of $1.35 million in
funding.

The only operation of its kind in North
America, the lab and demonstration plant will provide a facility for companies
from across the country, and perhaps the world, to extract lignin from their
black liquor and have it tested, characterized, and evaluated. This pilot-scale
lignin production (100 kg/day) is also vital to meet the supply requirements of
end‐users.

Black liquor, a byproduct of the kraft
pulping process, is made up primarily of water, lignin, hemicellulose, and
chemicals. Mills typically burn their black liquor, which reduces energy costs.
However, the extraction of lignin early in the process provides an opportunity
to develop higher valued end uses than those traditionally provided in the
normal kraft recovery process.

Potential uses of lignin such as innovative
chemicals and adhesives are being studied and tested. Lignin can be used to replace
many chemicals that are currently derived from petroleum-based sources. This
could provide industries like the food, flavour, dye, and pharmaceutical
industries with renewable alternatives.

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The lignin pilot plant is fully integrated
into AbitibiBowater’s kraft mill process. By being a direct part of an
operating mill facility, the plant provides a unique view into kraft pulp
production. Lab technicians will be able to study the effect that variations in
the kraft pulping process, including wood species changes and day-to-day
process variability, have on the final product. This will ultimately allow
FPInnovations to characterize different types of lignin and determine the best
end uses for each type.

Natural Resources Canada is supporting this
initiative through the Transformative Technologies Pilot Scale Demonstration
Program.


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