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Creating Advanced Graphene Material from Lignin

Photo of Graphene produced from lignin, a complex polymer commonly derived from wood. Zhiyong Cai, USDA Forest ServiceGraphene produced from lignin, a complex polymer commonly derived from wood. Zhiyong Cai, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Graphene materials are produced from carbon containing compounds by physical, thermal, or chemical process in either the gas, liquid, or solid phase. Forest Service scientists and their partners at Mississippi State University are working together to develop an innovative way of producing graphene from renewable lignin, a byproduct of the paper making process.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Cai, Zhiyong 
Research Location : Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI; Mississippi State University
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 442


Graphene materials attract significant attention due to their potential applications in transistors, conductors, batteries, catalysts, and biosensors. Various materials have been used to produce graphene, however applications for use are limited due to its high cost. There are an estimated 50 million tons of lignin available from pulping processes world-wide every year. Most of the lignin is burned onsite to provide energy. This research has developed a simple, cost-effective experimental process to produce graphene materials from the second most abundant polymer on Earth - lignin. The availability of a much larger quantity of lignin graphene at a much lower cost will have a huge impact on the development of lighter and stronger structural materials for the automobile, aerospace, and building industries.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Mississippi State University

Program Areas