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UPM Biochemicals signs kraft lignin supply deal with Domtar Paper

Finland-headed forest industry major UPM and the US-based pulp and paper producer Domtar Paper Company LLC (Domtar) have signed an agreement for UPM to acquire the total annual kraft lignin production of Domtar’s Plymouth Mill in North Carolina (NC) as of January 2021. This step enables UPM to expand its role in the growing lignin business and different application segments.

UPM BioPiva lignin and the resin technology related to its use are supplied to many of the biggest resin producers worldwide. The core of UPM’s lignin expertise lies in the capability to provide customer-specific solutions for a variety of lignin applications as the same solution or quality does not work for all applications.
“In ten years, lignin-based phenolic resins will be the new normal on a global level. The phenolic resin industry alone can absorb close to one million tonnes of lignin,” said Christian Hübsch Director, Lignin Business at UPM Biochemicals (photo courtesy Janne Lehtinen / UPM).

Following the agreement, UPM will increase its supply of kraft lignin by more than 20 000 tonnes annually. Part of the supply will be used to complement the existing UPM “BioPiva” product family.

Domtar is excited to partner with UPM to provide sustainable alternatives to fossil-based products, Steve Henry, Domtar’s VP of Strategy and Business Analysis said.

Kraft lignin products such as UPM BioPiva are used as a renewable alternative to fossil-based products in a growing range of applications, such as lignin-based phenolic resins. They offer high technical performance, with a considerably improved environmental footprint.

UPM lignin products will be sold globally through UPM’s sales network and are supported by strong technical expertise.

We are very pleased to have agreed on this new supply agreement with Domtar. It enables us to expand our lignin business in the growing biochemicals market before the start-up of our biorefinery in Leuna, Germany, said Juuso Konttinen, VP UPM Biochemicals.

UPM is currently building an industrial scale biochemicals refinery in Leuna, Germany, to produce biobased Monoethylene Glycol (BioMEG), Monopropylene Glycol (BioMPG), and industrial sugars as well as renewable functional fillers and lignin from sustainably sourced hardwood.

These additional volumes of kraft lignin and the increased security of supply will enable us to serve our customers even better. The demand for sustainable kraft lignin solutions has been increasing steadily and customers value our strong sustainability credentials and proven technical expertise, said Christian Hübsch, Director, Lignin Business at UPM Biochemicals.

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