LIGNOHTL: Transportation fuels from woody residues


 (c) Solantausta, VTT, Finnland

Liquid fuels from lignin through hydrothermal liquefaction and deoxygenation. Part 1: Optimization of hydrodeoxygenation and CLC processes

Lignin enriched residues from pulping industries and biorefineries are becoming more and more important. Their aromatic character make them ideally suited for use as fuels or platform chemicals. We try to convert lignins in a two-step process. We start with hydrothermal treatment of dissolved lignin from kraft pulping processes (black liquor). In a second hydrocracking step we want to make a product which is can be integrated in conventional fossil refienry streams.

Background and Objective

The permanent price increase and the shortage of fossil energy carriers such as oil and natural gas require the exploitation of new ressources for the production of renewable energy and chemicals based on biogenic and renewable feedstocks. A mainly unused source is black liquor from pulping processes. On a global basis approximately 70 Mio. t are produced annually and most of the organic components are burned for heat and chemicals recovery. The overall objective of the project is the conversion of black liquor. In a first step it is treated hydrothermally to concentrate the organic phase, which is hydrotreated or hydrothermally treated in a second step. The intermediate is then coprocessed at laboratory scale with petroleum-drived fractions.


The main objective of our research work is the optimization of two distinguishe process: (1) hydrocracking using catalysts previously developed at Leibniz Institute of Catalysis (LIKAT); (2) hydrothermal cleavage in hot compressed water analogous to the CLC process. For the research work a small autoclave will be purchased. For larger experiments a special Harshaw catalytic reactor is availble. We want to study the influence of essential parameters such as temperature, time, hydrogen pressure and catalyst type on the yield and composition of products. CLC experiemnts will be carried out in an existing laboratory mini plant without hydrogen as converison takes place on the surface of a special catalyst 

Our Research Questions

Is it possible to produce fuels and platform chemicals from black liquors from pulping industries?


Links and Downloads

The final report can be found here:

Final Report LignoHTL


Involved Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR)
    (national, öffentlich)