Stora Enso to pilot technology for lignin-based carbon products

By Erin Voegele | July 23, 2019

Finland-based forestry company Stora Enso has announced plans to invest €10 million ($11.15 million) to build a pilot facility that will produce biobased carbon materials from lignin that can be used in batteries.

According to Stora Enso, the proposed pilot project will process lignin into a carbon intermediate for electrode materials. The company said the lignin will be converted into hard carbon anode materials for lithium-ion batteries with properties similar to graphite. Such batteries are used in mobile phone and similar portable devices, power tools, electric vehicles, in industrial applications, in stationary energy storage and grid units.

Construction of the pilot plant is expected to begin later this year and be complete by early 2021. The facility will be located at Stora Enso’s Sunila Mill in Finland.

“This investment is another step on our transformation journey to explore new ways to replace fossil-based, scarce and high-cost materials with renewable alternatives,” said Markus Mannström, executive vice president of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division. “Using wood-based lignin for technical carbon material offers an exciting opportunity. With the pilot facility we will continue to build on our long-term work in extracting lignin from biomass to create more value from it. We will target the rapidly growing battery market in which companies are looking for high-quality, attractively priced and sustainable materials.”