Paper industry to transform biowaste with research hub

Monday, 29 October, 2018

Paper industry to transform biowaste with research hub

A new research hub aims to help Australia's pulp and paper industries transform their production waste into marketable materials such as food packaging.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Hub for Processing Advance Lignocelluosics into Advance Materials, launched by Monash University, will enable pulp and paper companies to become biorefineries.

Over five years, a total of $6.8 million will be invested to convert wood, plant-based matter and other biomass into materials such as cellulose-based hydrogels for personal medicine, nanocellulose films to replace plastic food packaging and nanogels to help farmers maintain crops in the ever-changing climate.

This industry transformation will be achieved through three specific objectives. These include: deriving ‘green’ chemicals from Australian wood and lignocellulosic streams; engineering new nanocellulose applications; and developing ultralight paper and novel packaging, such as radiofrequency identification technology to integrate with transport/retail information systems.

"This hub will leverage world-leading Australian and international research capabilities in chemistry, materials science and engineering with the express aim of creating new materials, companies and jobs for our growing bioeconomy," said Professor Gil Garnier, Director of the Bioresource Processing Research Institute of Australia (BioPRIA).

"With ongoing support and vision from our government, industry and university partners, we will identify new applications and products derived from biowaste to transform the pharmaceutical, chemicals, plastics and food packaging industries in Australia and across the world.

"In fact, one of the goals is for our industry partners to generate, within four to 10 years, 25–50% of their profits from products that don't exist today."

Amcor, Circa, Leaf, Orora, Norske Skog, Visy, the University of Tasmania, the University of South Australia, the Government of Tasmania and AgroParis Tech are also part of this ARC Hub.

Image credit: ©Konstantin Romanov/Dollar Photo Club

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