FinnCERES launches the second Novel Openings call for Aalto and VTT researchers to stimulate the renewal of science in FinnCERES. Four major topics are targeted within the call, three of which are based on current challenges faced by the industry, as indicated by our industrial co-creation members:
1. (Bio)degradation and recyclability of bio-based polymers or bioproducts: Relevant phenomena in ocean and land environments; variables; rate-controlling pathways and methods to control them; bioactivity; microorganisms and enzymatic activities; testing methods; recyclability and methods to increase recyclability; bio-based alternatives for commodity polymers (e.g. in water treatment, oil and gas, mining).
2. Carbon materials and biochars: Uses of forest resources and derived materials for CO2 or toxic gas capture; sustainable fertilizers from engineered biocarbons; uses in water and land remediation; slow release and fertilization
3. Disruptive methods to enhance the strength of fibers and fiber structures: New bonding or crosslinking pathways; control of interactions with fibers (for example, with water for improved mechanical properties, barrier and/or functional properties)
In addition to the challenges originating from the industry, we are looking for proposals to:
4. Biocomposite solutions: Cutting-edge research proposals addressing the field of biocomposites. The proposals should elucidate how special properties (e.g. mechanical performance, water response, optical properties) of lignocellulosic building blocks are utilized in biocomposite engineering, and how the biobased bricks are innovatively hybridized with inorganic constituents, synthetic polymers or with other biopolymers. Instead of simple blending of various compounds, approaches that take into account the interfacial tailoring and natural compatibility via smart architecture are considered. In addition, recycling and/or biodegradability aspects should be considered.