Kraft Lignin: A Valuable, Sustainable Resource, Opportunities and Challenges

ChemSusChem. 2023 Dec 7;16(23):e202300492. doi: 10.1002/cssc.202300492. Epub 2023 Sep 7.


Kraft lignin, a by-product from the production of pulp, is currently incinerated in the recovery boiler during the chemical recovery cycle, generating valuable bioenergy and recycling inorganic chemicals to the pulping process operation. Removing lignin from the black liquor or its gasification lowers the recovery boiler load enabling increased pulp production. During the past ten years, lignin separation technologies have emerged and the interest of the research community to valorize this underutilized resource has been invigorated. The aim of this Review is to give (1) a dedicated overview of the kraft process with a focus on the lignin, (2) an overview of applications that are being developed, and (3) a techno-economic and life cycle asseeements of value chains from black liquor to different products. Overall, it is anticipated that this effort will inspire further work for developing and using kraft lignin as a commodity raw material for new applications undeniably promoting pivotal global sustainability concerns.

Keywords: biofuels biomaterials; kraft lignin; lignin recovery; pulping.

Publication types

  • Review