Stora Enso [NASDAQ Helsinki-STERV] today announced that its pilot facility for producing bio-based carbon materials from lignin has started operations. This follows the company’s EUR 10 million investment announced in 2019. Pilot production of Lignode® by Stora Enso, wood-based carbon for batteries, is currently being ramped up. Applications include electric vehicles and consumer electronics as well as large-scale energy storage systems.
The global battery market is projected to grow tenfold over the next decade as battery producers seek more sustainable materials for the electrification of mobility. Since sustainability is becoming a top priority for the automotive industry, car manufacturers and battery producers are focusing heavily on reducing carbon emissions in electric cars.
Today, fossil-based carbon is used in the anodes of rechargeable batteries. By converting lignin separated from wood into carbon-based anode materials, the synthetic and non-renewable graphite material can be replaced.
“With our pilot plant now ramping up operations, Stora Enso is entering a new value chain in supplying more sustainable anode materials for batteries. With Lignode, we can provide a bio-based, cost-competitive and high-performance material to replace the conventionally used graphite. To serve the fast-growing anode materials market, we are now exploring strategic partnerships to accelerate scale-up and commercialisation in Europe,” says Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.
The pilot plant for bio-based carbon materials is located at Stora Enso’s Sunila production site in Finland, where lignin has been industrially produced since 2015. The biorefinery’s annual lignin production capacity is 50 000 tonnes, making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world.