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Stora Enso to build pilot facility for lignin-based carbon products.

LCD display powered by rechargeable lithium ion cell. ©Stora Enso

“We will target the rapidly growing battery market in which companies are looking for high-quality, attractively priced and sustainable materials.”

Packaging and paper company Stora Enso has announced that it will spend €10 million to build a pilot facility for producing bio-based carbon materials based on lignin.

According to Stora Enso, wood-based carbon can be utilised as a crucial component in batteries typically used in consumer electronics, the automotive industry and large-scale energy storage systems.

Stora Enso’s (@storaenso) pilot plant will be located at Stora Enso’s Sunila Mill in Finland.

The company stated that the lignin produced at Sunila Mill is used to replace fossil-based components in phenols for adhesives, amongst other things. With the new investment, Stora Enso will pilot the processing of lignin into a carbon intermediate for electrode materials.

This lignin will be converted into so-called hard carbon anode materials for lithium-ion batteries with properties similar to graphite. Such batteries are used daily in mobile phones and similar portable devices, power tools, electric vehicles, in industrial applications, in stationary energy storage and grid units, and so on.

“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. Using wood-based lignin for technical carbon material offers an exciting opportunity,” said Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.

He added: “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.”

The construction of the pilot facility will begin before the end of 2019 and is estimated to be complete by early 2021. Decisions about commercialisation will follow after evaluating the results of the pilot-scale production.


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