It almost looks like chocolate, but this is aerogel: solid, highly porous material with low density and low thermal conductivity. Still, the production of pure lignin aerogels is not possible. A team led by the Professor Irina Smirnova from the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TU HH) is closer to this goal but a great piece. The scientists used the lignin made book residual wood and wheat straw. Using five different gelling strategies then converting the lignins in aerogels.
One of the most successful approaches led to hybrid lignin polyurethane aerogels with density adjustable between 50 and 250 kg/m3. The mass-related content of lignin is 78 %, the procedure has been scaled up in the pilot. Insulation boards from this aero gel type reach a thermal conductivity of 24 mW/mK and significantly exceeded the insulating properties of polystyrene or Rockwool. And lignin-based resorcinol formaldehyde aerogels with surface area of 500 m2/g, and a wide range of adjustable properties are promising. Lignin-based, they are up to 70 %.
Two spin-offs in the future dedicated to the topic of lignin-based aerogels: BioMP brings together expertise in the field of hot water hydrolysis and production of lignin to the sampling and processing. Aerogelex manufactures various types of organic aerogels and offers lignin PU aero gel plates for industrial testing.