Green Chemicals & Polymers

Scion is developing biorefinery processes to create new green chemicals and biopolymers from renewable resources and biomass wastes. A major focus of our research is on the use of lignocellulosic (woody) biomass.

We are developing functional chemicals used as additives for industrial polymer products (plastics, adhesives, coatings, fibre-composites) or for intermediaries used to make polymers for these materials.

Many challenges exist in producing consistent, functional chemicals from natural materials and biomass wastes.

These require development of novel approaches to extraction, fractionation and applying derivatisation chemistries to produce useful chemical products or intermediaries.

We are also developing ways of using green chemical processes and biotechnology for chemical and polymer production.

Processes such as aqueous chemistry, solid state/melt phase reactions, supercritical fluids or enzyme transformations are included in this activity for future clean processing options. 

Green chemicals

Lignin is one of the major constituents of wood and other lignocellulosic biomasses. It will generally be co-produced as a significant by-product in processes such as wood pulping or biofuels production.

Our research programmes are developing techniques to open up new possibilities for alternative uses for lignin as a raw material for various chemicals and polymers.

Similar approaches are being applied to other complex polyphenols such as tannins, a major component of pine bark. We have significant expertise in the utilisation of pine bark tannins in bio-based polymer and chemical products.

Some of this work is undertaken through the Biopolymer Network, a joint venture between three New Zealand research organisations: Scion, AgResearch and Crop & Food Research.


We specialise in deriving useful bio-polymers from naturally occurring, renewable resources, as an alternative to the petrochemical-based sources in common use.
Our focus is in industrial non-food and non-pharmaceutical applications.

We are developing technologies for the production, manufacturing and utilisation (processing, formulation and testing) of biopolymers as plastics, adhesives, coatings, foams, pulp/packaging, and fibre-composites.

In addition to utilising lignocellulosic and other biomasses, especially residues from food and agricultural processes, we also develop new polymer products from industrial wastes or recyclate streams.

Commercial opportunities

Opportunities exist for manufacturers to collaborate with Scion and exploit our expertise in chemical and polymer technologies.