The goal of XyloBond is to develop a range of new sustainable high performance binding additive products that are customized for specific industrial applications. This involves research into new chemical modification technologies for converting lignin raw materials produced at the Borregaard biorefinery, including lignin volume currently found in waste streams, into purpose-designed value-added biochemicals. Industrial binding is the shaping of amorphous materials (usually powders or fiber) into functional forms using chemical binding additives that give strength and other beneficial properties to the finished article. This ubiquitous technology provides many benefits in manufacturing and material processing, including opportunities for generating value from waste materials. Industrial binding processes have an outsized impact on the environment due to the very large volumes of material typically handled, and the non-sustainable nature of current petrochemical-based binding additives. New sustainable binding additives are needed that can compete with established petrochemical products on versatility and cost-performance.
New lignin-based binding additives are being developed in XyloBond for specific performance in diverse markets, including battery materials, animal feed, specialty ceramics, paper and packaging, road stabilization, and waste-to-value processing. To develop market-relevant products, Borregaard has teamed up with leading international laboratories within specific industrial binding application areas including: Swerim (Sweden), NIBIO (Norway), NORSUS (Norway), Idonial (Spain), and Jinkeli (China). Thus, Xylobond will enable a new generation of lignin-based binding additives that are optimized for specific high value industrial applications, advancing sustainable technology in important sectors of the global economy.
In Xylobond during 2021, Borregaard developed 3 new methods for upgrading lignin raw material and isolating lignin from waste streams. These materials have been further modified to produce 3 new binding additive laboratory prototypes. 3 new lignin characterization and performance testing methods have also been developed at Borregaard. Work at Swerim has achieved initial testing of lignin-based binding additives that are designed to upgrade waste coke dust into functional carbon briquettes for use in high temperature metallurgical applications. Work at Idonial has begun initial testing of the binding additives in specialty refractory ceramics. NORSUS has initiated work to gather information on petrochemical binding additives to benchmark the new lignin-based products for LCA. Work at Jinkeli has initiated testing of binding additives in battery materials.
Borregaard operates one of the world's most advanced and sustainable biorefineries. By using natural, renewable raw materials, we produce advanced and environmentally friendly biochemicals that can replace oil-based products. Utilising the different components of wood, we produce biopolymers, speciality cellulose, biovanillin, cellulose fibrils and bioethanol for a variety of applications in sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture, construction, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, foodstuffs, batteries and biofuels. We employ 1100 man-years in plants and sales offices in 13 countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Binding is ubiquitous in modern industry, where enormous volumes of chemical additives are used to shape granular or fibrous materials into functional forms, and give the finished article various properties. Major applications include: production of animal feed pellets; agglomeration of fine materials (e.g. metal ore fines, coal dust, etc) into processable forms (e.g. pellets, granules, briquettes, etc); coatings and adhesives for paper products; production of ceramic articles; and use in various specialized applications such as road stabilizing and battery components. Economic, technologic and environmental pressures are driving the demand for binding additives. However, current technology is either not sustainable or lacks performance and functionality. The work outlined in XyloBond addresses this problem by developing new sustainable high-performance binding additives from a nature's own binding material: lignin. This will create a new category of sustainable multi-functional binding additive that can compete on performance with petrochemical products in high-volume applications.
XyloBond will be carried out through four main tasks:
H0: New lignin raw materials produced at the Borregaard Biorefinery will be characterized and adapted to produce a suitable feedstock for delivering large volumes of binding additive.
H1: New modification technologies will be developed to further customize the lignin feedstock to deliver desired functionality in binding applications.
H2: The mode-of-action and performance of the new binding additives be explored in model systems and under process conditions.
H3: The prototypes will be assessed to quantify their sustainability and environmental friendliness.
XyloBond directly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by developing sustainable products with improved environmental footprint.