Lignin is a promising and abundant coupling product in biorefineries (e.g. paper and textile indus-try), which in most biorefinery concepts is burned for its energy value. To make biorefineries economically more viable and to reduce the CO2 footprint, however, a valorization strategy ex-ploiting the high potential of lignin is crucial.
In the proposed project LignoTex, we want to cover the whole process chain from lignin extraction to spinning of lignin-based fibers as well as the application in textiles. A variety of different plants such as woods, grasses, perennial plants and agricultural residues will be extracted using the OrganoCat technology adapted and optimized to the different plant materials. The extracted lig-nins will then be isolated and fractionated by anti-solvent precipitation to reduce impurities and narrow the lignin fraction heterogeneity. To produce sufficient quantities of suitable precursors for the subsequent processing steps, the lignin extraction and fractionation will be scaled up into a 50 L scale. The isolated lignins will be chemically modified with polylactic acid (PLA) to adjust key properties for textile production, e.g. tacticity, strength and elongation. The precursors will then be tested in state of the art and newly developed wet spinning, melt spinning and composite manufacturing processes to determine the influence of molecular properties, e.g. molecular weight, molecular design (linear/branched) and β-O-4 linkages, on the their performance in the textile applications. The market potential for different future products will be assessed based on those processes with a focus point in consumer acceptance and communication strategies.
With this project, we hope to implement and demonstrate a viable and value-adding process to apply lignin in textiles, which can be integrated in a more holistic valorization of lignocellulose in biorefinery concepts.
Dr. Sascha Schriever
ITA - Textile Technology and Engineering
Prof. Dr. Schurr & Dr. Philipp Grande, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Gries & Dr. Schriever & S.-H. Lee, ITA - Textile Technology and Engineering, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Jupke & A. Holtz, AVT.FVT - Fluid Process Engineering, RWTH Aachen
Dr. Jörn Viell, NGP2, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Herres-Pawlis, IAC - Bioinorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Hartmann & J. Macht, ILR - Agricultural and Food Market Research, University of Bonn