Fully automatic filter press in lignin production

How AQUACHEM filter presses help to overcome complex challenges in lignin production


AQUACHEM's fully automated filter press enables Chempolis to produce significant quantities of lignin from a range of sustainable sources and for various applications. 


About the customer Chempolis


Chempolis Biorefining Park in Oulu, Finland, is a leading provider of innovative biorefinery technologies for the energy, biofuel, oil, paper and chemical industries. The refinery acts as Chempolis' main innovation centre, where comprehensive testing services are also offered to customers and partners.


Chempolis' formico® technologies enable the sustainable production of bioethanol, dissolving wood pulp, cellulose sugar, biochemicals and sulphur-free lignin from various lignocellulosic raw materials. These processes can be adapted for the use of hardwood and softwood. Non-wood and non-food biomass such as straw, bagasse, corn stover, EFB (empty fruit bunches) and bamboo can also be utilized. 



Der Hauptsitz von Chempolis befindet sich in Oulu, Finnland, 200 Kilometer südlich des Polarkreises.

Chempolis is headquartered in Oulu, Finland, 200 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.



Introduction to lignin as a raw material


Lignin itself is a complex organic polymer extracted from plant cell walls. Dealing with lignin and its purification and dewatering can be quite complex. However, Chempolis has developed a unique process that takes into account the value of both fractions - the solid and the liquid. To achieve this, thorough research was carried out in collaboration with our partner Roxia and numerous filtration trials were undertaken. The main objective was to develop an automatic filtration process that included cake washing. In addition, the separation of different filtrate streams for downstream processes was an essential part of the objective.


The collaboration began in September 2020 and continued through several filtration projects, the rental of test equipment and process development appointments. This all led to the installation of an AQUACHEM/Roxia test filter at the Chempolis site in Oulu in 2022.


Automatische Filtration mit Hilfe der Roxia Smart Filter Press mit 10 Kammern und einem Filtervolumen von 86 Litern
Automatic filtration using the Roxia Smart Filter Press with 10 chambers and a filter volume of 86 litres



Installation and results


Roxia and AQUACHEM's adaptable approach allowed flexibility to make multiple changes to the feedstock throughout the process development. Thanks to the close collaboration and shared goals, we were able to overcome obstacles and find an optimal solution for Chempolis' filtration requirements - the fully automated filter press from AQUACHEM. Automatic operation, effective cake washing, compliance with European safety regulations and an innovative design perfectly matched Chempolis' requirements. Our commitment to safety, European manufacturing and clean, compact design made our filter press the obvious choice.


The newly implemented system includes a fully automatic filter press with 10 chambers and a filter volume of 86 litres. This improvement enables Chempolis to produce significant quantities of lignin from a range of sustainable sources and for various applications.


Fertig produziertes Lignin aus nachhaltigen Quellen mit Hilfe von Filterpresse.

Finished lignin produced from sustainable sources using a filter press.



Long-term cooperation between Chempolis and Roxia/AQUACHEM


Chempolis has successfully mastered the processing of lignin. Chempolis relies on Roxia's continuous support in optimizing its processes, supplying necessary spare parts and offering tailor-made filter cloths to improve filtration performance.


"The collaboration with Roxia and AQUACHEM experts, their extensive knowledge and seamless teamwork have played a crucial role in overcoming obstacles and achieving remarkable success in lignin processing," explains Keijo Hytönen, General Manager at the Chempolis site in Oulu. 


Subsequently, the collaboration can be cited as a prime example of successfully and jointly overcoming complex challenges in biorefining processes. This in turn paves the way for sustainable solutions in the filtration and production of lignin.

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