(612c) Advanced Bio and Nanocomposites From Lignin

Jacob, S., University of Guelph
Chen, R., University of Guelph
Panesar, S., University of Guelph
Luo, X., Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, Department of Plant Agriculture
Deka, H., A unit of CIPET (Govt. of India)

Lignin, the second most abundant natural biopolymer in the world, serves as a matrix component for cellulose and hemicelluloses in plant cell walls and provides mechanical strength to biofibres. Currently, about 70 million tons of lignin is generated annually as a co-product in the paper pulp industry . Furthermore, in order to fulfill the demand for lignoncellulosic bioethanol in the United States in the near future, about 225 million tons of lignin generation is expected from the cellulosic bioethanol industry. Only about 2% of the generated lignin is being used for value added applications while the rest is used as burning fuel in the same generating industry. Sustainability of these industries greatly depends upon the value added applications of this co-product. Lignin is an amorphous substance that has potential for material applications. It is a complex polyfunctional macromolecule which is composed of a large number of polar functional groups.

Utilizing the functionality of modified lignin, a series of novel lignin based bioblends/biocomposites have been developed in our laboratory and show tremendous promise for applications in automotives and housing. All of the processed bioblends/bionanocomposites showed higher static and dynamic mechanical properties as compared to the neat matrix containing the same amount of bioresins. This presentation highlights innovative value added non-food industrial applications for underutilized vegetable/plant derived resins and biomass derived biofibers and lignin.

This research is financially supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)-University of Guelph-OMAFRA (Bioeconomy for Industrial Uses Program 2009 & 2010); OMAFRA -New Directions Research Programs 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation BioCar Initiative project, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-CRD program; Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) fund; and Manitoba Pulse Growers Association (MPGA) fund.