RenCom AB, a Swedish innovation company with a patented material and process for the production of a new, degradable biomaterial, is investing in an extrusion system from Coperion to further its lignin-based technology.
The investment follows the earlier support provided by the Swedish Energy Agency, which has granted SEK 14 million to RenCom for the construction of a 1000 t/pa demonstration unit that will produce RenCom’s lignin-based Renol product at an industrially relevant scale. The facility is scheduled to be up and running in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Lignin is a by-product from the pulp- and paper industry and is one of the main components of wood, responsible for its brown colour. Currently, around 98% of the 80 million tonnes of lignin processed by the industry is burnt.
RenCom has found a way to combine lignin and other biobased ingredients into renewable and functional Renol bio-granulates. These can be added to thermoplastics such as ABS, PE, PLA, PP and more, replacing up to 50% of the original resin. It can be processed directly in existing production infrastructure without any modifications to machines or methods.
RenCom has worked extensively with Coperion at the extrusion expert’s test lab in Stuttgart, Germany, in order to develop a technology to produce these bio-granulates.
Coperion has now designed a complete extrusion system comprised of a ZSK co-rotating twin screw extruder, gravimetric feeders, a strand pelletising system, a lignin bag dump station and a big bag station, which will be delivered to RenCom in October. Thanks to the deeply cut screw flights, thermal stress on the raw material is very low for gentle processing. The ZS-B side feeder enables fillers and additives to be added to the process section as required.
According to RenCom, Renol has been tested by several partners in the plastics industry. The company is looking forward to seeing products containing Renol on the market as early as the beginning of 2021.