Lignol, Weyerhaeuser explore lignin-based products

By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted Oct. 3, 2008 at 10:08 a.m. CST

Lignol Energy Corp. of Burnaby, British Columbia, has agreed to work with Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Co. to explore developing commercial cellulose fiber and biochemical applications for products that are produced using Lignol's biorefining process.

"We will be testing various Weyerhaeuser feedstocks in our process and from there, we will be working collaboratively with Weyerhaeuser for the development of a number of product applications," said Paul Hughes, vice president of corporate development and communications for Lignol. "We're looking to jointly accelerate the applications for lignin and explore the potential for the pulp that also gets produced from our biorefinery, as well."

Lignol's solvent-based biorefining process produces cellulose fiber, as well as high-purity lignin, which can be blended with industrial adhesives to produce coatings or can be used as a precursor for carbon fiber production.

Initially, Weyerhaeuser biomass feedstocks will be tested at Lignol's biorefinery pilot-scale plant in Burnaby, British Columbia, Hughes said. Ultimately, the companies will evaluate whether to build a commercial-scale biorefinery at or near a Weyerhaeuser mill site.

Meanwhile, Lignol continues to move forward with planning and developing a 2.5 MMgy cellulosic ethanol commercial demonstration plant in Grand Junction, Colo., which will be built adjacent to the Suncor Energy Inc. petroleum products distribution terminal. In January, the U.S. DOE approved Lignol's funding application for the plant, which included up to $30 million in construction funding. The facility will be designed to process hardwoods and softwoods as well as agricultural residues.