(434d) Lignin Value Prior to Pulping – Analyzing Feasibility

Authors: 
Kwok, T. T., Georgia Institute of Technology
Thomas, V., Georgia Institute of Technology
Luettgen, C. O., Georgia Institute of Technology
Realff, M. J., Georgia Institute of Technology
Bommarius, A. S., Georgia Institute of Technology
Organic solvents can facilitate the production of chemicals, fuels, nanocellulose, and pulp from lignocellulosic biomass. For these applications, the majority of research focuses on how specific organic solvents isolate and alter native cellulose. Specifically, the largest body of research focuses on the production of cellulosic ethanol. The present work seeks to leverage an understanding of the pulp and paper industry, the biggest consumer of cellulose and lignin. Over a billion tons of wood are processed annually, and marginal improvements can have large economic impact. In this work, we describe a process that employs an organic solvent to remove lignin from biomass while maintaining cellulosic integrity for pulp production. This next-generation pulping system, called lignin value prior to pulping (LVPP), provides an un-sulfonated lignin stream and improves the operating economics of a pulp mill. Through a technoeconomic analysis, we describe the LVPP implementation of organic solvents like alkylene carbonates and alcohols. This analysis provides a minimum lignin-selling price (MLSP), and highlights the feasibility of an LVPP process.