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News Archive: 2011

October 2011


For the next meeting of the Sustainable Building Breakfast Club we are venturing further afield. We have been invited to visit Cymdeithas Tai Eryri's Development in Botwnnog. We will be given a tour of the facility followed by a short presentation outlining the administrative and operational changes made to make the Centre more sustainable. There will also be a discussion on the challenges associated with building to BREEAM standards in a rural setting.

The meeting will be from 8am to 9.30am on Wednesday 2nd November 2011. Please let Ceri Loxton know you are planning to attend so we can give the cafe an idea of numbers for catering.

The address is: Canolfan Fenter Congl Meinciau, Bontwnnog, Pwllheli, LL53 8RA. Take the B4413 from Llanbedrog towards Aberdaron, and continue for about 4 miles. The centre is in Botwnnog, with parking behind the building.


Delegates to IPPS 2011 in Llandudno were greeted by fine weather, if slightly windy, to enjoy the charm of the North Wales coast. The two-day programme touched many aspects of wood based panel production, from production machinery and innovation, through feedstocks to finishing and laminating. The presenters once again did a great job of bringing their research and insights to the attention of the audience. The posters were also of a high quality and covered many aspects of panels research. Winner of this year's poster prize was Ana Henriques, a PhD student from LEPAE, University of Porto, and her colleagues from Euroresinas, and the University of Viseu.

Dr Rob Elias, Director of BC, commented on the success of the new 2-day format, and stated his intention to continue the new pattern of running IPPS as a biennial event. The IPPS Masterclass (as rolled out last year) would be repeated in the intervening years. The Masterclass format allows smaller groups to explore relevant topics in greater depth, giving relevant insights direct to industry. Read more in the Review of IPPS 2011

September 2011


Following a successful launch and good turn-out to the first Sustainable Building Breakfast Club we are now looking forward to the next event. The next meeting is in the Terrace Bar of the Management Centre and Bangor University from 8am to 9.30am on Wednesday 5th October 2011.

We will be welcoming Gary Newman of Plant Fibre Technology to give a quick presentation about the Alliance of Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) which will be launched at Westminster in November. The alliance promotes healthy, low impact building products available across the UK. The ASBP is a not-for-profit organisation of manufacturers, distributors, building professionals, charities and academics promoting the understanding and delivery of sustainable building products in the widest sense. The ASBP is also the UK's agents for the European certification scheme 'Natureplus', an independent and transparent scheme covering environmental, ethical and health criteria for building products.

Gary has a back ground in construction engineering and material science. He established the first hemp processing plant in the UK in the 90's and has gone on to become a distributor and marketer for bio-based natural fibre insulation products - backing up market knowledge with scientific research in this area. Gary is very knowledge about the behaviour of bio-based insulations and is keen to take the debate about insulation further than just thermal and to include and promote properties such as 'breathability' and longevity.


at NIAB, Cambridge, 19th October 2011

The TSB funded FARMPULP project consortium, led by The BioComposites Centre, is sponsoring a workshop to be held at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge on the 19th of October 2011.

A series of talks and posters will explore the potential for novel uses of crop fibres and how new processing methods are making alternative sources of fibre more attractive.

For further information please visit or contact Simon Curling (, tel 01248 383213).


BC staff will be at Timber Expo in Coventry next week to present the results of the Best Utilization of Home Grown Timber project with BRE and TRADA.

The event will coincide with the launch of the report from the project, so do call in to the TRADA seminar at 3pm on Tuesday 27th to hear the results. Full details of the seminar programme can be seen at On the Wednesday the session will run again at 3pm, but will focus more on the LCA and carbon accounting part of the project.


The Sustainable Building Breakfast Club will launch on Wednesday 7 September in the Management Centre at Bangor University. (The Management Centre, College Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2DG)

Professor Tom Woolley, former Professor of Architecture at Queens University, Belfast, editor of the award winning Green Building Digest, and author of many publications including Natural Building and Hemp and Lime Construction has kindly agreed to give a short talk. "Homes, Health and Energy" was the title of a recent lecture given by Tom in which he took a heretical look at some of the answers to how people can reduce their energy bills while at the same time arguing that health and environmental impact are as important as renewable energy. Tom will give us the highlights of this lecture and summarise some of the shocking problems in modern methods of construction.

The meeting will start at 8am for informal welcomes and introductions, with the talk by Tom starting around 8:30 for half an hour. The cafe will be open for you to purchase tea, coffee and light refreshments. For more information please contact Ceri Loxton ( Tel 01248 383190) or Einir Young ( Tel 01248 383709).

August 2011


Recruitment for posts based at Bangor University and Aberystwyth University in the BEACON project have been advertised in New Scientist and through the two Universities' web sites. A PDF of the advert is available by following this link. The range of post include academic, research, technical and business roles in many aspects of plant chemistry and materials evaluation to add value to natural products using a biorefining approach. The closing date for all applications is 26th August 2011.


Dr. Qiuyun Liu is attending the conference of BIOPOL 2011, France in August, she will talk about her research work on biopolymer and composites. Meet Qiuyun at BIOPOL to hear more about our centre and our research work. For more information about the conference, visit BIOPOL 2011 website:

July 2011


Join Rob Elias at the Wrexham Science Festival on 13th July 2011 and hear more about BC's involvement in the Industrial Biopolymers Knowledge Transfer Centre. Speaking at the all day event The Use Of Biopolymers In The Health Sector, our Director will present research conducted at Bangor University within the IBP KTC. Other speakers represent a wide range of companies using biopolymers and plant extracts in health-care products. For more information visit the Wrexham Science Festival site and download the programme. To register your interest or reserve a place, please contact Anna Davies at Glyndwr University 01978 293126.

May 2011


BC, as part of the Welsh Institute for Natural Resources, are launching a Sustainable Building Breakfast Club. The club will meet monthly at the University's Management Centre to share information on sustainable materials and technologies. Each month an invited speaker will share information about a product, design issue, concept or policy relevant to sustainable housing and construction. Following this there will be plenty of time for discussion and networking over coffee.

The Sustainable Building Breakfast Club will addess many issues relevant to achieving zero carbon housing, including:

  • the fabric performance of buildings;
  • mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems;
  • renewable energy generation;
  • sustainable building products.

The club will be launched in September 2011, on Wednesday 7th, at 8am. Attendance is free. Coffee and a light breakfast are available (£4). If you hope to attend, or have suggestions for discussion topics, or can recommend a speaker do get in touch with the organisers, Dr Einir Young ( or Ceri Loxton (

Download the flier here. Mae'r taflen ar gael yn Gymraeg yma.


BC staff were pleased with the success of the recent North Wales launch of the £20 million BEACON project on the 17th March 2011, at the Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University. The project, funded through the Convergence European Funding Programme through the Welsh European Funding Office, part of the Welsh Assembly Government, will establish a Biorefining Centre of Excellence for Wales.

BEACON will bring together academics from Bangor University, IBERS at Aberystwyth University and Swansea University. The team combines experts in chemistry, microbiology, environmental science and natural products to add value to plant materials by advanced extraction, fractionation and processing techniques. The combination of these approaches and strategies in a holistic manner within the biorefinery concept will provide a boost to the green economy and local industry.

Guests from the three Universities and Welsh SMEs were greeted by Dr Mike Beckett (Head of the School of Chemistry, Bangor) and Prof. David Sheppard (Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Bangor). Next Dr Rob Elias (Acting Director of BC and WINR) gave an introduction to BEACON and its great potential to assist with the regeneration of the Convergence Regions in Wales (including North West, Mid and parts of South Wales). Dr Mike Pitts from the Chemistry Innovation KTN then gave a well received speech about Biorefining in Europe and how BEACON will provide an opportunity to promote collaborative links between Wales and other EU countries. The North Wales event followed the all-Wales BEACON launch held at the Senedd in Cardiff on 15th February.

Read more about the project by downloading the PDF news update or the Executive Summary.

April 2011


Project Title: Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate (KTP Associate) to develop bio-based insulation products

The BioComposites Centre is advertising for a recent graduate for the above project. The closing date for applications is 1pm Friday 29th April 2011.

Application forms and further particulars are available from Human Resources, Bangor University (tel +44 (0)1248 382926 or 388132, email: Please quote reference number 11-10/189 when applying.

Informal enquiries can be made by contacting Dr Rob Elias at The BioComposites Centre (Welsh Institute for Natural Resources), tel: +44 (0)1248 388599, e-mail:

March 2011


Carbon dioxide has attracted a very negative image as a "greenhouse gas" over the last few years but it can be successfully used as a highly tunable solvent to replace traditional petrochemical solvents. The BioComposites Centre (part of the Welsh Institute for Natural Resources, Bangor University) promotes the development and implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and related technologies in order to create new products and processes. The Centre has invested in one of the most versatile small-scale CO2 extraction plants in the UK, to make this technology available to commercial companies and academic groups.

Read more in our brochure - available in English or Welsh.