Lignol Energy Corporation (TSXV: LEC) a leading technology company in the advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals sector, today announced that tests conducted with prominent North American research facilities have shown promising results that High Performance Lignin (HP-LTM lignin) may be used to produce thermoplastics.
There is a large global market for thermoplastics, which include materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Industry sources estimate that these two plastics alone have a combined global demand exceeding 100 million tonnes per year.
Thermoplastics are very versatile and are used in a wide variety of industrial items, consumer goods and products such as food packaging, containers, structural plastics and automobiles. They can also be used as precursors for advanced materials such as carbon fibre.
“Many lignin-based materials are challenging to incorporate into chemical systems, so we are very pleased to demonstrate the value of High Performance Lignin as a functional ingredient in thermoplastics,” said Ross MacLachlan, President and CEO. “This promising breakthrough can be attributed to the unique combination of physical and chemical properties of our High Performance Lignin.”
The research and trials demonstrated that HP-L is compatible with several commonly used thermoplastics. Tests showed that HP-L enhanced certain key properties of thermoplastic materials and provided a significant level of renewable content in their applications. It was found that, due to the unique purity and physico-chemical properties of HP-L, it was possible to incorporate significant amounts of HP-L into blends with thermoplastics, such as polypropylene, without negatively impacting the blends’ mechanical properties. Similar promising results were obtained with other thermoplastics.
“Thermoplastics are the largest and most valuable market opportunity that Lignol has identified to date. They represent a billion dollar opportunity for our business,” said MacLachlan. “These results will support our efforts to develop larger scale trials involving a broad range of conventional and bio-based plastics with our strategic partners, and help lead to our foremost objective of developing off-take agreements for a commercial biorefinery.”
Lignol (TSXV: LEC) is a Canadian company undertaking the development of biorefining technologies for the production of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals from non-food cellulosic biomass feedstocks. Lignol’s modified solvent based pre-treatment technology facilitates the rapid, high-yield conversion of cellulose to ethanol and the production of value- added biochemical co-products, including High Performance Lignin (HP-LTM lignin). HP-L represents a new class of high purity lignin extractives (and their subsequent derivatives) which can be engineered to meet the chemical properties and functional requirements of a range of industrial applications that until now has not been possible with traditional lignin by-products generated from other processes.
Lignol is executing on its development plan through strategic partnerships to further develop and integrate its core technologies on a commercial scale. Lignol also intends to invest in, or otherwise obtain, equity interests in energy related projects which have synergies with its biorefining technology.
Source: Lignol Energy Corporation, press release, 2011-10-05.