Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Using Lignin to Replace Plastic Materials

Joel Kontinen

Plastic is everywhere. even the deepest trenches have been replaced by them. “A plastic bag and other plastic waste have even been found in the nearly 11-kilometre-deep Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in the world’s oceans.”

There is a cure for this. It’s called lignin. It is the substance that’s gets trees stand upright.

According to the press release, Lignin can

• partly or completely replace phenol formaldehyde resin adhesives used in plywood, hardboard, chipboard and laminate.
• be a raw material for biochemicals and functional coatings, which improve, for example, weather durability.
• be a raw material for carbon fibre in, for example, cars and airplanes, as well as a material in production of bioplastics and liquid fuels.

“Lignin is an excellent alternative as a replacement for fossil materials. It is created as a by-product of pulping. Cellulose is a common material that is often discussed and researched, but lignin has not been given as much attention", says Professor Monika Österberg.

It seems that lignin will take care pf the plastic overdose.


Sipponen, Mika Henrikki et al. 2018. Spatially confined lignin nanospheres for biocatalytic ester synthesis in aqueous media. Nature Communications 9, 2300.