Research area of Biomass Science and Technology – University of Copenhagen

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Research area

Biomass Structure and Function

A key area within biomass research is biomass characterisation. The aim of the characterisation is to understand the three-dimensional structure of the biomass matrix (e.g. straw or wood) on the nano- and micro-scale before and during different types of processing.

 The core questions of our research are:

  • What are the relations between structure and function within biomass
  • How do mechanics, physics and chemistry together determine the processivity of lignocellulose?
  • How is enzymatic degradation and interaction with water linked to the organization of the cell wall polymers and to porosity?
  • How can we use and combine various microscopic and spectroscopic techniques and computational chemistry to study biomass structure and chemistry in situ?

Biorefineries

The fundamental aspect of the biorefinery concept is the sustainable use of biomass for production of a variety of products and services.

Biorefining is one or a cluster of processes that converts biomass into a spectrum of products such as chemicals, food, feed, materials and not at least energy products (heat, power and liquid transportation fuels e.g. bioethanol). We are looking at how the current use of biomass can be expanded to produce other valuable products.

The central research questions are:

  • How can the production of bioenergy be expanded with new biomass derived products in an integrated process in a biorefinery?
  • What is the best utilisation of biomass?

As part of the research we participate in the international network IEA Bioenergy Task 42 – Biorefineries.

Research in Wood (biomass technology)

The research is focused on wood properties and utilization, attempting to link forest management practice to wood quality and sustainable use of the forest resources.

The questions in focus are:

  • How does silvicultural practice link to wood quality in terms of strength, durability and stability?
  • Which wood species and what part of a tree should be selected for a particular use?
  • How do we minimize the negative effect of weathering and biological degradation of wood?
  • How should we treat wood to maintain aesthetics and a long service life?
  • Understanding the fundamentals of bonding between wood and polymers.
  • Study new environmentally friendly coatings and adhesives for wood and other biomass composites.
  • How cellulose nanofibers and whiskers and other bio-materials with improved properties can be made using relatively environmentally friendly methods.

The research is conducted in collaboration with partners present in WSE (The Nordic-Baltic Network in Wood Materials Science and Technology).