Based on technology of the Forest Research Institute, the plant will be operated by a consortium consisting of seven companies, including Ligno Materia (Shinjuku, Tokyo, President Zenji Miura). A method was developed for extracting lignin using polyethylene glycol (PEG) and acid. As a result, “glycol lignin” in which PEG is bound to lignin is produced. Modified lignin refers to this glycol lignin. The advantage is that the binding of PEG makes it easier to process by heat and the stability after processing is also high. In addition, by using Japanese conifer trees (Sugi), which have a uniform lignin composition, it is believed that the problematic composition variation can be eliminated. According to experts, the annual consumption of plastics in Japan is about 10 million tons, while the annual production capacity of modified lignin calculated from the growth of sugi forests in Japan is more than 2 million tons.
Nikkei Biotech news release, July 1, 2021