Download our brochure Associate Login

News // Research projects: LIGNOREFINERY Using lignified biomass as raw material for production of new materials

Date // 23rd December 2015

Research projects: LIGNOREFINERY Using lignified biomass as raw material for production of new materials

The projects "LIGNOREFINERY I and II" are intended to develop strategies for the complete use of lignified biomass as raw material. This work is being conducted by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, denkstatt GmbH, Österreichische Bundesforste, the TDZ Ennstal and technology partner Fermtech.

Scientists in the fields of chemistry, wood research and biotechnology are investigating cascading woody biomass as part of a broader strategy to develop new materials based on biomass. Possible materials under development include lactic acid for making bioplastics, humus-like fertilizer to improve soil quality, or high- grade nanocellulose fibres.



The focus is on utilizing the lignocellulose biomass in a modular way and on making various products that, in the past, could only be manufactured from petroleum. For instance, it is possible to make dimensionally stable aerogels based entirely on lignin. Aerogels are ultra-light, highly porous materials with a growing number of technical applications, such as:

  • high-performance thermal and acoustic insulation
  • substrate for catalysts and filter systems
  • electrode material for electrochemical applications
Other chemical is itaconic acid, another precursor for polymers; until now it could be produced only under very specialized conditions. Itaconic acid resembles malic acid, which serves as a precursor for making acrylates and resins. Both itaconic acid itself and its derivatives can be employed as building blocks in chemical synthesis. For instance, itaconic acid can be decarboxylated and then esterified to make methyl methacrylate, which is then turned into plexiglass.

"The final goal is to attract investors for the idea and find a production site for actually producing these new materials."

The material streams are mapped out in process descriptions within a broader business model, with the aim of maximizing the processes identified economically. The final project goal is to attract investors for the idea and find a production site for actually producing these new materials.

Latest Newsletter

Archives //

Insights //