Deep Eutectic Solvents in the Paper Industry

The European project cluster aims to approach 80% CO2 emission reduction in the lignocellulose processing chain, compared to the current chain based on kraft pulping by the application of Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs).


  • To develop a radically new, sustainable and technoeconomically feasible pulping technology for lignocellulose raw materials based on DESs.
  • Via DES: to isolate lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose at low temperature and atmospheric pressure for further processing into materials and chemicals with a high added value.

What are Deep Eutetic Solvents?

DESs are composed of two or more components, at least one Hydrogen Bond Donor (HBD) and one Hydrogen Bond Acceptor (HBA), interacting with each other by self-associating forming an eutectic mixture with a melting temperature far below that of its constituents.

The potential of DES to promote mild wood delignification has attracted attention for almost a decade. Delignification requires both lignin depolymerization and dissolution. The DES delignification mechanism is depicted below, and described in more detail in this folder: download.

CO2 emission reduction
The DES delignification mechanism

Expected Impact

  • Approaching 80% CO2 emission reduction in the chain
  • Reducing by at least 40% in process energy intensity due to lower process temperature and pressure
  • Reducing by 50% of investment costs
  • Strengthening market position of current wood-based products


Extreme progress made in delignification:

  • Fast, complete, efficient and severe delignification.
  • Side reactions, including (hemi)cellulose degradation.
  • Insight in delignification mechanism.
  • Several reactions take place simultaneously.
  • Many buttons to control: DES functionalities, temperature, time, water, acidity.
  • In the coming period focus lays on optimization.
  • Development of recovery process progresses well.
  • Proof of principle for lignin recovery.
  • Technologies for hemicelluloses and extractables are being developed.
CO2 emission reduction

More information

Read the interview of Boelo Schuur in the Fluids Processing magazine here.
For other relevant news, please scroll down or contact Agata van Oosten.

Grant provider

Sustainable development goals

This project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project partners

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