Research portfolio

             Ongoing investigations  |  Recent research projects


Ongoing investigations

Advanced cellulose to novel products (ACel). Funding period: 2014 - 2016. The research work in the UO will focus on investigation of new, economically viable chemical modifications for kraft cellulosic fibers to obtain thermoformable fiber network structures (board-like formable sheets). During months 1-6 following tasks will be conducted: i) State-of-the-art literature survey for chemical modifications to obtain thermoformable fiber network structures. ii) To investigate synthesis of bifunctional cellulose structures containing carboxyl acid groups and linear alkyl chains. These modifications will based on periodate-chlorite oxidations (cellulose swelling and decrease of hydrogen bonding and crystallinity) and reductive amination (hydrophobization and thermoformability). iii) use of environmentally friendly deep eutectic solvents as an additives (plasticizer) or as a pre-treatment method to increase formability of cellulose fibers iv) To address material properties of modified cellulosics. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Advanced oxidation processes in industrial wastewater treatment (AOPI). Funding period: 2012-2016. Wastewaters contain often organic solvents and degradation products which are harmful and toxic. This has led to stricter regulations related to wastewater. Therefore, efficient abatement methods are required. In addition, more information on long-term health effects should be developed. Project aims at studying advanced oxidation processes in the treatment of wastewaters from pharmaceutical and food industry. For these waters no economical and technically viable solution exists. The idea is to develop a hybrid process that uses first photocatalysis to decompose large organic molecules and then to mineralize the rest at higher temperatures and pressures. Focal task is to find a catalyst suitable for both reactions. Furthermore, economic, societal, environmental and health effects are evaluated. The efficient wastewater treatment is a step towards closing the water cycles in industry and to sustainable water use. The success of the project requires multidisciplinary approach. Prof. Ulla Lassi

Bilberry – towards functional food markets. Funding period: 2007 - 2015. The aim of the projects has been to understand the molecular and environmental factors (such as light) affecting berry development and biosynthesis of bioactive compounds in northern berry species. The gathered information and know how have been utilized for developing authenticity analyses for berry products to improve the possibilities for marketing and product development. These applications are important when considering the value of underutilized berry crops and competitiveness berry business in global markets. Prof. Hely Häggman

Biomass value chains - New chemicals, growth and business from biomass. European Commission seeks new economic growth, which strongly supports sustainable development and promotes towards the low carbon economy. Therefore, bio-based chemicals, e.g. building blocks for bioplastics, have been raised at the center of the 'Europe 2020' strategies. These biomass-based building blocks, monomers of bioplastics, offer huge market and growth potential since they can be used for partial replacement of fossil-oil based plastics. Further, from the competitiveness viewpoint of Finnish industry, biomass-based high-value end products should be preferred instead of energy use.

Lignocellulosic biomass is heterogeneous, and its processing is challenging. In principle, biomass is logistically expensive, and e.g. biofuel production suffers from high production costs and low value of end product. Therefore, more selective pretreatment procedures are required which enable chemical production of cleaner fractions and high-value end products, such as bioplastics monomers, such as polyols and functional organic acids. This value chain also enables a profitable new business in the rural areas from local biomass. By integrating chemical processes to existing energy production and industrial parks, cost-efficient solutions are possible to build.

Main stages of this project are: efficient and selective pretreatment of selected biomasses, characterization of biomass fractions in the different stages, preparation and characterization of catalysts, catalytic conversion of C5 and C6 sugars (cellulose and hemicellulose derivatives) and direct conversion of cellulose to high-value end products (monomers of bioplastics etc.), and results evaluation and reporting. Expected main results are: new knowledge on biomass pretreatment and catalytic conversion, new and innovative uses of lignocellulose derived sugars, and new technological solutions for the production of bioplastics monomers. Contact persons prof. Juha Tanskanen,, +358 29448 2340 (University of Oulu), prof. Osmo Hormi,,  + 358 50 4288 251 (University of Oulu), prof. Ulla Lassi,, +358 400 294 090 (University of Oulu), prof. Ari Pappinen,, +358 50 4382 527 (University of Eastern Finland), project manager Henna Lempiäinen,, +358 40 039 7430 (University of Jyväskylä, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius)

Energy and material efficient technology for the separation of valuable components from potato waste. Funding period: 2014-2015. In this project the goal is to prepare a novel process for commercial utilization. The process allows energy and material efficient concentration and recovery of active proteins from potato fruit juice and other potato residues. During the one year project final pilot runs are operated, and the pre-engineering of a demonstration facility will be prepared. Finally the business plan for commercialization is made based on market analysis. Contact person: Dr. Sanna Taskila.

High performance pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomasses for sustainable biorefinery value chains (PreBio). Funding period: 2015-2017. Renewable resources such as lignocellulose from wood biomass, straw and industrial by-products will be used to a large extent in the production of a wide range of future biochemicals, materials and fuels. From the Finnish industry and business competitiveness viewpoint, lignocellulose should be processed, into new high added-value products.Objectives of PREBIO project are to support the local companies in the field of biomass processing and to strengthen bioeconomy knowledge and research facilities of the University of Oulu by developing material and energy efficient pretreatment procedures for industrial biomass fractions. In particular, the aim is in producing pure fractions of local biomass, as well as in the new high value-added micro and nano- cellulose-based products. Three pretreatment and separation methods are developed and demonstrated. These methods can be integrated into existing large- scale industrial processes or they can be used for distributed biorefinery concepts in the smaller scale. Key measures in the project are: selection of potential biomasses, development of selective pretreatment processes, raw materials and products characterization studies, conversion of biomass to new high value-added products as well as techno-economic assessment analysis. The expected main results are: 1) a new, competitive concept for biomass selective pretreatment, 2) increased material efficiency to utilize local biomass and waste biomass from industry, 3) increased opportunities to local companies to improve material and energy efficiency (low carbon), 4) high value-added products and new production technology for the SME sector, which is also competitive in the international market and enables new business, and 5) new competence and new infrastructure for the University of Oulu in the field of bioeconomy research. Contact information: Prof. Ulla Lassi, Prof. Juha Tanskanen, Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen, Dr. Ari Ämmälä

Hydrodynamics in hydrolysis of lignocellulose. Funding period: 2012 – 2015. Project focuses on examination of hydrodynamics in high-consistency bioreactors and related influences on process efficiency. Enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose has been selected as specific case study. The objective is to develop methodologies for the monitoring and control of hydrodynamics, and the use of these for the improved hydrolysis efficiency.

Improvement of oil spill prevention with green chemicals (VIKE). Funding period: 2015 – 2018. The main purpose of this project is to produce novel green chemical oil spill response concepts based on natural polymers, cellulose and chitosan, in the sea near to the coast and harbors, and in the soil for example in storage areas. Cold and windy weather and ice contained water make the oil spill response demanding in the arctic conditions and it has created a growing need for the development of the response to oil spills in the arctic coast areas. Chemical methods in the oil spill response are usually effective for the oil spills that are spreading in the coast but used chemicals are mainly toxic. Thus, their use is not recommended. The Finnish know-how in the mechanical oil spill response in arctic conditions is wide ranged, but there are no chemical suppliers who could complement the mechanical response with novel biochemical. Anyhow, there is an international demand for bio-based chemicals since, for example Sweden and England have banned many used chemicals. The aim of this project is to produce non-toxic bio-chemicals which can be dispersing agents (break oil down the small droplets) or herding agents (thicken the thin oil slick sufficiently). In addition to, the purpose is to produce novel effective adsorption materials from cellulose and chitosan, which can be used immediately after the oil spill.

The target groups for novel oil spill chemicals are the authority of the oil spill response and commercial agents who transport and store in the harbors. VIKE- project improves the efficiency of the oil spill response and makes it more environmentally friendly in the harbors, sea routes close to the cities and storage areas. This project creates new concepts and establishes the Finnish know-how and competitiveness in the commercial activity in the arctic oil spill response. The effective green oil spill response chemicals are a new business area for the chemical manufacturer (small and medium-sized enterprises and big companies: forestry companies and special chemical companies), which confirms the Finnish know-how in the oil spill response and may also promote to the establishing of the competence center of the arctic oil spill response (Oulu has been one of the candidates in the location of the center). Produced chemicals in the project are bio-based and therefore environmentally friendly. Also, the production costs are competitive to present chemicals used. The combination chemical-mechanical response of oil spills creates more commercial potential to the manufacture of the method, who can promote the market for its concept and enable future development for arctic sea conditions. As a result, there will be a fast oil spill response method, which is based on the combined chemical-mechanical response that supports the development of arctic oil spill response know-how and enables business opportunities and competitiveness in the field.

The VIKE-project improves the safety of the arctic logistic activity near to the coast (sea routes close to the cities, harbors and storage areas). The new concepts increase the efficiency and ecology of the oil spill response. The project will create new concepts and endorse the Finnish know-how of oil spill response and business competitiveness. Contact information: Prof. Mirja Illikainen, Dr. Ossi Laitinen

Novel high-performance wood and cellulose biocomposites (BioComp). Funding period: 2015 – 2019. Biocomposite materials are mixtures of polymers and reinforcing fibres that result in tailored material characteristics such as the combination of good mechanical properties and low weight. A large variety of potential applications can be recognized from high-tech products to bulk consumables. Biocomposites promote the economically, environmentally and socially viable use of natural resources by increasing added value of the production chain, both in local and export markets. Due to the ever-increasing environmental awareness of consumers about limited natural resources and the risk of climate change, there is a continuously increasing demand for new high performance biocomposites for applications in packaging, construction, furniture, electronic appliances, biomedical materials, and the transport industry, for instance.

Novel high-performance wood and cellulose biocomposites FiDiPro research project is expected to lead to:

  • Development of new solutions for forest and biomass-based composite materials with enormous economic potential, yielding products with a performance equal to or better than those materials in use today.
  • Customer-oriented novel technologies for processing biocomposites with controlled morphology and properties to be used as high value export products for the Finnish bio-based industries.
  • Research excellence, and the strengthening of the academy-industry network for bio-based composite materials in Finland.
  • Resource efficiency by generating value-added products from the local wood waste and side-streams of the wood and cellulose-based industries.

Contact persons: Prof. Kristiina Oksman, Dr. Tuomas Stoor

Phase Stability Calculation and Equilibrium Measurements for Biorefinery. Funding period: 2011 – 2015. The aim of the project is to develop the calculation methods for the multiphase systems that are needed in the design of the biorefineries. The developed calculation methods are very important because there exists several phases at high temperature and pressure. The experimental part of the project produces phase equilibrium data.

Plasticized cellulosic composites for packaging materials (COMPAC). Funding period: 2014 – 2016. Wood containing composites have been successfully introduced to large variety of application like WPC (Wood Plastic Composites) panels. However, these materials still contain high amount of non-renewable raw materials despite the plastic substitution with e.g. PLA has shown good results. Furthermore WPC material production is made with plastic production equipments e.g. pelletizing and extrusion technologies. COMPAC aims to integrate production of composite material into a conventional reel to reel paper and board making processes with minor changes. The innovativeness is in the pre-modified fibre material, which can be produced as a sheet-like material offering very large variety of applications to be used in. In comparison to existing vulcanization techniques with sulphuric acid or zinc chloride the COMPAC develops more environmental friendly chemicals modifications for the fibre material. Economically feasible biomaterial solution needs also to be producible in high amounts from abudant natural resources, for this reason wooden materials are preferred and producible for industrial applications with low processing costs. Developing novel chemical fibre treatment method to ‘plasticize’ or ‘chemically refine’ fibres gives them valuable product properties and can be implemented into new or existing board machine approach flow systems to upgrade machines for plasticized cellulose processing. The product resulting from this chemical treatment will be lighter and stronger, and it will resist more moisture and offer better barrier properties than the present liner and fluting grades. Contact person: Dr. Petteri Piltonen

Potato waste to valuable products (POTIS). Funding period: 2015-2017. In this project the goal is to create and assess new product chains for valorization of potato side streams. The project is implemented together with Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and companies of potato value chain. BRC focuses especially on starch, fiber and phenolics fractions of potato peel waste. Contact person: Dr. Sanna Taskila.

Sustainable production concepts on integrated biorefining industry. Funding period: 2015-2018. Decentralized production of energy and biochemicals in the SME companies operating as a member of industrial ecosystem would present one opportunity and model for integrated forest biorefinery in the future. In this project, the target is to increase the feasibility of effective process schemes and industrial ecosystems for sustainable, distributed production of biochemical and biofuels by developing new hybrid separation systems, improving new value chains and industrial ecosystems for biorefining processes, and evaluating sustainability of biorefining processes utilizing hybrid separation techniques. Project is funded by Academy of Finland within New Energy -program and forms research consortium with University of Eastern Finland. Contact person: Prof. Juha Tanskanen

The effect of climate change on Scots pine embryo and seed development - the role of epigenetic regulation. Funding period: 2012 – 2017. Project focuses on genetic, epigenetic and environmental issues affecting the Scots pine seed development. The meristems originated during the zygotic embryo development are the responsible tissues to produce the whole above- and below-ground tree biomasses. The great economic and ecological importance of Scots pine and the problems raised by global climate change are important reasons to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms and epigenetic processes behind adaptive traits such as drought tolerance in long-lived conifers. Prof. Hely Häggman

Towards Efficient and Sustainable Arctic Oil-Spill Response: Green Dispersing and Herding Agents Derived from Northern Bioresources (ArcRespo). Funding period: 2014-2018. Ecosystem at the Arctic regions is highly vulnerable and slowly recoverable and therefore disasters, such as oil-spills, would be extremely catastrophic. Due to the increase of oil activities and risks for the oil-spills accidents at Northern region, oil-spill response is one the most crucial items when considering sustainable use and refining of Arctic natural resources. The aim of the present research is to investigate aspects of production and use of new efficient and sustainable chemical oil-spill response techniques for the Arctic conditions. Within the project, green surfactants from renewable biopolymers, cellulose and chitosan, will be fabricate using sustainable chemical modifications. Toxicity and biodegradability of the sustainable surfactant will also be studied, and their performance will be demonstrations in the Arctic conditions in laboratory-scale. This project will be a multidispiclinary collaborative effort which encompasses knowledge and facilities from the whole value chain from biomaterial modification and refining to its´ characterization and evaluation, and application demonstration in the Arctic oil spill response conditions. Project is carried out in cooperation with Lappeenranta University of Technology. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Utilization of green chemicals in non-energy extractive industries (Celmin). Funding period: 2014-2016. At mining sites, there are many potential sources (e.g. dressing plant, tailing ponds, ore stockpiles, waste rock dumps and heap leach piles) for the toxic pollution of surface waters and buildup of possible toxic sediments downstream natural waters causing by process effluent discharge, seepage, rainfall and snow melt. Although the main amount of dissolved solid substances in waters originates from ore, a small amount of pollutants comes from oil-based chemicals used in flotation as well as other metal concentration processes and dewatering, possible creating toxicity problems when released in effluents. Thus, the purification of waters coming from both extraction and mineral processing during mining activities is needed. Also mining-closure and rehabilitation issues have to take into account because acid drainage, for instance, is generated at both abandoned and active mine sites when sulphide ore waste is exposed water and oxidation. The CELMIN project aims to develop concepts for environmental-friendly effective green chemicals by chemical modification of nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC) to be functional in mining applications responsible for dissolved and suspended solids load.The results of the project is expected to increase sustainability of primary resource supply by decreasing water pollution of mining industry, lower carbon footprint by using renewable raw materials instead of a fossil feedstock in chemical production and lessen concern about environmental issues by using biodegradable chemicals  in dressing of ores and water purification. Contact person: Dr. Ari Ämmälä

Utilization of peat and peat moss in novel applications (INNOTURVE). Funding period: 2015-2017. The aim of the INNOTURVE project is to study the potential of peatland biomasses (technical properties, the cost impacts and market potential) in novel value-added products and applications (eg. composites, fiber products, water treatment chemicals) by a versatile characterisation of peat fractions. The project will study the possibility to produce fibers and the nano- and microparticles from peat as well as to study their suitability to be used in aforementioned value-added products and applications. Contact information: Prof. Mirja Illikainen, Dr. Ari Ämmälä


Recent research projects

Acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass fractions. Funding period: 2012 – 2013. The aim of the project is to study the acid hydrolysis of particular lignocellulosic biomass fractions and to create hydrolysis kinetic models for process simulation purposes.

Advanced image analysis arrangement for sludge dewatering monitoring (MMEA). Funding period: 2010 - 2015. In this program the goal is the implementation of a versatile sludge measurement environment to online control strategy of waste water treatment plant. The aim is to understand the effect of sludge properties, chemical pretreatment, coagulation and flocculation chemistry/conditions on floc structure. Also the connection of the floc structure to water removal properties in filtration and expression stages will be studied and finally model based on the results will be formulated. Contact person: Dr. Tuomas Stoor

Advanced pulping of corrugated carton. Funding period: 2012-2014. The general aim is to improve theoretical understanding about mechanisms in recycled carton pulping, and especially the energy consumption. Understanding wet disintegration mechanisms and energy needed for material disintegration is obtained experimentally and by modelling the phenomena. Contact person: Dr. Ari Ämmälä

Biomass to fuels and chemicals. Funding period: 2011 - 2014. This project aims at optimization of biomass gasification process, as well as on the purification of syngas and subsequent processing of the obtained syngas. Methods to convert syngas into biofuels through catalytic reactions or fermentation are studied and developed in the project. Furthermore, production of different chemicals needed e.g. in the plastic industry is studied. The recovery and utilization of the by-products formed in the gasification process, such as carbon dioxide and ashes will be investigated, being integral part of RC’s focus, as is the increase in networking between different actors and the dissemination of information. Prof. Ulla Lassi

Bioprocess development and analysis facility. Funding period: 2009 – 2011. Facilities for the development and optimization of fermentation processes and down-stream processing of biomolecules were established. These include multifermentor for six parallel fermentation runs, ÄKTA cross-flow membrane filtration unit and ÄKTA Avanti chromatography unit.

Biosorption. Funding period: 2012 – 2014. The aim of the project is to evaluate the potential of Finnish industrial biomasses for the recovery of harmful/valuable compounds. In the future the results will be used for selection of most potential biomass options for laboratory examination.

Business potential from sludges using fractionation. Funding period: 2007 - 2010. The aim of this project was utilizing better knowledge of sludge composition and fractional information to develop business opportunities based on various fractions of sludges.

Catalytic asymmetric dihydroxylation. Funding period: 2006 – 2011. Slow step of the oxidation, the use of sodium chlorite as an external oxidant and the effect of sulfonamides.

Conversion of the amino group containing cellulose acetate – polysiloxane materials to aldehyde group functionalized hybrid materials. Funding period: 2006 – 2011.  Covalent immobilization of proteins on the functionalized hybrid materials.

Compact, combined and co-working processes for mining industries. Funding period: 2013 - 2015. In this project is studied mechanical and chemimechanical pretreatments for the unit processes of mining industry in order to improve the performance and energy-efficiency of size reduction and ore beneficiation. One aim is to study possibilities to use nanofibrillar cellulose instead of oil-based polymers to serve as a depressant, a collector, or a flocculant. Contact person: Dr. Ari Ämmälä

Development of biobased water treatment materials. Funding period: 2011 – 2015. The aim of the project is to develop water treatment chemicals from biomass using Finnish industrial by-products and waste materials such as wood sawdust and bark. The main focus is in materials, which are able to change anionic compounds (e.g. nitrate, sulphate, phosphate) from water by ion exchange mechanism. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Development of diversified and ecofriendly pelletizing production. Funding period: 2009 - 2012. In this project we studied the basic mechanisms governing the compaction and production of pellets from various raw materials. The experimental part of the project was carried out with wide scale of pelletizing equipment from single pellet press to pilot scale pelletizing unit.

Development of tree plantations for tailings dumps afforestation and phytoremediation in Finland and in Russia. Funding period: 2012 - 2014. Chemical research on bioash quality control and productization.

Efficient raw material supply to biorefineries. Funding period: 2012 – 2014. The overall objective of this project is to analyse and improve supply chains of forest biomass for biorefineries. The project will consider that quality demands of the raw materials will be different compared to those for existing forest industry. Prof. Ulla Lassi

Electrical Bio Sensor Arrays for Analyses of Harmful Micro Organisms and Microbial Toxins. Funding period: 2008 – 2009. The project aimed at development of flexible biosensor system for the detection of various biomolecular targets. During the project, platform for an electric microarray was developed and tested at industry.

Energy balance calculation and literature review on a bioreactor. Funding period: 2013 – 2013. The aim of the project is to support the techno-economical feasibility study of the studied process by energy balance calculation of the process and literature review on the bioreactor section of the process.

Enrichment and starter cultures for production and sensitive diagnostics. Funding period: 2008 – 2009. Project aimed at high-throughput optimization of conditions and nutrient feeding for enrichment and starter cultures to be used in production processes or in diagnostics.

Environmentally friendly polyurethane. Funding period: 2013 - 2014. In the project, new environmentally friendlier polyurethane products are being developed.  This goal is achieved by the use of plant oil based raw materials and cellulosic fibres in polyurethane structure. Contact person: Dr. Petteri Piltonen

Enzymatic purification and modification of PHWE lignin and hemicellulose from pine. Funding period: 2012 – 2013. The project aimed at i) enzymatic purification of hemicellulose extract from lignin and triglycerides for enhanced conversion to biochemical and/or fibre products and ii) controlled enzymatic modification of lignin to polymeric aromatics. The effects of enzymes were examined using extensive analytics (cooperation with Dept.Chemistry/Structural Chemistry). The project results indicate that certain enzymes would be beneficial for the purification of hemicellulose and thus for its further processing.

Future biorefineries 1. Funding period: 2009 – 2011. During the project new methods to obtain oxidized celluloses were developed. Oxidized microcelluloses produced using a concept of reactive milling were investigated in particular. Effect of periodate oxidation, metal salts the amount of carboxylate groups and oxidation degree on the nanofibrillation efficiency were investigated, as well as recycling of reagents.

Future biorefineries 1, Joint research programme. Funding period: 2011 – 2014. The project aims to develop new cellulosic membrane and film structures. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Future biorefineries 2. Dissolved cellulose. Funding period: 2011 – 2014. The project aims to develop new cellulosic membrane and film structures. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Future biorefineries 2. Funding period: 2011 – 2014. During the project a closed process to obtain oxidized celluloses was developed. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Granulation of ash in Northern Ostrobothnia area. Financing period: 2011 – 2012. Assessment of ash quality and usability potential in e.g. forest fertilizer use. Development of analytical techniques.

Granulation enhances ecological friendliness. Funding period: 2013 – 2014. Project focuses on assessing the end-use applications of granulated ashes from varied sources. The aim is to reduce significant amount of waste material flow from dumpsite deposition to high added value end-uses.

High consistency treatments for nanocelluloses. Funding period: 2011 - 2014. The project aims to develop new chemical pretreatment methods for the nanocellulose production. Enhancement of the nanofibrillation of wood cellulose through sequential periodate-chlorite oxidation and the use of sulfonated cellulose in nanocellulose production. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

High permeance nano porous tubular zeolite membranes for efficient separation of CO2 and methanol at demanding conditions. Funding period: 2009 – 2012. The aim of the project is to develop a key technology based on zeolite membranes (ZM) for efficient gas separation of CO2, H2S and methanol at demanding conditions in the applications of natural and synthesis gas sweetening and production of renewable fuels. The main objective is to produce technical prototypes of ZM with proven long term stability and superior performance in terms of permeance, separation factor and robustness compared to current technology.

Immobilization of proteins into porous films. Funding period: 2006 – 2011.  Biosensor applications of the protein containing films.

Implementation an Enzyme Engineering Technology Platform for the provision of tailor-made enzymes. Funding period: 2009 – 2011.

Improvement of energy efficiency and fines stability in production and handling of micro particles. Funding period: 2010 - 2012. In this project, we studied the production of micro particles using different mill types. The main focus of the project was controlling the particle size distribution and optimization of the energy consumption in stirred media milling.

Intensification of bioprocess chains. Funding period: 2009 – 2011. Project aimed at intensification of bioprocesses in the lignocellulose valorization chain. BPEL concentrated on enzymatic hydrolysis of old corrugated cardboard and its fermentation to ethanol.

Innovation and sustainable development in the fibre based packaging value chain. Funding period: 2004 - 2008. This program's aim was to establish fibre-based packaging or paper and board based packaging as the important factor in packaging. FPE laboratory was developing packaging softening material, where both fibres and biodegrable matrix where utilized in composites manufacture. The aim was to replace the use of EPS based packaging softening materials with fibre based environmentally benign option.

Investigation of aluminium and silicon precipitates. Funding period: 2012 – 2014. The aim is to study the formation of hydroxyaluminosilicates (HAS) in water by different methods (e.g. total surface charge, zeta potential). Project supports the Keele University’s (UK) research on HAS.

Low cost disposable sensor platform for home diagnostics and health care and wellness management systems. Funding period: 2007 – 2008.

Microfractionation technologies for fines analysis. Funding period: 2009 - 2012. Target of this project was to develop measuring and control solutions, which will increase the profitability of existing processes and enable realization of the new economically profitable and environmentally friendly chemical wood production processes. In these projects were developed measuring and control solutions for the immediately needs and also for the future needs.

Modular biocatalyst platform for chiral synthesis of chemical compounds by structure-based directed evolution. Funding period: 2007 – 2010. Project aimed at development of enzymes for chemical synthesis using up-to-date engineering methodologies.

Nano and microcellulosics in wastewater treatment applications. Funding period: 2011 - 2013. The project aims to develop new micro- and nanocellulosic water treatment chemicals. Flocculation aids and adsorbents for municipal and industrial waters are considered in particular. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

New Antimicrobials. Funding period: 2008 - 2012. Research project was set to explore new sources and approaches for generating novel antimicrobials, and created new pathways between the industry and the academia. The projects combines the know-how of scientists and SME's.

New, innovative sustainable transportation fuels for mobile applications. Funding period: 2008 – 2011. Production of higher (bio)alcohols and other compounds suitable as oxygenates (e.g. butanol, pentanol, mixed alcohols) is studied using several Clostridium species to metabolize carbon compounds to butanol at high yields (fermentation). As a second approach, a chemical synthesis path starting from compounds such as glycerol (a by-product of the 1st generation biodiesel manufacturing) or methanol/ethanol by means of novel catalytic processes is studied. The integration of both the fermentation and the catalytic route for chemicals suitable as liquid fuel substitutes or additives is also considered as it is in a focal point in several ongoing research activities of the RC. Prof. Ulla Lassi

Novel measurement and control schemes of nano and micro particles in complex process suspensions. Funding period: 2010 - 2012. In this project we investigated the applicability and added value obtainable from flow cytometry analysis in industrial particle analysis. The research focus was especially in the areas of waste water treatment (bacteria analysis and flocculation), measurement of colloidal wood pitch and microscale particles and fibrils from wood.

Novel antimicrobials from endophytes of northern medicinal plants. Funding period: 2008 - 2010. New high-throughput methods for screening antibacterial and antioxidant activities were tested and used for isolating antibacterial and antioxidant endophytic fungi.

Optimization of heterologous production of human Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter-1 (hENT1) in Pichia pastoris. Funding period: 2012 – 2013. The project aimed at optimization of heterologous production process for the protein on study. DoE and multifermentor system with six parallel reactors were employed for the optimization of process conditions and feeding strategy.

Paper, bioenergy and green chemicals from nonwood residues by a novel biorefinery. Funding period: 2007 – 2010. In this research project scientific competence has been acquired of an eco-efficient production chain, which utilize agricultural waste biomasses and bioconvert them into paper, green chemicals and bioenergy. The aim of the research was to produce a conceptual model of a novel biorefinery including: (1) self-sustaining production of process chemicals and energy, (2) integrated production of paper and paper chemicals from lignocellulosic materials and especially from nonwood residues and (3) holistic utilization of biomass and its conversion to high-value-added products.

Plant-endophyte association. Funding period: 2006 - 2011. The project was concentrated on a unique plant-endophyte association in the meristematic tissue of Scots pine buds, where Methylobacterium spp. are the dominant species. The bud endophytes affect morphology and extend viability of pine explants in vitro through substances produced, but their biological significance is mainly unknown. In the project, the interaction was studied by microarray gene expression analysis and by identification of bioactive endophytic products.

Plant hemoglobin research. Funding period: 2008 - 2012. The aim of the project is to reveal the role of non-symbiotic plant hemoglobins by studying gene evolution, protein modeling and at metabolic level and by utilizing transgene technology. The studies were conducted both under abiotic and biotic stress. Moreover, we aim to reveal whether the introduced traits will cause unintended changes in biological interactions (plant-herbivore, plant-fungus) of forest trees.  The project produces / has produced scientific knowledge on the behavior of transgenic trees which can be employed in redeveloping the environmental risk assessment of GM trees.

Preparation of anion exchangers from pine sawdust and bark, spruce bark, birch bark and peat. Funding period: 2008 - .Applications of the exchangers in water purification.

Preparation of cellulose acrylates from ethyl cellulose. UV – hardening of the acrylate group containing ethyl celluloses.

Preparation of hybrid materials from cellulose acetate and siloxane polymers equipped with amino - groups. Funding period: 2006 – 2011.  Effect of TEOS – APTMS ratio on the amount of free amino groups at surface of the hybrid material.

Preparation of hybrid packaging materials from wood cellulose. Funding period: 2008 - . Mechanical and water permeation properties of the cellulose films, preparation of cationic cellulose films and optimizing their strength properties, transparency properties and antimicrobial properties.

Preparation of porous organosilica film materials. Funding period: 2006 – 2011.  Tailoring of the pore diameter in the materials.

Preparation of printable bio-inks for the immobilization of proteins onto solid substrates. Funding period: 2006 – 2011. The attachment of proteins on sol-gel modified polymers by using inkjet printing.

Production of geopolymers from industrial side streams  (Geopo). Funding period: 2012 - 2015. Project aims at the stabilization of hazardous ash fractions from the combustion of biomass by using synthetic aluminosilicates as a binding material. The research in this study is focused on understanding the phenomena that are responsible for structural properties of produced synthetic aluminosilicates and their ability to stabilize hazardous components. Contact person: Prof. Mirja Illikainen

Production of organic acids via fermentation by an acidophilic fungus. Funding period: 2011. Company financed project on acidophilic fermentation of organic acids.

Productisation of geomaterials to water treatment materials. 2008 – 2010. The goal of the project is productisation of geopolymer based adsorption materials utilizing local mineral deposits, industrial slags and ashes. The main application of the geopolymers is industrial and mining wastewater treatment.

Processing of specialty biomasses: mapping new business possibilities in biomass based industries. Funding period: 2012 – 2013.  Imatra Region Development Company. Project started with a review of necessary and available technologies on separation and processing of microalgae and fish waste in relation to biorefining. Based on review local companies were collected and their business possibilities related to the topic were evaluated in several multisectorial innovation workshops.

Separation and purification of proteins from potatoe waste water. Funding period: 2012 –2013. Project aimed at separation of bulk protein and valuable protein fractions from industrial potato processing waste water. Such waste waters contain approximately 30% of the total energy of potato, and potential high-valued fractions are wasted among them. Yet, they are regarded as waste whose treatment is costy for the industry. During the project, a cost-efficient method for separation and concentration of patatin and protease inhibitor were developed. The developed process is under patentability evaluation.

Screening of manganese peroxidases from white-rot fungi. Funding period: 2011 – 2012. Project on production of manganese peroxidase enzymes in various white-rot fungi and comparison of the respective specific activities. The objective of the project was to screen the most suitable isoenzyme for recombinant production process.

Small-scale high cell density cultivation by enzyme based substrate delivery for high throughput screening. Funding period: 2007 – 2009. The project aimed at development of a small-scale substrate delivery technology for high cell density cultivation of microbes. The results of this project have been implemented in product portfolio of BioSilta Oy.

Synergetic use of organic and inorganic northern natural resources. Funding period: 2012 - 2015. The aim of the study is to investigate to new chemical pretreatments for cellulose fibers, which will enhance the production of nanocellulose and create new useful functionalities to the produced nanofibrils. The fabricated cellulose nanofibrils are further studied in new biocomposite applications, which include ultrafiltration membranes and barrier films. Contact person: Dr. Henrikki Liimatainen

Synthesis and the photophysical  properties of substituted 8-hydroxyquinolines and their Al complexes. Funding period: 2005 – 2010.  Tailoring of complexes with pure emission colors. The use of Al complexes from substituted 8-hydroxyquinolines in OLEDs and the effect of the substituent at 4-position of the quinoline on the luminance efficiencies of OLEDs.

The use of Al complexes from substituted 8-hydroxyquinolines as buffer layers in organic solar cells. Funding period: 2010 – 2012. Importance of the HOMO-level on the hole transporting ability of the buffer. 

Utilisation of synthesis gas in the production of energy and valuable chemicals. Funding period: 2008 – 2011. Project aims at developing small-scale gasification technology for wood chips and powders in two different types of gasifiers, i.e. down-draft and entrained flow gasifiers. Main aim of the research is to study parameters affecting gasification process (i.e. fuel properties, gasification conditions etc.). Purification of producer gas and the utilization of by-products i.e. biogasification ash is also considered. Purified synthesis gas can further be utilized in the production of hydrocarbons (biodiesel) and methanol in the catalysed reactions. Use of gasification technologies in decentralized energy production opens up new possibilities to increase energy self-sufficiency, and thus, it supports the principles of sustainable development and greener production methods of high importance to RC. Prof. Ulla Lassi

Utilization of biomass fly ashes and other industrial residues (Tuuli). Funding period: 2012 - 2015. Project aims at utilization of biomass fly ashes and other industrial residues in fertilizing and concrete applications. In the project, fly ash is treated mechanically and fractions having different mechanical and chemical properties are achieved. The potential of those fractions on different applications is studied. The project is done in co-operation with four research organizations and 14 Finnish companies. Contact person: Prof. Mirja Illikainen



Last updated: 12.1.2016