Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-04-01 - 2032-03-31

This project investigates different usage modes of plant-derived antioxidants, such as tocopherol derivatives or polyphenols, from various biorefinery scenarios. A focus lies on lipophilic plant extractives on one side, and tannins (gallotannins and ellagitannins) on the other side. The antioxidants will be tested first as stabilizers in the Lyocell process (cellulose fiber manufacture), where they are supposed to limit homolytic and hetrolytic side reactions, especially the autocatalytic degradation of the solvent N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide, while at the same time limiting the generation of strong chromophores.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-03-01 - 2024-02-29

Replacing fossil raw materials with renewable, biobased alternatives or promoting the development of renewable raw material sources are cornerstones of the Austrian Bioeconomy Strategy 2030. Aquatic plants (macrophytes) offer hitherto untapped potential for this. Climatically induced changes, as well as eutrophication of water bodies, lead to an increase in aquatic plant populations in Vienna and its surroundings. This can be seen, among other things, in the increasing weed growth in the Old and New Danube. To ensure ecological quality and recreational activities, the removal of these water plants is inevitable. Investigations by the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) at the Tulln site showed that valuable special papers, as well as biobased and highly compacted board materials, can be produced from this biomass. For this purpose, a fiber material is used that is obtained from the aquatic plants by a pulping process. However, aquatic plants also have a high content of proteins and soluble biopolymers, which can be used for the production of adhesives. Furthermore, extractives from aquatic plants have antioxidant properties and can thus be incorporated into smart packaging materials. In this follow-up project, BOKU, together with the Federal Environment Agency, will investigate the cascaded use of water plants. The aim is to develop an ecological and economic concept for the use of water plant components in different material applications.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-03-01 - 2030-02-28

“Green chemistry” is a current buzzword. Nevertheless, the need for more and better green processes in the chemical industries and the biorefinery and cellulose value chains is undebated today and the ongoing transition from a fossil-based into a renewables-based society is out of the question. Green chemistry means much more than just starting from renewable resources – although this is an important prerequisite. A green chemical process considers all related process characteristics, such as yields, solvents, energy fluxes, auxiliaries, recyclability, byproducts, environmental and ecological aspects, and often the insufficiency with regard to these criteria deteriorates the sustainability of allegedly green chemical approaches. The cellulose-based pulp and paper industry as a prime example of biorefinery, as well as major parts of the textile industry, and many follow-up industries which are based on cellulose (and nowadays lignin) have the advantage that they use renewable starting materials (biomass) already. With the increasing focus on sustainability issues, the green process aspects gain more and more importance in these industries, and science has to address the related fundamental questions so that truly green chemical processes and products become more and more dominant in these industries. The surge of interest in green chemistry from the academic viewpoint thus goes hand in hand with the industrial demand for green chemical processes and products – actually, a win-win scenario. Taking advantage of this favorable general background and the specific advantages stemming from 25 years of research activities around the chemistry of renewable resources and biorefinery at BOKU – and in particular cellulose and lignin chemistry – the “CD Laboratory for Cellulose High-Tech Materials” will address current scientific challenges in this field of cellulose chemistry together with its four industrial partners: • Supercritical CO2 methods in separation, analysis, purification, and derivatization of cellulose and biorefinery products. • Combination of cellulose and renewable starting materials with modern, sustainable modification methods to avoid the need for greenwashing of products and processes. • Advanced understanding of degradation and aging of biomass and cellulose processing components as the basis of minimizing side reactions during processing, extending the lifecycles, and improving the recyclability of products. • Advanced molecular-level characterization of (surface)modified biomass/cellulose components for a better understanding of structure-property-application relationships. • Chemistry of cellulose, derivatization, swelling and dissolution behavior, reactivity, stability, molecular-level analysis and characterization, functional group and MW profiling, degradation behavior and mechanisms, cellulose model compounds, chromophore chemistry. The work is planned to be conducted on four topics, each one roughly coinciding with the field and interests of one of the four industrial partners: • Topic 1: Strengthening strategies for cellulose-based filter products • Topic 2: Stabilizing lyocell dopes for safe and efficient cellulose fiber production • Topic 3: Cellulose derivatives and biomass-based non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPUs) as binders • Topic 4: Environmentally benign textile dyeing

Supervised Theses and Dissertations