Deep Eutectic Solvent Delignification to Low-energy Mechanical Pulp to Produce Papermaking Fibers

Juha Fiskari, Rita Ferritsius, Sinke H. Osong, Anders Persson, Tomas Höglund, Peter Immerzeel, Magnus Norgren


A novel process based on low-energy mechanical pulp and deep eutectic solvents (DESs) was evaluated with the goal of producing fibers suitable for papermaking. Ideally, these fibers could be produced at much lower costs, especially when applied to an existing paper mill equipped with a thermomechanical pulp (TMP) production line that was threatened with shutdown due to the decreasing demand for wood-containing paper grades. The efficiency of DES delignification in Teflon-coated autoclaves and in a specially designed non-standard flow extractor was evaluated. All tested DESs had choline chloride ([Ch]Cl) as the hydrogen bond acceptor. Lactic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, or urea acted as hydrogen bond donors. The temperatures and times of the delignification tests were varied. Chemical analysis of the pulp samples revealed that DESs containing lactic acid, oxalic acid, or urea decreased the lignin content by approximately 50%. The DES delignification based on [Ch]Cl and urea exhibited good hemicellulose retention while DES systems based on organic acids resulted in varying hemicellulose losses. The [Ch]Cl / urea mixture did not appear to be corrosive to stainless steel, which was another advantage of this DES system.


Asplund pulp; Deep eutectic solvent; Delignification; Tensile strength; Thermomechanical pulp

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