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HELSINKI: July 19, 2019. Stora Enso is investing €10 million to build a pilot facility for producing bio-based carbon materials based on lignin – one of the main building blocks of a tree.

Construction of the pilot facility will begin at the company’s Sunila Mill in Finland (pictured) before the end of 2019 for completion by early 2021. The company plans to test the feasibility of processing lignin into hard carbon anode materials with properties similar to graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries.

Stora Enso FinlandWood-based carbon can be used as a component in lithium-ion batteries, currently deployed in mobile phones, power tools, electric vehicles, in industrial applications and in stationary energy storage and grid units.

“This investment is another step on our transformation journey to explore new ways to replace fossil-based, scarce and high-cost materials with renewable alternatives. Using wood-based lignin for technical carbon material offers an exciting opportunity,” said Markus Mannström, EVP of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.

“With the pilot facility we will continue to build on our long-term work in extracting lignin from biomass to create more value from it. We will target the rapidly growing battery market in which companies are looking for high-quality, attractively priced and sustainable materials,” he added.

Stora Enso has been producing lignin industrially at its Sunila Mill in Finland since 2015. The mill’s annual production capacity is 50,000 tonnes - making the company the largest kraft lignin producer in the world.

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