Lignin Extraction Solvent and Process


Executive Summary


This MSU technology was developed to remove lignin from woody biomass in order to simplify further downstream processing of the purified cellulose and hemicellulose. This innovation is particularly relevant to those in the sugar and biofuel industries who already utilize woody biomass and are seeking to either reduce operating costs or build a new pretreatment facility having the benefits of ammonia-based processing for less than the cost of ammonia-based processes.


Description of Technology


Our researches sought to improve the lignin extraction process when compared to many ammonia-based methods widely used today. Their novel solvent system improves on current processes by allowing lower operating pressures and temperatures, increasing solvent recovery, and eliminating toxic byproducts. Furthermore, this novel solvent system is less corrosive than ammonia which in turn allows for cheaper reactor materials to be used, ultimately reducing necessary capital costs.


Key Benefits

  • Cheaper reactor materials
  • Lower operating temperatures and pressures
  • Less toxic than ammonia-based process
  • High solvent recovery



  • Hydrolysis pretreatment
  • Sugar production
  • Biofuel production


Patent Status: 


Patent pending.


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available.


Inventors: James Jackson, Mikhail Redko, Christopher Saffron, Leo LaCivita


Tech ID: TEC2018-0054


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University