GreenLight

Cost effective lignin-based carbon fibres for innovative light-weight applications

Summary

Carbon fibre’s exceptionally high strength to weight ratio offers numerous advantages for many applications. However, it is expensive to produce, and the cost has restricted its use to relatively rarefied sectors such as aerospace, high-end automotive construction and wind energy.

The GreenLight project will demonstrate a value-chain for creating a new bio-based, renewable and economically viable carbon fibre precursor – lignin – that will be produced in Europe with European raw materials.

These precursors will be suitable for processing into carbon fibre and structural carbon fibre composites and make those more affordable and accessible, particularly in mass-market vehicles.

Description

Objectives: 
  • Demonstrate the viability of the processing of lignin into carbon fibre (CF) and CF structural composites with customized features (lightness, strength, cost-effectiveness) for the automotive industry with the aim to achieve a cost-efficient alternative to today's high-performing and relatively high-cost petroleum-based carbon fibre raw material (polyacrylo-nitrile, PAN).
  • Create new business opportunities and jobs in the pulp and paper industry though the separation and valorisation of the lignin from kraft pulp mills.
Expected impacts: 
  • Contribution to the structural changes and increasing of competitiveness of the forest-based industry in Europe.
  • Decrease in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through the use of lighter structural materials in the automotive sector (10% weight reduction means a reduction of 7% in fuel consumption)
  • Creation of a sustainable European industry in the production of lignin-based CF, which has applications in diverse sectors (automotive, aircraft, wind energy, etc.)
  • Reduction of the European dependence on imported CF and CF precursors
  • Reduction of at least 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the production of lignin-based CF compared to the production of PAN-based CF.