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A new lignin source for high-value products

Lignin structure
Lignin structure

NARA is optimizing a conversion process that converts the carbohydrates in woody biomass into bio-jet fuel and other chemical products. Depending on the tree species, up to 60% of the dry weight of wood is carbohydrates. That leaves the remaining 40% of the woody biomass as a byproduct. In order to maximize the economic sustainability of a wood-to-biofuel industry, converting …more

Lignin to plastic opportunities

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Under the conditions evaluated by NARA to convert post-harvest forest residuals into biojet fuel, approximately two-thirds of the woody material is left over as a byproduct. This left over material is rich in lignin, a complex polymer molecule found in plant cell walls.

The USDA-NIFA, through the NARA grant, funds research to develop high-value chemicals and materials that can be made from the lignin-rich material left after the …more

NARA 2015 Annual Meeting

Participants at the 2015 NARA annual meeting held in Spokane , WA
Participants at the 2015 NARA annual meeting held in Spokane , WA

In mid September, NARA conducted its 2015 Annual Meeting in Spokane, WA. This meeting marked the conclusion of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance Project’s fourth year, and the launch of its last year under the contractual terms with the United …more

Harvesting valuable chemicals from fermented sugars

Volatile fatty acids identified in this article.
Volatile fatty acids identified in this article.

Fermentation is a biological process that can convert the simple sugars from wood and other cellulosic-based feedstocks into chemical products and represents a key step in the conversion processes evaluated by NARA to convert wood residuals into biojet fuel. Gevo Inc, a NARA member, relies on specialized yeast to …more

NARA’s 2014 Cumulative Report is available online

Webpage for NARA's 2nd Cumulative report
Webpage for NARA’s 2nd Cumulative report

NARA’s second Cumulative Report is now available online. This report describes research efforts and activities conducted between April 2013 through March 2014.

You can view the NARA Cumulative Report: April 2013-March 2014 here.

Progress reports are sectioned within the Project’s five goals: Sustainable Biojet, Value Lignin Co-Products, Rural …more

Co-product development: lignin-rich material to clean the atmosphere


Co-product Comparison


Researchers at Weyerhaeuser are finding ways to make valuable products from the lignin-rich material leftover after slash piles have been converted to biojet fuel. Finding commercial uses for this material is an essential part of producing economically competitive biojet fuel. One promising product generated from this lignin-rich material is activated carbon. Activated carbon is derived from any organic substance with high carbon content …more

Cosmo Specialty Fibers and CLH (Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos) join the NARA alliance

NARA is an alliance of universities, business and government laboratories. As the project matures, new opportunities and challenges are presented that warrant new expertise which can be provided by outside organizations. Bringing organizations into the NARA alliance requires approval from existing members and compliance with NARA’s non-disclosure, conflict of interest and intellectual property policies. In addition, each new member is assigned a specific scope of work within the NARA leadership team.

NARA welcomes the recent addition of two new business …more

Co-product development: lignin-based molecules for commercial epoxies

Based on current estimates, a bone-dry ton of forest residue can be converted to 59 gallons of isobutanol.  What remains is approximately 1450 dry pounds of “waste product”. (Tom Spink presentation at the Idaho Small Log Conference 2013). Approximately 37% of the “waste product” or more technically speaking “co-product residual” is lignin (550 dry pounds) with the remainder being processing acids, unreacted cellulose (polysaccharides), non-fermented sugars, extractives, bark, yeast, and wood ash. The most common commercial use …more