PureHemp's CCR-derived Lignin and Sugar Co-products
The three primary components of hemp stalks are cellulose (50%), lignin (20%) and hemicellulose (20%), making up about 90% by weight of the stalks. When hemp stalks are processed in the CCR, a solid cellulose-rich pulp is produced along with a liquid stream. The liquid stream contains most of the lignin and over 90% of the hemicellulosic sugars which are further processed by first removing the lignin, leaving the xylose sugar. PureHemp has an exclusive worldwide license to convert the CCR-derived xylose sugar into xylitol, known as the “healthy sugar” used in many products including toothpaste, mouthwash and sweeteners.
Removing lignin from hemp stalks is key to manufacturing high-quality pulp for making paper products. Lignin removal occurs continuously in a four-minute process inside the CCR as biomass advances downstream and most of the lignin becomes liquified. The CCR Technology produces a low molecular weight lignin, which is more suitable for being formulated into a wide variety of products compared to conventionally manufactured Kraft or soda lignin from the existing pulp and paper industry. This highly reactive and lower molecular weight CCR lignin has many advantages over Kraft lignin as it is more reactive and therefore valuable to manufacture products including adhesives, plastics, chemicals and fuels.
In all biomass, the hemicellulose fibers are thin chains of 5-carbon molecules that grow in all directions around the thicker and more robust 6-carbon cellulose fibers. Within the CCR under various processing conditions, controlled amounts of the hemicellulose solids are converted into xylose sugar that, like the lignin, change direction within the CCR and is washed out within minutes. Once the lignin is removed from the CCR liquid stream, what remains is the xylose sugar fraction. The xylose is further refined in another post-CCR unit operation into a fermentable xylose sugar, which becomes the raw material used to manufacture xylitol and a wide variety of other consumer and industrial products including toothpaste, mouthwash and sweeteners.