LignoTech Florida begins production of lignin sulfonates

LignoTech Florida’s new lignin plant in Fernandina Beach was officially opened on 26th June. The $110 million investment represents a production capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes of lignin, measured as dry substance. In a planned second phase, the capacity can later be expanded by 50,000 tonnes. The plant has been in test operation for some time, and the facility is now producing saleable lignin. At the time of the opening ceremony 600 tonnes had been delivered to US customers in June.

Lignosulfonates, or sulfonated lignin, are water-soluble anionic polyelectrolyte polymers. They are byproducts from the production of wood pulp using sulfite pulping, and have a wide variety of applications. They are used as plasticizers in making concrete, for production of cement and plasterboard, in oil drilling mud, in tanning leather, and to disperse pesticides, dyes and other insoluble solids and liquids into water. Oxidation of lignosulfonates from softwood trees produced vanillin (artificial vanilla flavour), and dimethyl sulfide and dimethyl sulfoxide (an important organic solvent) are produced from lignosulfonates.

LignoTech Florida is owned by Borregaard (55%) and Rayonier Advanced Materials (45%), and employs 51 persons in Fernandina Beach.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to finish the construction of the new plant on time and within the estimated cost budget, and we are confident that the facility has the targeted capabilities,” says Per A. Sørlie, President and CEO of Borregaard.