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Stora Enso, Cordenka working on bio-based carbon fibre solutions


May 26, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Bio-based carbon fibre. Photo: Stora Enso

Stora Enso and Cordenka are partnering to develop precursors for bio-based carbon fibre that could be used in transportation, construction and power generation.

Stora Enso, a pulp and paper producer based in Finland, has been developing the technology for manufacturing carbon fibre from wood-based raw materials such as dissolving pulp and lignin, at laboratory scale.

The agreement with Cordenka GmbH & Co KG, a producer of industrial viscose fibres, aims at upscaling the precursor development process to pilot-scale operation.

Currently, carbon fibre is made from PAN (polyacrylonitrile), an oil-based raw material. The raw materials for bio-based carbon fibre are cellulose and lignin, which come from trees.

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In the bio-based carbon fibre process, cellulose is converted to viscose and mixed with lignin to form the spinning dope. The dope is spun into precursor fibre that is thermally converted to carbon fibre.

The precursor development is being carried out with specialized manufacturing spinning equipment at Cordenka’s Obernburg production site in Germany. The venture is supported by BMC, owner of Cordenka, as part of their strategy to extend the reach of Cordenka into new growth markets and Asia.

“It is exciting to partner up with Cordenka to develop bio-based carbon fibre that replaces oil-based raw materials,” says Markus Mannström, executive vice-president of Stora Enso’s biomaterials division.

“Our ambition is to provide industrial composite producers with a sustainable, yet cost-competitive, carbon fibre made from renewable and fossil-free materials.”

The target of the partnership will be on developing carbon fibre initially for industrial applications requiring low weight and high mechanical performance, such as pultruded laminates used in manufacturing wind energy rotor blades. Today, 20 per cent of the global carbon fibre supply is used by the wind energy industry.