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National efforts to valorize forest raw materials is strenghten from the north

Published: 4 February 2020

Luleå University of Technology is a new partner in Treesearch, a world-unique platform for research on new materials and products from the forest. The initiative brings together Swedish universities, forestry and industry, private foundations and the state. The goal is to create future innovations from Swedish forest raw materials through a strong national effort.

– Luleå University of Technology is an international key player when it comes to processing forest raw materials. We have unique knowledge, state-of-the-art advanced infrastructure and interdisciplinary research in areas that are of great interest to the players in the platform, Ulrika Rova, says, professor of Biochemical Process Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

An open research environment

A competence and resource network in the processing of forest raw materials, without an international counterpart, is currently being built in Sweden. Treesearch is a unique initiative when it comes to collaboration to build up knowledge and expertise on new materials from forest raw materials. Treesearch brings together ongoing research in Sweden, with the Wallenberg Wood Science Center research as the core of research platfom´s activities. The platform is an open research environment for researchers from academia, industry and research institutes, which, among other things, contributes to the exchange of expertise between the parties when it comes to training of doctoral students and the development of researcher competence required for future innovations from the forest. Sweden aims to lead the development of a circular bio-based economy, where forest raw material is important for reducing the dependence on fossil raw materials.

– Treesearch is an important piece of the puzzle, when it comes to the transfer to a circular bio-based economy and the commitments Sweden has to achieve the global sustainability goals. Luleå University of Technology is well positioned as a partner in the platform with our research in bio-based materials from forest raw materials, Pär Weihed, says, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology.

Leader in composite material research

Primarily it is research in composite materials and specialty chemicals of forest raw materials that makes Luleå University of Technology an interesting partner for Treesearch, as well as the unique education in Materials Science, which includes composite materials. In addition, there is a Master Programme in Composite Materials at Luleå University of Technology where a large number of degree projects can be directly linked to companies within Treesearch. Luleå University of Technology is a leader in composite material research, which includes manufacturing technologies, process modeling, composite mechanics and modeling and research on micro-mechanical properties to understand the composite's structure and property relationships.

With focus on four research topics

The four research topics that are of great interest to Treesearch in composite materials are: Polymeric Composite Materials, led by Professor Roberts Joffe, Fluid Mechanics led by Professor Staffan Lundström, Experimental Mechanics Professor Mikael Sjödahl, and Wood and Bionananocomposites led by Professor Kristiina Oksman. Also Biochemical Process Engineering, led by Professor Paul Christakoploulos in collaboration with Professor Ulrika Rova and Doctor Leonidas Matsakas, is of great interest to Treesearch, especially through the pilot plant for pretreatment and fractionation of the three main components of the wood raw material; cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.

Ulrika Rova

Ulrika Rova, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491315
Organisation: Biochemical Process Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering