Current Projects

Barrierepapier - Identification of Biobased Barrier Materials for surface treatment of paper and board

Packaging materials have to have a sufficient barrier function aginst various substances with the required barrier function being dependent on the packed material. For food packaging additional requirements from the side of legistlation regarding migration limits for varous substances and substance classes have to be observed. Due to their porous network structure paper and board have only a limited barrier functions against liquids and gases and therefore are often extrusion coated or laminated with various synthtetic Polymers. These compounds however are not biodegradable any more and recycling of the materials is difficult. Before this background the target of the project BARRIERPAPER is to evaluate the barriere function of a multitude of novel biobased barrier materials (e.g. nanocelluloses, PLA and PHB dispersions etc.) regarding applicability in the paper industry in order to create a solid basis for new developments in the field of paper based barrier packaging materials, which on one hand comply to market requirements and regulatory requirements and on the other hand can be applied to the paper substrates using surface treatment equipment available in the paper industry. The focus on biobased materials on a sustainable substrate shuch as paper should allow an increased use of sustainable materials in the papckaging sector. An important part in this project is the evaluation of barrier materials from a food-analyitical viewpoint by evaluation of the permeation of defined substances and substance classes through the various barrier materials to come to a comprehensive understanding of the permeation mechanism.

BET - BioEnergyTrain

The development and adoption of renewable and sustainable energy and the production of materials based on based on biomass in biorefineries has become a top priority in Europe, and is Horizon 2020’s most prominent theme. Research in this field is required to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint, and is reliant upon a flow of newly qualified persons in these areas. Biorefineries are the core of several important European policies, from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap on Education and Training (SET-Plan) to the European Bioeconomy Strategy. European development in this prioritised field is stalled due to a lack of qualified personnel and poor linkage between professional training and industry needs. To address these problems, BioEnergyTrain brings together fifteen partners from six EU countries to create two new post-graduate level curricula (“Biorefinery Engineering” and “Bioresource Value Chain Mangagement”) and a network of tertiary education institutions, research centres, professional associations, and industry stakeholders encompassing the whole value chain of biorefineries.

CD-Laboratory for Fiber Swelling and Paper Performance

The CD Laboratory for Fiber Swelling and Paper Performance has four industrial partners: is aimed on fiber swelling and its effect on three aspects of fiber network performance. There are three key research areas. LIQUID ABSORPTION. Here the kinetics of liquid absorption on a short timescale are investigated. This is related to the ink setting during printing, which is critical in high speed inkjet. DIMENSIONAL STABILITY OF FIBER NETWORKS. the effect of liquid absorption on the dimensional stability of paper is addressed. The paper has to absorb the ink during printing, which may lead to deformations like buckling or curling of the paper. Modifications of fiber and paper to reduce deformations and improve dimensional stability are investigated. The expansion of fiber networks under load is also of interes for viscose fiber producers as hygiene products like tampons are taking up the liquid by expansion of the fiber network. FIBER NETWORK MECHANICS. Primary aim of the research is to develop a fundamental understanding of the network mechanics on a fiber leven and on the network level. Micrometchanical testing of fiber properties is carried out and used to develop constitutive material models on the fiber- and on the network level. The effect of moistioning and drying process on the mechanical behavior of the paper during printing and converting is investigated in order to better understand and improve the industrial processes. Apart from that it is the aim to work out strategies to improve the mechanical performance of paper, i.e. paper strength.

FLIPPR² - Future Lignin and Pulp Processing Research - Process Integration

Securing competitiveness and employment are today’s most pressing topics of the Austrian pulp and paper industry: due to drastic changes in consumer behaviour and increased raw material costs, its economic situation has become more challenging. Research and development activities are key to face these economic challenges, and to strengthen Austria’s role in a changing global market. The Austrian and European pulp and paper industry has therefore started a number of long-term research activities to ensure profitability. These activities aim on steering the industry into the leading position of a future bio-based industry. By using the most important non-food renewable raw material, i.e., wood, the pulp and paper industry has excellent prerequisites to realize this vision. In fact, the first steps have been already made: today’s pulping and bleaching processes no longer aim on cellulosic fibres and paper as sole products. These processes are already integrated with production routes for electricity, thermal energy, and bio-based chemicals (e.g., tall oil). Thus, the nucleus of a modern biorefinery that produces a variety of novel wood-based products has already formed in Austria’s pulp and paper industry. However, advanced biorefineries must use chemical and energy resources even more efficiently in order to be competitive. It is evident that such endeavours can only be successful if they are knowledge-based – reflecting the knowledge-based bioeconomy concept – and accompanied by concerted research efforts. The proposed K-Project Flippr² - Future Lignin and Pulp Processing Research PROCESS INTEGRATION focusses its efforts on integrated solutions to efficiently manufacture value-added products from wood. Specifically, side streams available in pulp and paper mills, i.e., technical lignin from spent liquor and fines from pulp, will drive Flippr² activities. Our research programm consists of closely interlinked topics, which are all related to the complex process steps in future biorefineries: separation, fractionation, modification and recovery. Developing these processes, integrating them into the complex setting of a pulp and paper mill, as well as making these processes as efficient as possible requires an interdisciplinary approach: chemists, engineers, fibre specialists, wood technologists, biochemists and economists must act in concert. Expertise and excellence in all of these disciplines is necessary to understand, transform and expand existing process steps of the pulp and paper industry into an advanced and efficient biorefinery. A mixture of completely new methods, as well as cutting-edge technologies are employed to achieve the goals defined in Flippr²’s research program. In addition, special preparation steps are investigated to steer the characteristics of the obtained materials such that they fit value-added applications. Flippr² is structured in two highly interconnected areas of precompetitive scientific research focusing on spent liquor utilization, and fibre fines utilization. The technical research work is complemented by an integrated life-cycle assessment to verify economic and environmental effects of the developed innovations.

ScherZeit - Analysing the effect of shear and retention time on the dosage of retention aids under industry oriented conditions

The retention aids used in the paper industry are in large part cationic polymers of high molecular weight. Their effect depends to a large extent on induced shear after dosage. The emerging flocs and even the polymer itself can be destroyed by the induced shear. To evaluate this effect of shear and also of retention time an already available prototype for simultaneous industrially relevant measurement of formation, retention and dewatering shall be equipped with a shear reactor capable of inducing variable and defined shear in the industrial scale on the suspension in the approach flow.