FLIPPR° - Future Lignin and Pulp Processing

In this K-Project Future Lignin and Pulp Processing Research - FLIPPR, the efforts are focused on establishing structural know-how to make more efficient use of both major raw material streams of the industry - cellulose and lignin. The single projects focus on applications in the pulp and paper value chain but also in areas outside the classical product chain. The respective expertise in pulp manufacturing (kraft, sulphite and mechanical pulping processes), paper production (wood free and mechanical graphic papers, packing papers), process technology, analytical chemistry, pulp and paper chemistry, fibre and paper physics, coating technology, organic synthesis, enzymes and biotechnological strategies of the participating scientific and company partners complement each other ideally.

Activities at the Institute for Paper, Pulp and Fibre Technology

Project 1.3: Pigment Coatings for Paper

By enzymatic activation of lignosulfonates from sulfite spent liquor in the presence of low-molecular weight phenolic molecules a renewable, at least partial replacement for petroleum based emulsion polymers like styrene butadiene or styrene acrylic latices used in paper and board coating formulations is to be developed in the first phase of the project. In the second project phase also the potential of other industrial lignins (kraft lignin, mechanical pulping lignin) from the other company partners will be assessed together with novel sources for the low MW phenolic co-substrates.

This project is closely linked to Project 1.4 "Lignin decolorization, hydrogenation and bleaching", as the brownish color is to be reduced by decolorization of lignin prior to enzymatic activation.

A further possible application of the enzymatically activated lignins is as starch or polymer replacement e.g. in size press applications for packaging papers, where on the one hand the brownish colour is no major obstacle and where standard lignosulfonates or other industrial lignins already have been applied with some success.

Project 2.1: Fibre and Fines Platform

The fibre platform coordinates the research groups in the interdisciplinary sub-projects and organizes area-meetings.

The project also serves as the analysis center for Area 2 concerning fiber and fines characterization and pulp and paper testing. Samples from the projects within the area will be provided for examination in this project. They can be physically, chemically and enzymatically modified and represent the whole pulp or just fractions of the primary pulp sources. The samples will be characterized using standard pulp and paper testing methods and advanced methods developed and established in recent years or to be developed within this project (e.g. morphological fines characterization).

Another main objective within this project is the investigation of industrial applicability of certain products and methods developed in the other sub-projects within this research area. Properties of interest for the four primary pulp sources and final products can be for example improved drainage, higher strength, increased opacity, etc. If samples or methods show a beneficial effect in the lab-scale, possible industrial application will be discussed with the partners and eventual trials will be scientifically supported within this project.

Project 2.2: Pulp/Fines Fractionation

The main purpose of the project "Pulp Fibre Fractionation" is the fractionation of pulp samples and fine fractions of pulps in the lab scale based on already available standard equipment and based on methodology partly described in the literature and to be developed within this project. Furthermore the fractions will be provided to the other sub-projects within the Area Fibres for further characterisation and modification.

Besides the mere experimental task of preparation of pulp fractions for further evaluation of the respective fractions and their physical, chemical and enzymatic modification, the Institute for Process and Particle Engineering at Graz University of Technology (third party) will evaluate different methodologies for pulp fibre fractionation experimentally in the lab-scale, as well as based on computer simulations and models. Geometries and process parameters will be varied to achieve a better understanding for the optimal application areas of different fractionation technologies, their scalability, and their future potential for industrial application.

Project 2.3: Physical Fibre Modification

The main objective in this project is fractionated mechanical treatment of pulp with a focus towards

  • energy consumption

  • tensile strength - dewatering relationship

  • strength development - densification relationship

Fractionated refining might be a way to decrease the energy needed to reach certain pulp properties.

Separate refining of fractions varying in coarseness, length and fines content depending on the properties of the fractions and their response to the refining process, shall offer the possibility to design the properties of the final mixture appropriately to achieve improvements in terms of the above mentioned relationships.

Another focus within this project will be enzymatically modified pulp samples and fractions provided by our scientific partners in project 2.4. Enzymatic treatment reduces the refining resistance considerably due to degradation of cellulose chains and thereby weakening of the fibre structure. Modified pulp samples from project 2.4 will be tested in this project for their technological impact in terms of the above mentioned relationships.


Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Wolfgang Bauer

Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Rene Eckhart

Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Wolfgang Johann Fischer

Dipl.- Ing. Samir Kopacic, BSc. (Project 1.3 Pigment Coatings for Paper)

Dipl.-Ing. Melanie Mayr, BSc. (Project 2.1 Fibre and Fines Platform)

Dipl.-Ing. Lukas Jagiello, BSc. (Project 2.2 Pulp/Fines Fractionation)

Rafael Giner Tovar, MSc (Project 2.3 Physical Fibre Modification)

Project Partners

Sappi Gratkorn-Produktions GmbH, Mondi Frantschach GmbH, Norske Skog Bruck GmbH, Zellstoff Pöls AG, Papierholz Austria, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna