A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 15, 2014
“You can make anything out of lignin, except money”

Lignin is a complex polymer derived from wood. Lignin can be used to make many products—at great cost, however. Science has attempted new solutions to bring the cost of lignin down so that its products can be comercially viable.

“You can make anything you want out of lignin...except money” was cited in print in 2007 and is a frequently heard joke in the scientific community.

Wikipedia: Lignin
Lignin or lignen is a complex polymer of aromatic alcohols known as monolignols. It is most commonly derived from wood, and is an integral part of the secondary cell walls of plants and some algae. Lignin was first mentioned in 1813 by the Swiss botanist A. P. de Candolle, who described it as a fibrous, tasteless material, insoluble in water and alcohol but soluble in weak alkaline solutions, and which can be precipitated from solution using acid. He named the substance “lignine”, which is derived from the Latin word lignum, meaning wood. It is one of the most abundant organic polymers on Earth, exceeded only by cellulose. Lignin constitutes 30% of non-fossil organic carbon and a quarter to a third of the dry mass of wood.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (U.S. Departent of Energy)
Top Value-Added Chemicals from Biomass
Volume II—Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Biorefinery Lignin

October 2007
Pg. 5:
There appears to be an entrenched myth in industry that “you can make anything you want out of lignin...except money.” We hope to help identify the technical barriers that need to be overcome to make lignin usage economically viable and thereby dispel this myth.

Pushing the envelope
By Graeme Rodden, Executive Editor, Pulp & Paper International magazine
BRUSSELS, June 30, 2009 (Viewpoint) - It’s been said that anything can be made from lignin except money. However, the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal (Université de Montreal) is working to change that perception.

Google Groups: Forestry-Focus Public
Cellulosic ethanol may be a game-changer for Canada’s forestry sector
Al Bradley
Cellulosic ethanol may be a game-changer for Canada’s forestry sector
By Lynn Moore, Canwest News ServiceJuly 10, 2009
Paul Stuart, Université de Montréal professor and researcher, spends much of his time considering the “life cycle” of Canada’s forestry industry.
If lignin was used as a fuel, replacing natural gas, “it could be worth about $150 per tonne but if you were using it (to replace a petroleum-based chemical) it could be worth about $1,000 or $1,200 per tonne,” Mr. Fairbank estimated.

Progress in this new frontier is slow-moving. Although there are pilot plants producing cellulosic ethanol, not one drop of commercial scale fuel-grade cellulosic ethanol has been produced.

And the industry quip about lignin, according to Mr. Stuart, is “you can make anything from lignin except money.”

Msg 37108 of 37883 at 7/14/2009 10:39:18 PM by biggestbison
Re: “you can make anything from lignin except money”
Actually, high grade lignin sells for about as much as coal. In fact, the BTU firing point is almost as high. Very basic science.

Matthew Hartings
“You can make anything from lignin except money”. Excellent piece by @carmendrahl on some fantastic new chemistry http://bit.ly/ei7g52
8:36 AM - 25 Apr 2011

10 MegaVitaVegeTrends for Mega-Efficient Biofuels
Jim Lane | July 15, 2014
3. What do you do with all that lignin?
“You can make anything out of lignin, except money,” goes the old saying. It’s a huge component of biomass, yet most technologies can’t break it down or use it.

As we wrote in “The Siege of Ligningrad“: “It’s a fantastically complex set of polymers that give wood and plants their structural strength. The trouble is that lignin is built of complex set of polymers, and in turn those polymers are made of monomers with bonds that are fantastically tough to break.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Tuesday, July 15, 2014 • Permalink