COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Ligninis projected to reach US$ 993 million by 2025, driven by the growing focus among countries worldwide to migrate to a circular economy that will help achieve a more sustainable and resource efficient future for coming generations. The scenario is throwing open the opportunity to identify, quantify, and prioritize strategic circular-economy opportunities. This gives lignin the opportunity to compete with petrochemical feedstocks. Lignin refers to a group of complex polymers of aromatic alcohols known as monolignols. Most commonly derived from wood, Lignin forms the integral part of secondary cell walls of vascular plants and some types of algae such as red alga. Globally, about 1.2 million metric tons of lignin is produced every year and the compound is used in a plethora of niche, low volume applications, where importance is given to the form but not the quality. While lignin is produced from fresh wood and plant sources, the same can be sourced from paper manufacturing plants, where lignin is produced as a by-product and is usually discarded as industrial waste. Lignin has wider relevance in manufacture of macromolecules, which are used in bio-refineries and biofuel production processes and bitumen/asphalt modification applications. Similarly lignin also has considerable relevance in aromatics such as vanillin, phenols, and BTX, among others. The emerging bio-economy is pushing up the commercial value of lignin based products. Organosolv Lignin, especially, is gaining new significance as biofuel production grows supported by favorable policies. Demand for Lignin expected is witness robust growth in bioplastics, biomedical and adhesives applications. Also, innovations in valorization processes will catapult lignin as a major feedstock for myriad high-value chemicals. Lignin-derived advanced carbon materials are expected to find breakthrough uses in lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells in the coming years. Increasing demand for superior animal protein, as well increase in production of livestock is increasing the demand for healthy and natural feed additives for animal nutrition. This provides an opportunity for lignin given its ability to improve animal diet from early stages by providing high-fiber content for providing energy so as to fight infections. Massive size of the animal feed market globally offers huge potential for growth. Additionally, lignin is utilized in pesticides and insecticides for controlling production of weed and reducing microbial attack. Organic attributes of lignin, along with its ample availability and economic feasibility are also expected to increase the demand for the product. Programs such as VTT`s LigniOx project that aims to bring forward a simple and cost-efficient method to make lignin-based concrete plasticizers; and LIBRE project, which seeks to propagate lignin as a highly viable raw material in carbon fiber manufacturing, will play a pivotal role in future growth of the market.Lignosulfonates, a type of soluble lignin polymers that are extremely versatile and find use in an array of industrial applications, constitute the major product segment in the lignin market. While these polymers are generally associated with surface stabilization and dust control of roads, they are used as emulsifiers, binders, sequestrants and dispersants in a range of products such as animal feed pellets, gypsum board, and micronutrient systems.