Globally, lignin is handled as a waste in the scale of hundreds of tons annually. A small fraction of this is re-used, e.g. for chemicals. Lignin Industries (LI), a Swedish SME, produces lignin composites for various industries and is aiming to enter the consumer electronics sector. This is a high-volume, high-value market for LI. Bio-plastic are often more expensive than petroleum-based plastics, partly due to the fact that the processes for producing bio-based plastics are relatively new. One way to overcome this is by increasing the value proposition of bioplastics, as proposed here.
RISE has developed a method for smart polymer composites that requires ten times less of added graphene than the state-of-the-art. Composites prepared by this method changes its electrical conductivity under mechanical stress, making them potentially ‘smart’ by sensing touch/pressure or bending.
In this project we will evaluate using thermoplastic lignin-based composites from LI as smart bio-based polymers for use in consumer electronics. The main concept here is to replace petroleum-based plastics used in consumer electronics casings, with lignin-composites, while making it competitive in terms of material performance with RISE’s method of utilizing graphene for value-added ‘smart’ properties.
RISE-Research Institutes of Sweden and Lignin Industries.
Budget and time plan
The project’s total budget is 600 000 SEK and the projects runs during six months – between November 2021 and April 2022.