27 November 2012 09:18 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Lignin could become the main renewable aromatic resource for the chemical industry as early as 2015 as the direct substitution of phenol in most of its industrial applications, said Frost & Sullivan on Tuesday.
"The industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of lignin's potential. It is the only renewable source for industrial aromatics production and is de-correlated from the fluctuating price of oil,” said Nicolas Smolarski, consultant, Frost & Sullivan.
Developing technologies now allow the extraction of high-purity lignin which can be converted into various high-value chemicals and products, such as benzene, toluene, xylene (BTX), phenol, vanillin or carbon fibre, the company said in a statement.
Smolarski explained that lignin could replace phenols in an existing petrochemical process or be processed further to create polymer building blocks.
"The petrochemical industry holds by far the highest capacity to accelerate the emergence of lignin-based chemicals. Being the first mover on this market can assure technology leadership, strategic partnerships and a competitive edge,” added Smolarski.
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