University of Malaga Researchers Collaborate with AST to Develop New Lignin-Based Products

AST to send multiple shipments of its Organosolv lignin for continued product development efforts

Wausau, Wis. – American Science and Technology (AST), a sustainable technology company, has teamed up with TERMA Group, a team of Waste and Environmental Technology researchers at the University of Malaga, in Spain, to continue efforts on the development of new lignin-based products.

Led by professors Tomás Cordero Alcántara and José Rodríguez Mirasol, TERMA Group has been working exclusively on lignocellulosic biomass materials to obtain value added materials. The promising findings from their initial efforts led to the partnership with American Science and Technology (AST), who will supply TERMA Group with multiple shipments of Organosolv lignin to further advance their product development activities.

TERMA Group will use AST’s Organosolv lignin to prepare porous carbon materials in different structures or conformations (powder, nanofibers, monoliths) to use them as adsorbents or as catalysts in different applications (polluted stream treatment, reactions within the framework of a biorefinery, biofuels, electrodes for supercapacitor devices, etc.).

“Although Organosolv lignin is nothing new, it was only after the recent scale up of AST’s biorefinery pilot plant (located in Wausau, WI) that this material became available in mass quantities for various research and product development efforts” said Dr. Ali Manesh, President of AST.  “And as one of the only companies that can produce pure lignin from the Organosolv process in large quantities, we feel it is our obligation to provide this product to the research communities and give them the opportunity to play a key role in the worldwide effort to valorize this second most abundant natural polymer.”

Currently, AST’s Organosolv lignin is being used by several research teams at various universities, including University of Washington, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Washington State University, for various research projects. The team at University of Wisconsin-Platteville successfully coextruded AST’s Organosolv lignin with other polymers to create new resins that were then used to produce polymeric parts via injection molding.

American Science and Technology is a full service shared piloting facility available to industry, and is dedicated to helping our clients develop innovative biorefinery and chemical technologies to convert lignocellulosic biomass into high-value, bio-based chemicals and products.  The AST facility operates from laboratory level to multi-ton scale and is equipped with a wide range of material handling and biomass processing equipment to provide a unique opportunity for collaboration to accelerate the advancement of the bio-based economy. During the past 10 years, AST scientists and engineers have also developed a patented Organosolv pulping process that has shown to increase the efficiency and profitability of pulp and paper production by converting virtually all of the incoming lignocellulosic biomass to high-value products. AST’s Organosolv pulp not only produces quality pulp, but also produces pure lignin and organic solvents, such as butyl acetate and furfural.

TERMA group, from the University of Málaga, has been involved on studies related to the conversion of different biomass waste by thermochemical processes (pyrolysis and gasification, catalysed or not) for the production of bio-gas, bio-liquids or bio-solids (activated carbons and chars) at laboratory and pilot plant scale. The group also has extensive experience in the synthesis of nanoporous carbons with different structures and morphologies that have been successfully used as adsorbents for the treatment of gas and liquid polluted streams and as catalysts in the conversion of bioalcohols to olefins, in the framework of biorefineries, and as catalyst supports in fine chemicals production and in partial oxidation of hydrocarbons. The group has also led research on the use of electrospinning/electrospray techniques for the preparation of carbon-derived submicron fibers (solid and hollow) and on the synthesis of hierarchical porous carbons.