Research content and applications
Our research in sustainable chemistry focuses on development of technologies for production of value-added and platform chemicals, biofuels and polymers from renewable biomass resources with the aid of biotechnology and chemical technology. We design, develop and apply environmentally benign and efficient chemical and biochemical tools for biomass pre-treatment, fractionation, modification and hydrolysis.
One of our main research areas in this field is the cell factory concept where we develop microbial and plant cells and processes for production of chemicals, fuels, proteins, drugs, and food ingredients. Chemical and biochemical methods are used to synthesise new value-added molecules and polymers as well as to modify and functionalise existing ones for improved product properties. Enzyme discovery and utilisation of biocatalysts, such as cellulases and oxidative enzymes, are our key abilities. Systems biology and modelling are utilised for development of biotechnological and chemical production processes.
As an indication of our high scientific standard in this field, we hold a national Centre of Excellence in White Biotechnology – Green Chemistry for the period of 2008 – 2012.
The efforts to combat the climate change and the increasing cost of fossil resources will lead to development of new biomass-based products. Our biorefinery research will open up new technology and business possibilities for several industrial sectors. Additionally, the process industries must increase material and energy efficiency to remain competitive in the future.
In addition to highly skilled research staff, we have well-equipped laboratories, three pilot plants and modern modelling and simulation tools at our disposal. We collaborate intensively with VTT experts in material sciences, pulp and paper and energy, as well as with our research partners domestically and abroad.