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Scale-Up Technology

Swedish firm receives funding boost to develop lignin-to-plastic technology

The Swedish Energy Agency has granted SEK 14 million (€1.3m) to bio-based material specialist RenCom to help scale-up its lignin technology.

The funds will be used to support a demonstration unit that will convert lignin from pulp mills in the size of 1000 tonnes per year in an industrially relevant scale.

“This support is an important milestone for our commitment in scaling up our lignin technology to become a leading player in the cross-section of the forest industry and the plastics industry through green chemistry,” said Christopher Carrick, CEO of RenCom.

“The demonstration can be a significant leap in the transition to more circular and bio-based products. Using lignin will contribute to a substantial biomass material efficiency, and the potential to transform the bio-based economy. We believe it has a high industrial impact which will be important not only for the Swedish industry,” added Klara Helstad, Head Sustainable Industry Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency.

Lignin – a component of wood that is the nature’s own binder – is usually incinerated for energy when producing pulp and paper. RenCom’s biorefinery concept has the potential to produce new products from lignin.

Its technology converts lignin into bioplastics. Its forest-based raw material called RENOL can be blended with virgin and recycled thermoplastics creating new types of bioplastics.

Swedish innovation centre BioInnovation has welcomed RenCom’s innovation.

“We at BioInnovation has supported the development of Renol from the beginning. We think it is very positive that the Swedish Energy Agency enters and supports an industrial demo of a circular and bio-based material that may change and contribute to the transition to a greener and more sustainable world with less fossil-based plastics,” said Anna Wiberg, Program Manager for BioInnovation.

RenCom aims to supply the plastic industry with granulates that will be converted into plastic bags, packaging materials, bottles or injection moulded pieces. The material has been tried out by several partners in the plastic field and we at RenCom believe that the end products, containing RENOL, will be on the market already next year.

If you were interested in this story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: Avantium awarded €0.5M to produce lignin for the development of bio-based asphalt

Read: Maersk and big brands line up to develop lignin-blend-based fuel for shipping

Read: Forest-based biomass industry: Where are we today and where are going tomorrow?

Read:Wood fibre + bio-plastic = 98% bio-based kitchen products from Orthex and Stora Enso.

Read:Finland’s Fazer joins eco start-up to further development of wood-based packaging.

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