WWSC spin-off Proligreen wants to advance the application of lignin

There is interest in using lignin for material applications due to its aromatic structures, and it is foreseen to substitute fossil-based aromatic precursors, but one big challenge is that the available technical lignins are heterogeneous and still poorly characterized. This is something that the new WWSC spin-off company Proligreen, founded by Prof. Martin Lawoko and his PhD student Maria Karlsson wants to change.
Martin Lawoko Maria Karlsson Proligreen

The technology that Proligreen is based on produces high-quality lignin that can be user-customized, thanks to the flexibility of the process, giving homogeneous and well-characterized lignins. 

“I´m happy that something that started as fundamental research now has the potential to contribute towards a sustainable future. Obtaining a high value of several polymers from biomass is both promising and important for the transformation into a future bio-based society” says Maria Karlsson.

The process and technology are operated to minimize the chemical reactions leading to molecular heterogeneity through physical protection strategies.  No wonder the founders have dubbed the process “the Flexible Physical Protection (FPP)” process. It adopts the principle of physical protection, which means that the lignin molecules are physically protected from reactions that lead to changes in their structure. These changes would often affect the quality of the lignin negatively since they lead to both molecular heterogeneities and poorly understood structural outcomes. Chemical protection strategies have been used in other studies, but this means addition of another chemical that is often non-sustainable, to the system.

“It is indeed exciting with research-based solutions that have true potential to contribute to the sustainability goals. We do expect new challenges but are committed to address them. You can’t go wrong with well-characterized and user-customized lignin if you can make them available in large scale”, Martin Lawoko.

Martin Lawoko stresses the importance of the role that Maria Karlsson has had in the journey from taking fundamental research to a start-up company.

“Many thanks to Maria for the achievements in her research. It has been challenging but her resilience and patience has yielded results and I am very happy to continue to support her in the future efforts”, says Martin Lawoko.

More on Proligreen can be found on the website www.Proligreen.com.