New membrane-based concepts for ligno-cellulosic biorefineries: Status and challenges

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


Membrane processes have been identified as key separation processes for the transformation of the traditional paper and packaging orientated pulping industry to future lignocellulosic biorefineries.

This paper will provide an update on the status of pressure driven membrane processes in lignocellulosic biorefineries and the challenges ahead. The focus is on the integration of membrane processes in the three key pulping processes: thermo-mechanical pulping, kraft (sulphate) pulping and sulphite pulping. For each of the pulping processes membrane concepts to upgrade current processes to produce new products from side-streams will be presented and the challenges for integration of membranes will be discussed.

For thermo-mechanical pulping processes, the focus will be on the process water and the opportunity to purify and concentrate hemicelluloses from this stream by using a cascade of membrane processes consisting of microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF). Recovering hemicelluloses from this stream does not only reduce wastewater treatment costs but also provides an interesting raw material for packing and bio-chemical conversions.

In the kraft pulping process, the removal of lignin from the cooking chemicals by UF/NF opens not only the perspective to extend the capacity of kraft mills by increasing the reboiler capacity but provides a by-product which can be used to supply lignin-oil for e.g. renewable fuel production.

Finally, in the sulphite pulping process UF/NF can be utilised to recover hemicelluloses from sulphite streams at the pre-hydrolysis pulping stage. This does not only produce hemicelluloses as raw material for further processing but also upgrades sulphite streams for recycling to the process.
Period2020 Dec 72020 Dec 11
Event title12th International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

UKÄ subject classification

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Chemical Engineering

Free keywords

  • Membrane processes
  • Membrane applications
  • Biorefineries