Lignin Prepared by Ultrafiltration of Black Liquor: Investigation of Solubility, Viscosity, and Ash Content

Nicola Giummarella, Christofer Lindgren, Mikael E. Lindström, Gunnar Henriksson


Technical lignin, which can be potentially obtained in large amounts as a by-product from kraft pulping, represents a potential resource for manufacturing fuels and chemicals. Upgrading of lignin, by lowering its molecular weight, is a valuable alternative to precipitation from black liquor, which occurs in the Lignoboost process. The solubility properties of Lignoboost lignin and filtered lignin in a number of technically feasible solvents were compared, and it was found that both lignins were dissolved in similar solvents. With the exception of furfural, the best lignin solvents generally were organic solvents miscible with water, such as methanol. It was possible to dissolve more filtered lignin in higher concentrations than Lignoboost lignin; additionally, the viscosities of the filtered lignin solutions were also considerably lower than those of Lignoboost lignin, especially at higher concentrations. Methods for non-organic component removal from filtrated lignin were tested, and it was concluded that several cold acidic treatments after dewatering can lower the ash content to values below 0.5% by weight.


Lignin; Ultrafiltration; Liquid biofuel; Solubility; Viscosity; Ash content

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