, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 293–304 | Cite as

Preparation of cellulose nanocrystals from lignin-rich reject material for oil emulsification in an aqueous environment

  • Jonna Ojala
  • Juho A. Sirviö
  • Henrikki Liimatainen
Original Paper


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) with amphiphilic features were used in oil drop stabilization in diesel oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion. The functionalized CNCs were synthesized from a lignin-rich reject cellulose source from the pulp and paper industry, i.e., the non-bleached fines fractions of carton pulp. Partial periodate-chlorite oxidation, which was followed by reductive butylamination, was used to obtain surface-modified amphiphilic CNCs. All studied CNCs prevented droplet coalescence by stabilizing oil droplets in the emulsion thus resulting in stable o/w Pickering-like emulsions. CNCs from the fines fractions at concentrations 0.05–0.1% (weight by weight, w/w) provided high stability against creaming (i.e., phase separation), and they did not de-emulsify at low temperatures since the oil droplet size remained small at + 5 °C at a 0.05% (w/w) CNC concentration. Salinity improved the stability against creaming with the reference chemical pulp CNC, but negatively affected the emulsion creaming rate for CNCs that had a higher level of lignin. However, the non-bleached fines fraction of the pulp may provide one potential and cost-effective raw material source for the development of a novel bio-based chemical.


Nanocellulose Reject fiber fines Cellulose nanocrystals Oil in water emulsion Bio-based dispersant Lignin 



This study was funded by the Academy of Finland (283187). The support of the Ahti Pekkala Foundation and the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. The contribution of Mr. Mikael Karjalainen in the raw material characterization and the experience of Dr. Ilkka Miinalainen in TEM measurements are also much appreciated. We thank Neste Oyj Finland for providing the marine diesel oil sample for the experiments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Oulu, Fibre and Particle EngineeringOuluFinland

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