AbstractThe primary aim of modern biorefineries is the efficient conversion of lignocellulosic materials into valuable products. Sugars and oils can be converted into valuable chemicals, but processing of lignin is still a challenge. A vast amount of lignin is incinerated to produce process steam and energy, and only a very small part is used for the production of value-added products. Technical lignins are isolated as by-streams in lignocellulosic refineries, e.g., as kraft, soda, organosolv, and hydrolysis lignins, as well as lignosulphonates. They have a modified structure and contain impurities that are dependent on the processing method. The structure and the composition of technical lignins restrict their subsequent applications. This paper reviews limiting factors in utilization of technical lignins. Four major classes of problems are identified, and approaches to overcoming these problems are suggested.