Digitization of lignin polyurethane development


Lignin, the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth, is considered a promising renewable aromatic macro-polyol to replace the conventional fossil-derived polyols used in polyurethanes (PU). Despite the long history of lignin-PU synthesis, several issues prevent the widespread integration of lignin in PU products: lack of low molecular weight lignin fractions suitable for PU products formulation, and the intrinsic complexity of designing lignin-based biopolymer systems. As a result, lignin integration in PU remains a time-consuming task based on lengthy trial-and-error approaches.

Digitalization tools are expected to speed-up PU systems design with respect to properties and processes. To do so, structure-property relations and process models must be developed from theory rather than extensive experimentation. The DigiLignin project addresses these challenges of lignin-based PU design by creating a model that could predict the structure-property relationships.