Due to the bio-degradable and water-soluble nature of the products, modified lignosulfonates (lignin) can often replace many conventional and harmful additives in production processes.
Lignin is an organic substance binding the cells, fibers and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements of plants. After cellulose, it is the most abundant renewable carbon source on Earth. Between 40 and 50 million tons per annum are produced worldwide mostly as a non-commercialized waste product.
It is not possible to define the precise structure of lignin as a chemical molecule. All lignins show a certain variation in their chemical composition. However, the definition common to all is a dendritic network polymer of phenyl propene basic units.
There are two principal categories of lignin: those which are sulfur-bearing and those which are sulfur-free. It is the sulfur-bearing lignins that have to date been commercialized. These include lignosulfonates and Kraft lignins.
As a natural and renewable raw material, obtainable at an affordable cost, lignin’s substitution potential extends to any products currently sourced from petrochemical substances.