EUCALIVA

EUCAlyptus LIgnin VAlorisation for Advanced Materials and Carbon Fibres

Summary

Lignin from pulping processes represents a major source of underexploited material with an estimated 17 million tonnes of lignin available from pulping processes across Europe. However, much of this lignin is simply burned onsite to provide steam for heat and power production. EUCALIVA aims to create a whole value chain from lignin, using Eucalyptus waste as its source. The project’s main focus will be to increase the efficiency, yield and cost-effectiveness of technologies through new approaches.

Demonstration of the integration of the developed process in existing industrial scenarios is a major EUCALIVA goal. Therefore, the demonstration will take place at already existing pilot plants and industrial installations, bringing further evidence and possible routes to market for the envisaged added value products. The demonstration activities address the scalability of the proposed concepts. Replication will be first simulated and then delivered within the industrial project partners to validate each one of the key innovations providedwithin EUCALIVA.

The Scientific and Technological objectives included in EUCALIVA present a synergy between the innovation and the application of new processes and materials. This will lead to the optimisation of this biorefinery process from an economic and an environmental perspective.

Description

Objectives: 
  • To demonstrate a new biobased, renewable and economically viable method of formulating lignin blends as a precursor material suitable for production of carbon-based fibres (CF), fibrous mats, stretchable films and non-wovens, produced in Europe with European raw material (Eucalyptus spp.), developing conditions for its processing into CF and other fibrous carbonaceous materials.
  • To validate a demonstrative pilot scale chain using kraft lignin for the production of precursor blends to be further processed (by electrospinning and wet coagulation spinning) into fibrous derivatives and to investigate new applications of the lignin fraction.
  • To increase the mechanical, thermal and conductive properties of the carbon fibres derived from lignin blends to be used in structural applications as fibre-reinforced composites (GFRP) and other derivatives, partially substituting conventional glass fibres; non-structural protective and insulating carbon-based materials, and multifunctional conductive, piezo-resistive and piezoelectric materials.
  • To demonstrate the viability of the processing of lignin into carbon fibre (CF) and CF derived functional materials with customised features for the smart wearables and biosensors markets with the aim of achieving a cost-efficient alternative to today's petroleum-based carbon fibre raw material (polyacrylonitrile, PAN).
  • To create new business opportunities and jobs in the pulp and paper industry through the separation and valorisation of lignin from kraft pulp mills.
  • To perform Life Cycle and Cost Analyses to assess the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the developed products and the related processing routes, and identify a strategy for marketreplication.
Expected impacts: 
  • Reduction of industrial side-streams routed to disposal as waste
  • Demonstrable operational and energy cost savings compared to existing processes and technologies
  • Introduction of ‘lignin-to-(bio)-product’ concepts at a semi-commercial scale
  • Delivery of one new building block based on biomass of European origin validated at demonstration scale, and/or at least one new bio-based material
  • Contribution to other BBI JU key performance indicators including the creation of at least one new biobased value chain and one new cooperation project through cross-industry clusters
  • Improving innovation capacity and the integration of new knowledge (strengthening the competitiveness and growth of companies by developing innovations meeting the needs of European and global markets, and, where relevant, by delivering such innovations to the markets)