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28-29 April: Back to Fundamentals - Fibre, Water & Interactions

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

The FinnCERES Scientific Seminar 2022 Back to Fundamentals - Fibre, Water & Interactions will explore the full potential of bio-based raw materials. This year we will focus on how to fully harness the inherent properties of all the lignocellulosic fractions to develop new bio-based and bio-inspired materials.

We will look at the importance of water interactions as a fundamental structural component in bio-based materials. We are also highlighting alternative raw materials to ensure sustainability and overall resource sufficiency of our material solutions.

The seminar will be organized as a hybrid event in Dipoli, Otaniemi as well as virtually in Zoom. Please note that online participation is open for everyone and free of charge, while on-site participation is only by invitation.

We will organize a poster session for young researchers from the FinnCERES community and the Boreal Alliance network.


Wednesday 27 April

Invited speaker's dinner

Thursday 28 April

9.00 Morning coffee

9.30 Welcoming words

Session 1: Unexpected features of cellulose, chair: Orlando Rojas


Orlando Rojas, University of British Columbia / Aalto University The paradoxes of tree biorefineries

Professor Orlando Rojas is the Director of Bioproducts Institute and Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. He is also an adjunct professor at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at Aalto University. Nanomaterials, colloids and surfaces form the basis of his multidisciplinary approach to understanding the fundamental principles involved in design, manufacture and performance of bio-based systems. His Bio-Based Colloids and Materials group strives to learn the science and engineering of processes involving biopolymers from plants and animals and the development of advanced materials from renewable resources.

10.15-10.45 Andreas Fall, Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)

CNF: a particle and a polymer – the influence of production on its properties

Andreas Fall is a senior researcher with expertise in colloidal interactions and orientation of nanocellulose particles. He is an expert on how these particles interact with other nanoparticles and surfaces, how to design processes to produce optimized grades of nanocellulose, and how to produce nanocellulose-based materials such as films, foams and filaments.

10.45-11.15 Jaana Vapaavuori, Aalto University Towards plant-based carbon-negative functional materials for emerging and established applications

Jaana Vapaavuori (Department of Chemistry and Materials Science, Aalto University) received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 2013. She leads Multifunctional Materials Design Group, established in 2019. She has received multiple recognitions, such as Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (Canada), the Young Researcher of the Year 2020 award of Finnish Foundation of Technology Promotion, ERC Starting grant of European Research Council, and she is also leader of a Nordic Network beyond e-Textiles. Her research interests involve developing new designed materials for light-controllable nanostructures, liquid crystals, multifunctional porous materials, biomaterial-based light management layers for photovoltaics and sustainable material solutions for electrochemical devices.




Session 2: Cell wall structure and bioinspiration, chair: Eero Kontturi

12.45-13.00 Eero Kontturi, Aalto University Bottom-up construction of rod-like xylan nanocrystals

Prof. Eero Kontturi has been heading a research group called Materials Chemistry of Cellulose at Aalto University (Finland) since 2014. He has a Ph.D. degree from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and has worked as an academic visitor in UPMC Paris (France), University of Vienna (Austria), and Imperial College London (UK). His research interest lie broadly within interfacial phenomena occurring in plant-based materials. More specifically, this includes new preparation and modification routes for cellulose and hemicellulose nanoparticles, cellulose/water interactions, cellulose degradation, and developing functional materials based on physico-chemical understanding of plant-based components.

13.00-13.30 Paul Dupree, University of Cambridge Probing and altering the molecular architecture of lignocellulose

Paul Dupree is Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He studies the structure and assembly of polysaccharides in the plant cell wall, to understand their function in plant biology. He is also interested in engineering or modification of plant cell walls with enzymes to understand the relationship between structure and properties. He has proposed models for the arrangement of polymers in hardwoods, softwoods and grasses. He believes understanding the molecular interactions in lignocellulose will unlock new applications from materials and bioenergy to dietary fibre.

13.30-14.00 Markus Linder, Aalto University Phase transitions in biomolecular assembly

Professor Markus Linder leads the Biomolecular Materials research group in the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University and is the director of the recently funded LIBER Center of Excellence. The Biomolecular Materials group seeks to understand and utilize biological design strategies for materials. In particular, they try to understand and mimic how high-performance materials function in nature, starting from the molecular level, and explore how the molecular structure and interactions result in different materials properties. Proteins are especially interesting for this because detailed molecular engineering of their structure is now possible.

14.00-14.30 Markus Antonietti, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces Nanocellulose, Nanolignin, and Gum Finlandic: a sustainable Future for Colloid Chemistry

Professor Markus Antonietti is the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. He has received a number of awards for his scientific merits. He has received several highly cited researcher recognitions in the fields of chemistry and material science. His H-index is nearly 200. His research interests include chemical colloids, porous polymers and carbons, synthesis of novel polymers and sol-gel materials, catalysts for green chemistry and carbon negative chemistry cycles, energy catalysis, and artificial photosynthesis and photocatalysis. In recent years, he has been increasingly active in the field of sustainability, raw material change and green material science.


Coffee break


Session 3: Water as a structural element in materials engineering, chair: Tekla Tammelin

15.30-16.00 Tekla Tammelin, VTT Technical Research Center Finland Designing materials by exploiting water interactions

Tekla Tammelin is a research professor in biomaterials engineering at VTT, a FinnCERES PI and a docent in bioproduct technology at Aalto University. Her research promotes innovative concepts from lignocellulose aiming at future breakthroughs, including bio-based membranes for water/solvent filtration, immobilization templates for living cells, vapour responsive materials, hybridized nanolaminates and patterned optical structures. Her expertise encompasses the development of bio-based materials, especially nanocellulose and hemicelluloses, towards applications via understanding the structure-function relationships and the decisive role of interfaces.

16.00-16.30 Frank Lipnizki, University of Lund Application potential of membrane processes in the concept of lignocellulose biorefineries

Prof. Frank Lipnizki was Vice-President of the European Membrane Society in 2019/2021 and is currently heading the Annex “Membranes in Biorefineries” by IETS – a collaboration program of the International Energy Agency (IEA). His main research focuses on the integration and optimisation of separation process in particular membrane processes in the food, biotech, pulp and paper industry as well as water and wastewater treatment plus fouling and cleaning of membranes. Prof. Frank Lipnizki has authored over 50 publications in reviewed journal and books and gave more than 100 presentations at international conferences and workshops on membrane technology.

16.30-17.00 Sergey Kosourov, University of Turku Engineering biofilm architecture for efficient light utilization

Dr. Sergey Kosourov has started his research carrier as a junior researcher in the Institute of Basic Biological Problems RAS in 1998. In 2000, he received Ph.D. in plant physiology from Moscow State University. Later, Sergey worked as a postdoctoral fellow and a research associate at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory DOE U.S.A. and as a senior and a leading researcher in the Institute of Basic Biological Problems RAS. In 2013, he joined the Molecular Plant Biology team at the University of Turku. Dr. Kosourov's current research is focused on the development of thin-layer photosynthetic cell factories for efficient biological carbon capture and sustainable production of biofuels and high-value products. He is also an expert in H2 metabolism in green algae and cyanobacteria, and in photobiological H2 production.

17.00-17.15 Mari Granström, Origin by Ocean Creating value from environmental problem

Mari Granström is the founder of Origin by Ocean, urban activist, passionate environmentalist and organic chemist all in one package. Mari believes in the power of doing rather than talking: If there's a will there is a way. Origin by Ocean develops biorefinery technology based on the marine biomass and address the eutrophication problem of the oceans. Their values lie deep in the oceans and with their actions, they want to bring back the natural balance of the marine ecosystem


17.15-18.30 Posters and refreshments



Friday 29 April

8.30 Morning coffee

Session 4: Unlocking the potential for lignin valorization, chair: Monika Österberg

9.00-9.30 Monika Österberg, Aalto University Controlling lignin interactions – from lignin nanoparticles to biocomposites

Professor Monika Österberg is a leading scientist in the colloidal lignin particle field. She has a polymer and surface chemistry education and over 15 years of experience in lignocellulosic nanoparticle research. Prof. Österberg is Head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at the School of Chemical Engineering, Aalto University, leading the Bioproducts Chemistry research group advancing lignin valorization with a focus on lignin nanoparticles, lignocellulosic nanomaterials, and surface functionalization and understanding surface interactions. In addition, she is co-research PI of the FinnCERES Competence Centre for Materials Bioeconomy, jointly formed with Aalto and VTT Research Centre of Finland. Her research aims to enhance the sustainable use of natural resources, with research interests in fundamental interfacial phenomena of forest biomaterials like lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses, and the development of new materials from these polymers. Shehasover 130 scientific publications in the field.

9.30-10.00 Scott Renneckar, University of British Columbia Solution or melt: Spinning fibers from kraft lignin and its derivatives

Scott Renneckar is a Professor in the Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia where he does research and teaching around sustainable biobased materials. He earned his PhD and BSc degrees from Virginia Tech (USA) in Wood Science, along with a MSc in Wood Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He moved to UBC in 2014, after serving as a professor at Virginia Tech for 9 years. He leads a dynamic team of researchers working on projects of lignin and heteropolysaccharide valorization, biomass fractionation, and nanocomposites. Scott is recognized as a Canada Research Chair in Advanced Renewable Materials contributing to bioproducts research at UBC as theme-lead for UBC’s Bioproducts Institute. Currently, he serves as Chair of the Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division of the American Chemical Society. He serves as the Program Director for the Forest Bioeconomy Sciences and Technology (BEST) degree in the Faculty of Forestry.

10.00-10.30 Mika Sipponen, Stockholm University High-consistency colloidal lignin dispersions – a potential game changer for bio-based materials

Assistant Professor Mika H. Sipponen leads the Sustainable Materials Chemistry (SUSMATCHEM) research group at the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK) in Stockholm University. He obtained his M.Sc. (Tech.) degree in 2010 and D.Sc. (Tech.) degree in 2015, both from Aalto University in the subject area of Chemical Technology. Sipponen is an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher grantee (2016), two-time Outstanding Reviewer of the RSC journal Green Chemistry (2018, 2021), and recipient of the Nouryon Nordic Prize in surface and colloid science (2020). He currently supervises three PhD Students and mentors one Postdoctoral Fellow and one Researcher. He has worked on topics related to lignin chemistry and biomass processing since 2008, embracing industrially aligned applied research with keen interest in fundamental phenomena. Sipponen has published 55 original research articles (h-index 25), served as expert evaluator in several European projects, and contributed as reviewer to > 40 scientific journals. His current research programme focuses on the development of lignin‐based functional materials, including their structure, properties, and performance.

10.30-10.45 Hanne Wikberg, Fortum Development steps in commercialization of organosolv lignin

Hanne Wikberg currently works at Fortum in Bio2X program doing business-oriented R&D regarding productization of biomass components cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin to novel bio-products. She is experienced bioeconomy expert with extensive knowledge especially on lignin: RDI, technology development and up-scaling as well as lignin productization and commercialization for high value bio-based products.


10.45-11.00 Break


Session 5: Sustainability & raw material aspects, chair: John Kettle, Luke

11.00-11.30 Eveliina Asikainen & Marita Hiipakka, Tampere University of Applied Sciences What are the key sustainability competences for a (bio)materials scientist?

Eveliina Asikainen and Marita Hiipakka are teaching professionals in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Eveliina’s expertise is in the field of sustainable development, environmental policy, urban gardening and sustainable cities. Marita’s fields of expertise include materials science, biochemistry, molecular biology, biochemical engineering and recycling.

In their talk, they will focus on sustainable material solutions as an essential part of the ecological transition: (Bio)material scientists are one of the key groups of professionals in developing sustainable solutions in all fields of future (or rather present) societies. But what kind of competencies are needed to be able to develop sustainable solutions and to communicate these solutions to industries, users, politicians – to the whole society? This also leads to asking: How is sustainability framed and scaled in particular cases? In our talk, we offer some answers, but also ask questions. Hopefully they give you tools to reconsider your position and practices. That is part of sustainability competences.

11.30-12.00 Kristiina Lång, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) Opportunities for new products and climate change mitigation in the land-use sector by biomass production in croplands

Kristiina Lång is a research professor of agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation from Natural Resources Institute Finland. She studies ways of improving sustainability of land use in agriculture. She is especially keen on finding ways to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions of cultivated peat soils by developing value chains involving biomass production in rewetted peat soils.

12.00-12.15 Dario Forneris, Nordic Bioproducts Group Enabling alternative biomass feedstock to complement virgin pulp in a novel Biorefinery concept for fibre products, textiles and bio-based polymers

Dario Forneris is the Business Design and Sustainability Lead at Nordic Bioproducts Group, a start-up with its roots at Aalto University.

In Nordic Bioproducts Group, Dario is developing circular business concepts with design thinking and eco-design toolkits. He is working constantly to build a design-driven culture within the company’s R&D team and to define innovative methodologies during product development.

12.15 Closing words Tekla Tammelin, Monika Österberg




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