A Rapid and Tunable Approach for the Fractionation of Technical Kraft Lignin
Abdelaziz, Omar
Capanema, Ewellyn
Ajao, Olumoye
Kristensen, Tove
Hosseinaei, Omid
Benali, Marzouk
Hulteberga , Christian

How to Cite

Abdelaziz O., Capanema E., Ajao O., Kristensen T., Hosseinaei O., Benali M., Hulteberga C., 2023, A Rapid and Tunable Approach for the Fractionation of Technical Kraft Lignin, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 99, 67-72.


Reducing the heterogeneity of technical lignin is essential to obtain predictable and high-performance polymeric materials that are suitable for high-value applications. Organic solvents with different polarities and solubilities can be used to fractionate lignin and reduce the complexity and diversity of its chemical structure. Among the various solvents and solvent mixtures, acetone–water mixtures offer an energy-efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly means of lignin fractionation. In the present study, temperature-induced acetone–water fractionation was investigated to refine the properties of a technical softwood Kraft lignin, i.e., LignoBoost™ lignin. Relatively mild operating conditions were tested, namely, temperatures of 70–110 °C and autogenous pressure. A factorial experimental design was developed using the Design-Expert® software, and three factors (temperature, time, and acetone concentration) were investigated. It was found that temperature-induced fractionation could increase lignin homogeneity and maintain high lignin solubilization with a short processing time (<1 h). It was also possible to tune the properties of the soluble lignin fraction (yield and weight-average molecular weight) based on the factorial models developed. The techno-economic evaluation confirmed the commercial viability of this fractionation process.