Biomass Science and Technology – University of Copenhagen

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Biomass Science and Technology

Increased utilization of biomass in our society is essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

Our aim is to contribute to the development of biomass knowledge and technologies for the sustainable utilization of biomass for materials, chemicals, and bioenergy. 

Biomass Science and Technology

The research group Biomass Science and Technologys research is focused on both fundamental and applied aspects of the sustainable utilization of biomass for materials, chemicals and bioenergy.

This includes a fundamental understanding of the chemistry and physical properties of the plant cell wall and how it interacts with external factors (e.g. biological agents, chemicals, catalysts and water) during processing or use. It also includes studies of molecular level interactions between plant cell wall polymers and enzymes, water and chemical reagents, as well as  attention to sustainability aspects as technologies are transferred from laboratory scale to industrial scale biomass utilization and its potential impact on land use, forestry and agriculture.

Advanced biofuels and materials

On the applied side of our research you will find large scale biochemical conversion of biomass to advanced biofuels (bioethanol and marine shipping fuels), the use of enzymes for processing of waste to energy and the production of nano-materials from biopolymers. Work on cellulosic fiber plastic composites has started, both from a basic and applied perspective.

Degradation mechanisms in wood

Decomposition of wood cell walls is an essential theme in such diverse areas as wood construction, biorefining, conversion of woody biomass in Nature and preservation of archaeological wood. Within the topic of wood degredation we seek to obtain a better understanding of degradation mechanisms in wood, especially how these are influenced by water, from biophysical studies of physical and chemical effects of degradation in wood cell walls. The aim of our work is to improve knowledge and methods for preventing fungal degradation in wood constructions and for boosting plant biomass decomposition for efficient biorefining.

Major research projects

  • ENACT - Enzymes and electrons at work; dual processing of carbohydrates and lignin producing prebiotic oligosaccharides and bioactive lignins (Innovations Fonden, 2018 - 2020). Contact: Claus Felby
  • HOPE - Harnessing the oxidative power of enzymes (NovoNordisk Foundation, Grant number NNF17SA0027704, 2017-2022). Contact: Katja Salomon Johansen
  • Harnessing the Energy of the Sun for Biomass Conversion (Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme, NovoNordisk Foundation, 2017-2019). Contact: Claus Felby
  • Extreme resolution Raman-AFM bioimaging of wood under decay - learning wood preservation from trees (Villum Fonden, 2016-2019) Contact: Lisbeth Thygesen.
  • Alcohol based process for wood furfurylation (Oslofjordfondet, 2017-2020). Contact: Lisbeth Thygesen.
  • Demonstration of 2G ethanol production in full scale. Collaboration between KU, DTU, Novozymes and Maarbjerg Energy Center, about optimizing 2G bioethanol production. (2016-2019) Contact: Sune Tjalfe Thomsen.
  • MainCoat: New innovative coating system for maintenance and renovation of exterior wood. (Innovation Fund Denmark, 2017-2019). Contact: Emil Engelund Thybring.
  • The role of water in plant cell wall decomposition: from biorefining to wood protection. (Villum Fonden postdoc-programme, 2015-2017). Contact: Emil Engelund Thybring.
  • The threat of wood degrading fungi to Greenland’s cultural heritage (The Carlsberg Foundation, 2015-2018). Contact: Nanna Bjerregaard Pedersen.
  • The structure and interaction of silica in plant cell walls. (The Danish Council for Independent Research, 2015-2017). Contact: Yohanna Cabrera Orozco.
  • Centre for Development and Implementation of Biotechnology for Bioenergy (Bio4Bio)
  • Kalundborg Cellulosic Ethanol Project (KACELLE)International network IEA Bioenergy Task 39 and 42
  • High Gravity Hydrolysis and Fermentation of  Lignocellulosic Material for Production of Biofuels
  • Wood-polymer composites for use in marine environments
  • Superior Biobased Coating System for Exterior Wood Applications
  • Increasing the Biomass Resource, its Quality and Sustainability (BIORESOURCE)
  • A unique technique, combined with smart structural design to develop a new class of biobased fibre composite material - Villum Foundation

Members of the research group

PhD students