Platform 1: Functional Materials

Project 1 – Cellulosic fibre and non-woven materials for high performance applications

  • The structure and composition of paper and cellulosic fibre non-woven materials is engineered for high performance applications including air filtration
  • Multi-layer structure and surface chemistry to optimise capture efficiency is developed. Applications of special interest include household, industrial and underground mining vehicles, for existing and future markets
  • Paper coated with formulations of nanocellulose/nanoparticle/polymer formulations is developed as high flux/low cost membrane for water filtration applications
  • The molecular weight cut-off and anti-fouling characteristics for liquid filtration is controlled through the coating structure and chemical composition

Latest update on this project

Project 2 – Super-hydrophobic and super-oleophilic paper for liquid and food packaging

  • Develop super-hydrophobic coating on paper and board surfaces using micro and nano fillers of precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) and Titanium dioxide (TiO2), alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) and alkyl succinic acid anhydrate (ASA)4
  • Investigate the anti-wetting performance of board, which is required to withstand the hydraulic pressure of the liquid it contains; and the controlled wetting performance, which is needed for printing
  • Quantify and model the effect of hydrophobised particle surface coverage, size and shape on the forced wetting and the forced de-wetting under the critical conditions of packaging

Latest update on this project

Project 3 – Engineering specific barrier with coated paper

  • Part A: The development of selective gas barrier properties
  • Part B: The development of a nanocellulose coating for reverse osmosis membranes
  • Part C: The development of nanocellulose/nanoparticle composites

Project 5 – Novel biopolymer applications

  • Part A: Development of advanced characterisation techniques
  • Part B: Development of nanocellulose-polyelectrolyte complexes

Platform 2: Green Energy Solutions

Project 6 – Biorefinery opportunities in a Thermomechanical Pulping (TMP) mill

  • The thermomechanical pulping (TMP) refining process is investigated as high throughput and low cost biomass pre-treatment prior to fractionation in Project 8 or separation and purification in Project 9
  • Methods to recover the hemicellulose oligomers and resin/fatty acid extractives present in the process water is developed

Project 7 – Hydroxymethlyfurfural from cellulosics

  • HMF production and extraction is enhanced by combining the aqueous reaction phase with an organic extraction phase in a biphasic reactor system
  • Optimise the catalytic pre-treatment of pinewood to increase the recovery of hemicellulose and lignin

Latest update on this project

Project 8 – Green chemical separation and purification

  • Separate and purify green chemicals derived from cellulose/lignocellulose by distillation and membrane technology. Continuous processes is developed
  • Optimise catalytic process for improved selectivity and reaction rate
  • Separate, recover and purify green chemical and catalyst. Investigate the levoglucosenone and HMF platforms as models

Project 9 – Biomass gasification and modelling for energy and chemicals

  • Gasify the various biomass streams (plantation, pulp mill) and recycling rejects (plastic, fibres, sludge) – by fluidised bed into a tar-free syngas
  • Quantify the chemical composition and properties of the syngas for energy (combustion, cogeneration) and chemical synthesis
  • Reform catalytically the syngas into marketable chemicals including methanol, dimethylether and formaldehyde
  • Develop process model combining gasification and catalytic synthesis of chemicals

Project 10 – Chemicals from lignin

  • Explore different modes of catalytic lignin depolymerisation and oxidation. Various types of lignin are investigated
  • Investigate different types of lignin source oligomers as intermediate for adhesive, polymers and naptha replacement
  • Produce monomers for thermoprocessable lignin based polymers – linear lignin thermoplastic polymers for extrusion and compression moulding from depolymerisation