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Carbon fibres from lignin

What if carbon fibres could be made from a renewable raw material instead of oil? What if this new raw material could be available in large quantities? With such a raw material as the wood-based product lignin, the volume of production could increase considerably and more products could be manufactured from high-performing light-weight materials. One potential application is rotor blades for wind mills which could be much bigger if they were made from carbon fibres instead of glass fibres.

Lignin fibre
Lignin fibre from our new new carbon fibre laboratory.

A new product from the pulp mill

At Innventia, research activities have shown that it is possible to produce carbon fibres from lignin, which is a by-product in a kraft pulp mill. The lignin is extracted from black liquor using a patented biorefinery concept called LignoBoost. With this process we can obtain a lignin that is so pure that it can be used for manufacturing carbon fibre.

Carbon fibre is currently produced by Innventia from lignin in the laboratory for research purposes. The real breakthrough came when we succeeded in manufacturing filaments from softwood lignin – something that had been previously thought to be impossible. Carbon fibre is made in several steps from a carbon containing fibre through stabilisation, carbonisation and sometimes also graphitisation.

Much of our current work focuses on opportunities for up-scaling, as well as process technology-related issues linked to the relationship between lignin properties and carbon fibre properties.



Sverker Danielsson
+46 8 676 7366
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Biobased composites for automotive applications - GreenLight project
Hosseinaei O
Stakeholder workshop on the cascading use of woody biomass 13 April 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Arranged by European Commission DG GROW

Structural carbon fibre from kraft lignin
Baker D A, Sedin M, Landmer A, Friman L, Echardt L
7th Nordic Wood Biorefinery Conference (NWBC), Stockholm, Sweden 20-30 March 2017

Extrusion of softwood kraft lignins as precursors for carbon fibres
Salmén L, Bergnor E, Olsson A-M, Åkerström M, Uhlin A
Bioresources 10(2015):4, 7544-7554

Structural changes in softwood kraft lignin during nonoxidative thermal treatment
Rönnols J, Schweinebarth H, Jacobs A, Stevanic J S, Olsson A-M, Reimann A, Aldaeus F
Nordic Pulp Paper Res. J. 30(2015):4

Carbon Fibre from Kraft Lignin
Norberg I
Doctoral dissertation, KTH, Fibre and Polymer Technology, Stockholm, 2012