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Ionic liquid-based pulping (ILS and DES)

Contact us to hear more about our capabilities for biomass modification in ionic liquids!

VTT’s expertise in fibre treatment, pulping technology, enzymes, ionic liquids (ILs), analytics and our versatile laboratory equipment has been combined in:

  1. Pilot scale IL treatment of plant biomass
  2. Integrated IL and enzyme treatments of carbohydrates
  3. Advanced analytics of IL-treated materials

ILs can dissolve biomass as such or selected biomass components. ILs hold promise of helping in several challenges, including enlarging the raw material basis, introducing new pulping and pulp refining technologies, and the regeneration of cellulose. 

Contact us to hear more about our capabilities for biomass modification in ionic liquids!

In Metsä Fibre’s assignment, hemicelluloses were extracted from the paper grade pulp using ILs. VTT solved the treatment procedure of the pulp at semi-pilot scale and chose appropriate equipment to process the pulp and high viscose ILs. The final product had similar properties to that made at laboratory scale.

Ionic liquids in biomass valorization – from laboratory scale to piloting

VTT has a long experience in fibre treatments and pulping technology – this expertise allows us to combine different conventional treatment steps and a large battery of fibre analyses with IL pulping and IL technology in fibre treatments for specialty applications. As a speciality expertise, VTT has studied the use of enzymes together with ILs for different modifications of cellulosic materials, e.g. in enzymatic hydrolysis. Currently, deep eutectic solvents (DES), a solvent class closely related to ILs, are being studied at VTT for use as biomass solvents and in lignocellulose fractionation and modification.

VTT is well networked nationally and internationally in fibre modifications in ionic liquids

VTT has both experts in fibre and pulping technology, as well as versatile laboratory and piloting equipment so as to be able to perform treatments with novel solvents. VTT has collaborated with several international groups working with lignocellulose and fibre modifications in ILs. Cooperation with Finnish research partners is carried out on a routine basis, and especially the work done in the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster’s (FiBiC) research programmes has paved the road for highly networked research activities on a broad basis. The IL competence at VTT has been of interest for the Finnish forest industry companies as well as international biomaterial companies both as co-funded projects within the FiBiC activities as well as in direct contract research at VTT. 

The ionic liquid competences at VTT can be applied in new fibre products, biomass fractionation, enzymatic reactions and biomass pre-treatment prior to enzymatic total hydrolysis for biofuel and –chemical production.