WP 1: Materials from renewable monomers (bio-mass)
Our aim is to utilise existing building blocks coming out of the second-generation stream (forestry and agricultural waste) for novel performance polymers as well as to develop examples of new green building blocks. REFINE will go beyond the state-of-the-art to synthesise materials with improved physical properties for high added value applications, which are currently reliant upon fossil raw materials.
WP 2: New biotechnological routes to functional polymer building blocks
Small scale academic studies have demonstrated success with lipase based routes to polyesters and polycarbonates by ring-opening polymerisation and polycondenzation. Many of the partners in this proposal contributed significantly to the development of this field. However, the challenge now is to translate to the industrial level and this has not yet been achieved. Success will yield new concepts and breakthroughs in new high added value materials and to achieve this, work package 2 will span across the disciplines of biotechnology, polymers and materials science.
WP 3: Green reaction and processing technology
Reaction and process design is of crucial importance in material processing and thus a vital processing step in materials industry. In particular biomass derived raw materials are often difficult to dissolve and process due to their high polarity. For obvious reasons environmentally harmful solvents and additives must be avoided if the process as a whole shall be sustainable. Highly promising potential replacements are Ionic Liquids (IL) and supercritical CO2 (scCO2) as green reaction media. In this work package we will apply scCO2 and ILs as polymerisation and processing media. We will capitalise upon our breakthroughs in Renewable Raw Materials and Bio-Synthesis. Moreover, we will address the important issue of green polymer additives.
WP 4: Application and Economical evaluation
A good link between R&D and the market will improve the chances that a development will be successful. We consider this work package as highly important because it provides the product evaluation and benchmarking under industrial application conditions. Secondly, it will answer the question "How green are the methods we are proposing?" by performing an eco-efficiency analysis of all proposed and developed technologies.
WP 5: Training
The REFINE scientific and technological training spans across the entire green production process – from developing monomers from renewable resources, transforming them into functional polymers and then integrating those polymers into applications. The focus of the REFINE network is the development of new skills and expertise in green materials manufacturing and technologies building upon the unique combination of knowledge across all of the partners along the production chain. Conveying these skills and expertise to 12 early stage researchers (ESRs) and 4 experienced researchers (ERs) is the core objective of this ITN. REFINE will offer the highest level of training to young researchers based on a modular system.
WP 6: Management
WP 7: Dissemination