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News Archive: 2013

December 2013


The Welsh Insitute for Natural Resources (WINR) are currently advertising jobs in several departments.

Post Doc Researcher - Supercritical Fluids
Post Doc Researcher - Sensor Chemistry
Materials Research Technician - Materials Research
KTP Associate - Polymer Development Technology.

For more information click on job opportunities at :


Wales Forest Business Partnership and Wood Knowledge Wales have produced a 31 page report about Welsh Softwoods in Construction. Wales is a favourable area for growing Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and larch amoungst other softwoods. Strength grades between C16 and C24 and over, are achievable and there is a growing consensus amongst UK wood scientists that selected British softwoods are not only fit for purpose in regard to construction but some can be ‘world class’ timber. There is a need to select timber according to grade and utilize the quality wood for premium higher value added applications. Large quantities of softwood, in particular larch will be available for use in the near future because of the Phytopthora ramorum epidemic. Eight timber wall construction methods, which have good thermal performance, are discussed in the report and these can use Welsh softwoods in their designs. The methods include: post and beam, box beam, open panel or platform construction, open panel timber frame, open panel using I-beams, wall cassettes using engineered web beams, open panel twin-wall construction, closed panel construction, solid wood panels and non-framed wood construction. The report covers background information of welsh timber, construction design and methods for utilizing softwood. See Full Report.

November 2013


BEACON and the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) organised a successful half day seminar on 28th November 2013 on'Biobased materials for the construction industry using Welsh natural resources'. Thirty two delegates from diverse sectors including Industry, education, Welsh government and local building entrepreneurs, amongst others attended. The event highlighted the need for an integrated building supply chain, and speakers covered the areas of natual resource supply, design and manufacturing and product utilization using biobased material. With the increasing demand for new housing in the UK and soaring fuel costs, design and materials have to be a key component to successful sustainable development. Converting land into money through low quality build needs to be adressed. The presenters gave convincing accounts as to why natural materials could and should be used. Participants had the opportunity to visit the BRP Tech-transfer site at Mona in the afternoon. Overview Programme Event Summary (UBWebsite)

Speakers who presented at the BEACON & ASBP seminar


Work at the BioComposites Centre was featured in the publication Food & Drink Technology online on the 12th November 2013 and in 'The Fresh Produce Journal'. The articles describes a new project at the BRP Tech-transfer site, Mona, Anglesey using the newly purchased pulp molding equipment. The industry-led project is looking at the potential to convert Welsh ryegrass into sustainable food packaging. Funding of almost £600,000 from the Welsh Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme is facilitating the Sustainable Products from Ryegrass (STARS) project, a collaborative programme of research between Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities and six industrial partners including Waitrose.

The project is investigating a range of products that can be produced from ryegrass, including easily-recycled, fibre-based packaging for foods and other low carbon commodity materials including biofuels and platform chemicals. Industry partners including Waitrose and Adare – which will be supplying the fibre-based packaging for store trials – are also working closely with the universities on the project.

The expertise and market insight of the key industry stakeholders will be key to maximising the potential for the products to be commercialised. The project is being led by the BioComposites Centre at Bangor University and the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. Read full article...


Work at the BioComposites Centre was featured in the Daily Post and on ITV Wales on 12th November 2013 and in The Western Mail on 18th November. Ivy is being investigated for potential fine chemicals and other valuable extracts and the fibres which it contains. The research, carried out by Dr. Dave Preskett at the BC BioProducts and BioRefining Technology Transfer Centre (BPR Tec Transfer) based in Mona, Anglesey, focuses on finding new uses and value for natural resources which are either ignored or thrown away. "We've used ivy extract as a slug killer in place of slug pellets. Trials using it as a fungicide to treat potato blight - in place of oil-derived chemical sprays - proved very effective in protecting crops. The same extract also has great potential to be developed in products for treating dandruff and athlete's food. An oil produced from the berries is edible as, contrary to popular belief, ivy is not poisonous and has all the healt-giving properties of olive oil but the more solid consistencey of butter or lard."

October 2013


BEACON is one of four finalists for the RegioStars 2014 awards in category 2 ‘Sustainable growth: Green growth and jobs through Bio-economy’. The RegioStars awards honour Europe's most inspirational and innovative regional projects. Finalists are selected on the basis of four key criteria: innovation, impact, sustainability and partnership. 19 finalists in 4 categories have been identified from 80 projects which are supported by EU cohesion policy funds.

The BEACON team showcased their project, giving a presentation to the awards jury, chaired by former Committee of the Regions President Luc Van den Brande, on 8 October during the 11th annual European Week of Regions and Cities – OPEN DAYS 2013. Adam Charlton from The BioComposites Centre gave an interview to a European television company about the project. The winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony presented by Commissioner Hahn in Brussels on 31 March 2014.


A half-day seminar on 'Product commersialisation and Intellectual Property (IP) rights' will be held on 23rd October at IBERS, Aberystwyth. Delegates will hear from academic and industry experts about i) how to identify, protect and exploit your IP in the marketplace and create value for your business, ii) the financial support available from Welsh Government to commercially exploit your IP, iii) collaboration with Universities and getting the “right deal” for your business and iv) BEACON project, pilot scale-up facilities in helping to reduce your project risk. Following a series of presentations by the Welsh Government, legal and industry professionals there will be a Q&A session with opportunities to ask questions. For further information and details of how to register please click on the programme link. Programme (Cymraeg). Programme (English).


Applications are invited for a 1 year MRes project "Established and Novel Recovery Route for Ligno-cellulosic Waste".
Waste timber treated with preservative currently represents a significant proportion of the UK waste stream. Currently some timber is sent for incineration with energy recovery, but the recycling of some chemically treated timbers in this way is restricted by legislation, these are known as category 3 wood waste.
Timbers treated with new generation preservatives are also classed as Cat 3 wood. This project will determine the environmental impact of incinerating these wood waste streams. The project is based at Bangor University's School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography and the BioComposites Centre, together with partner company P Stanley Associates Ltd, an independent consultancy specialising in Environmental Management and auditing. Closing date for applications 21st October 2013. Further details available on the KESS website.


A lunchtime briefing was held for LIMNet (Low Impact Materials Network) on the 8th October. The aim was to introduce the network and provide an opportunity to meet project partners from Bangor, Swansea and the University of South Wales and and discuss future bids for research and funding in the area of low impact materials.
The development of Low Impact Materials faces complex challenges. Increasingly sectors are now taking multi-disciplined approaches in an attempt to solve these issues. LIMNet aims to bring together key industrial and academic leaders in Wales across a range of disciplines that will span three sectors and/or priority areas, i) the construction industry, ii) multifunctional and bio mimetic materials and iii) 3D printing, modelling and simulation sectors.


The presentation was given by Emma Thomas, Director, Sustainability Programme, Constructing Excellence in Wales. It covered the WLZCH (Welsh Low/Zero Carbon Hub) position paper on Climate Change and the Built Environment. This is an assessment on the trends and progress of measures put in place by the Welsh Government and outlines recommendations and priority actions on climate change and the built environment to inform, prioritise and advance the work of the Commission and Welsh Government and to advise stakeholders and the public.
Time was also be given to address the recent Minister statements (17/07/13 and 25/09/13) on Building Regulations Part L.

September 2013


BC was at Bath University on the 9th – 10th September for the start meeting on a new FP7 project ' Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment’. BC are leading some of the work packages and have an important role in this exciting new project.

August 2013


The first Menai Bridge Seafood Festival on 31st August was a huge success. Around 10,000 people attended the one-day event, aimed to celebrate North Wales's coastal heritage and the abundance of seafood and fish available around the shores of Anglesey. Cooking demonstrations, local produce market, art and craft, music, and activities for kids made for a great day out. BC showcased the NISE project in the education area of the pier pavillion.


Robbie Mutton et al won the best poster competition at the 'Plants as Providers of Fine Chemicals' conference, held at Bangor University, 28th & 29th August. The poster entitled 'Liquid and Supercritical CO2 Extraction of Pigments from Microalgae' describes work done at the BioComposites Centre, as part of the BEACON project, using 'green technology' to reduce the use of petrochemically derived solvents by substituting with liquid or supercritical CO2. The work shows that controlling temperature, pressure and co-solvent allows for selective compound targeting which are of use to the food, cosmetic and nutraceutical industries. See Poster


The BioComposites Centre is taking delivery of two pieces of brand new processing equipment over the next couple of weeks. A Wet Fractionation Plant and a Pulp Moulder are to be housed at the BC Tech Transfer site at Mona.
Wet Fractionation Plant
With a capacity of 300 litres, the wet fractionation plant line involves the use of enzymes in an aqueous medium to process and separate biomass into a range of fractions including polysaccharides (e.g. beta glucans) and soluble/ insoluble fibres. The system does not use chemicals or solvents and so is an example of another ‘green process’. It is however, not a fermentation process. The technology was developed initially to produce materials for the food industry from oats and bran, but we will hopefully use the line for a wide range of feedstocks including seaweeds, food waste and forestry residues.

Pulp moulding equipment for STARS project.
We will also be taking delivery of our new pulp moulding equipment in September. It will be used to convert plant fibres into a range of pulp moulded products, including soft fruit and vegetable packaging. The equipment is based on a thermoforming (in –mould drying) process and is capable of producing 300 units per hour


Prof Ray Marriott will be giving a presentation entitled “Identifying New High Impact Aroma Molecules from Plants”, at the conference organised by the Chemistry Department, Bangor University. The plants conference is an opportunity for scientists in industry and academia to broaden their knowledge on different aspects of applied plant chemistry and network. This year’s keynote speaker is Professor Marcel Jaspars from Aberdeen University, who will be discussing “Natural Chemical Diversity to Combat Infectious Diseases”. During the conference the chemistry behind traditional British herbal preparations will be explored, particularly in view of food and personal care product development. In addition, and update on green approaches to plant processing will be given. Included in the programme is a visit to the University Botanic Garden at Treborth with a special presentation and a tour of the facilities and gardens. Conference information


On the 4th September Rebecca Colley-Jones will be presenting "Waste Prevention in the Construction Sector" at the Management Centre, Bangor Business School, College Road, Bangor, LL57 2DG.

Rebecca Colley-Jones is the WISE network co-ordinator and a specialist in delivering waste management and sustainable construction solutions to businesses. Rebecca has over 14 year experience working in a practical and mentoring role to develop innovative ideas and solutions.
Specialisms/Research include: Engagement with businesses, recycling systems, markets for recyclates, commercial/industrial waste facilities, construction waste, BREEAM assessor, Waste Awareness Certificate (WAC) trainer and Chair of CIWM Cymru.

WISE- Welsh Institute for Sustainable Environments ( If you would like to be added to the WISE mailing list please contact Raine Williams (

CIWM - The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (

All welcome. The meeting will start at 8am for 8:30 start of presentation followed by discussion 9 - 9:30. Attendance is free, remember to buy your coffee from the coffee shop and come and join us in the bar for the meeting.


This summer we are have the pleasure of sharing our labs with several visiting scientists.

Nuno Costa, a visiting academic from the University of Porto, Portugal, is joining us via the COST Short-term Scientific Mission (STSMs). COST strives to support European scientists in their networking activities allowing scientists to learn from an institution or laboratory in another COST country - a concept of particular interest to young scientists. Collaboration is important to make Europe more competitive. Exchanging ideas and knowledge across borders leads to more successful projects. The aim is to make markets stronger and put European scientists at the forefront of worldwide technological innovation. Nuno will be conducting research into the reduction of VOCs in the manufacture of MDF and particleboard.

Liliana Paraschiv, an Erasmus student from University Petrol si Gaze, Ploiesti, Romainia, is visiting us for 10 weeks. She will be focusing on extraction of biomass materials and analysing phenolics and flavinoids.

Laure Trapier and Adeline Dole, on summer placement from the Universite de Lorraine, ENSTIB, France, are visiting for 2 months and are working on the effects of drying on cell wall structure and heat treatment of wood.

Finally Sam Wright, a Bangor University 2nd year student, and Josh Hill, a recent graduate from Manchester University, are gaining experience by spending their summer working in our laboratories assisting on various projects.

July 2013


The BioComposites Centre was runner up in the first Research and Enterprise Impact Award in the category "Improvement in Business Performance and/or Outstanding Innovation".

The BioComposites Centre was nominated for collaborative, work spanning 10 years, with Apollo Scientific during which over 150 commercially important chemical intermediates were developed. These chemicals are incorporated into a range of products including: antibiotics, agrochemicals and drugs for imflammation, depression and cancer. Using business innovation programmes, such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, the partnership has helped Apollo Scientific to generate £500,000 of new sales and Bangor University to secure £600,000 of addtional income.

Commenting on the event, Professor John G Hughes, the University’s Vice-Chancellor said: “At Bangor University we are combining knowledge creation of international excellence with innovation to ensure that our research benefits others.

“The research and enterprise activities carried out at the University play an important part in improving the economic and social wellbeing of Wales and the world. The projects highlighted by these awards illustrate the positive impact that the University has on the economy and society.”

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, Bangor University’s Director of Research said: “Our impact awards showcase the University’s work and celebrate our successes. In this first competition the panel considered over 20 applications. The competition was very strong, and we recognise the wealth of talent we have across our University.  The stories that out finalists tell provide inspiration and highlight the difference that Bangor University research makes”. 


Ray Marriott will be presenting a paper on "CO2 Utilisation in the Biorefinery - Old Science or New Opportunities" at the 6th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry (GSC-6) at The University of Nottingham, August 4-7th 2013. A poster presentation entitled "Separation of Complex Mixtures using Supercritical CO2 with Solid Adsorbents – an Economic Large Scale Alternative to Supercritical Fluid Chromatography" will also be on display. We will also have a BC stand, please come and see what work we are currently involved with and discuss future collaborations. Conference details.


The provisional programme for IPPS 2013 is now available. The event will take place on the 9th-10th Oct at Venue Cymru, Llandudno. Two keynote speakers are Prof Peter Walker discussing sustainable construction and Prof Roger Rowell discussing a hierarchical shift in wood panels. There is a special session on LCA and certification. Provisional programme.


An EU Life+ Project Workshop "Demonstration plant project to produce polylactic acid biopolymer from waste products of bakery industry" will be held on 3rd July at the Management Centre, Bangor University. Programme

The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of using waste products from the bakery sector in the fabrication of a 100% biodegradable film. The project will establish and operate a continuous pilot plant at pre-industrial scale for the synthesis of Polylactic Acid (PLA) from bakery waste products. For more information about the Bread 4 PLA project see the Newsletter.

June 2013


PhD student, Md Ashaduzzaman has won the Ron Cockcroft award for his innovative work on the effect of bio-resin from cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) on decay resistance properties of wood that could potentially lead to alternative approach to find novel wood protection system. He attended the Annual Meeting of IRG-WP at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm on June 16, 2013 to receive the award and delivered a seminar.

Ashaduzzaman is a Commonwealth Scholar studying in third year at the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography and technically supported by the BioComposites Centre, UK. His research mainly focused on the study of physico-mechanical and decay resistance properties of bio-resin modified wood by impregnation modification technique, which would be a viable alternative not only improving biological durability but also enhance other properties of wood.


Ray Marriott will be presenting a paper Presenting a paper on: Utilisation of Supercritical CO2 as an Environmentally Benign Medium for the Biorefinery at the International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (ICCDU) in Alexandria, VA, a suburb of Washington D.C. 23 -27 June 2013. Conference details.

The biennial conference provides a multi-disciplinary forum on recent innovations in fundamental and applied aspects of CO2 utilization. In 2013 the conference will focus on CO2 conversion and utilization for chemicals, fuels and materials for sustainable development. The goal of the conference is to facilitate the advances in CO2 research and bring together the academic and industrial communities for the exchange of ideas, concepts, and innovations.


The article highlights the role of Industrial Biotechnology (IB) in creating a low carbon economy in the UK. The IB market could be worth up to £12bn to UK businesses by 2025.

BEACON is one of five major pilot facilities in the UK offering expertise in scale up and commercialisation of processes. Whilse the other four facilities are clustered on the Eastern side of the UK, BEACON is geographically separate and is ideally placed to work with and meet the requirements of businesses in other parts of the UK. See article in NNFCC newsletter


Llandudno, 12 June 2013

Confronting and mitigating climate change is a world-wide challenge. One way of tackling this is to make products from renewable feedstocks such as ryegrass, oats and miscanthus rather than oil. BEACON is a £20M Welsh Biorefining initiative supported by the EU and tasked to innovate with businesses to develop low carbon solutions.

Markets sectors ripe for development include agriculture, natural cosmetics, forest and natural products, natural fibres, health and medical, bio-based polymers, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical.

The conference will appeal to micro businesses, start-up companies, SMEs and large corporates, academics and researchers active in the bio-economy in Wales. Conference programme.

Opening address: Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance

Other speakers including:
Dr Tim Davies (Green Biologics Ltd) -Bringing Renewable Chemicals to Market: Challenges and Opportunities
Dr Zsolt Gemesi (Deputy Director of the UK Climate-KIC) – The Climate-KIC’s role in Building a Better Bioeconomy
Dr Adrian Higson (Head of Biorefining at NNFCC) – Bridging the Bioeconomy Innovation Gap - The Bio Base NWE Project
Dr David Randall (Chemoxy International Ltd) – Industrial Biotechnology – How did an SME Become Involved?

For further information and to register for this free event by 1st June  visit the Beacon website and sign up on line at :


On 5th June presentations will be given by The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) and Keim Paints on Nature Plus certification.

Truly "sustainable" building products can be difficult to identify amidst the huge range of eco/green/sustainable products that are now on the market. The ASBP has identified the NaturePlus Eco-label not only as a way of identifying sustainable products but one which also rewards market leaders and innovators. 

Keim Mineral Paints has obtained NaturePlus certification on a number of their products. The paints are water-borne  silicate paints which when applied to a mineral substrate form a micro-crystalline structure which allows the substrate to breath but also prevents the ingress of driven rain. The company has worked with a number of housing associations and local authorities both on new build and renovation/regeneration projects, in North Wales they have worked with Denbighshire and Flintshire councils and also on the Amlwch Townscape Regeneration project.

All welcome. We meet at 8am, and the talk starts at 8.30. Attendance is free, remember to buy your coffee from the coffee shop and come and join us in the bar for the meeting.


Scitech Adhesive Systems Ltd and The BioComposites Centre (BC) at Bangor University seek a recent graduate with a strong interest in polymer chemistry and has excellent practical/technical skills and leadership potential to develop new adhesives for a range of industrial applications.

Scitech is based in Flint, North Wales and is a growing business with annual sales of £4 m supplying the adhesives and coatings markets across Europe and the Middle East and with an office in Hong Kong.

To ensure continued growth the company is looking to expand their product development team to meet the growing requirements for on time product development in a highly competitive market sector.

The successful candidate will be a recent graduate with a good Honours Degree in a polymer science subject. S/he will have a practical approach, with excellent communication skills, and must be motivated to achieve targets in an industrial environment. An interest in, and knowledge of, adhesive products and processes would be an advantage.

The ideal candidate will have a minimum 2:1 degree in polymer science/technology or equivalent but more important is the attitude and capability of the individual and their involvement in a small technical and sales team.

A good basic salary is offered and an end of year bonus is offered based on performance. Other benefits include private medical insurance and pension scheme options.

The successful applicant will receive management and leadership training in this position which is supported by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership award (KTP). Largely based at Sictech’s production site in Flint, North Wales, the associate will also spend some time at Bangor University. The post offers the opportunity to register for a higher degree.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) support high level business development projects between companies and Universities. Graduates (KTP Associates) are recruited into the partnership to work on challenging high-profile projects. In addition business and management training is provided, and there is the opportunity to register for a higher degree and/or other training during the KTP.

The right candidate can expect an intellectually rewarding and challenging career with excellent financial benefits. In time the right person can expect to become a key member of the management team at Scitech.

Please quote reference number BU00262 when applying.

Closing date for applications: Monday, 24 June 2013.

Committed To Equal Opportunities

The application form and further particulars are availabe from the Bangor University web site.


Project Title: ECO-SEE EU FP7 funded research project

The main purpose is to assist project staff in the undertaking of research primarily in the area of bio-based materials, specifically the area of Bio-based insulation and its use to improve in-door air quality.

You will be a good team player with the ability to work to tight deadlines and who can demonstrate excellent organisational and communication skills both within the Biocomposites group and with external companies.

Candidates should be educated to degree standard with a background in materials science, green chemistry or surface chemistry. As part of their role the successful candidate may be required to undertake some travel both within the UK and overseas. The role may entail an element of manual handling

The successful candidate will be expected to start as soon as possible on a full-time basis, and the post is available for three years.

Closing date for applications: Friday 07 June 2013.

Please quote reference number BU00264 when applying.

Committed To Equal Opportunities

The application form and further particulars are availabe from the Bangor University web site.

May 2013


A novel method for determining available hydroxyl group content of ligno-cellulosic materials using dynamic vapour sorption has been devolved at Bangor by BC scientists, Dr Simon Curling and Dr Graham Ormondroyd, working in partnership with colleagues from Edinburgh Napier University. The method was used to investigate the moisture properties of wood and is detailed in a new Journal of Materials Science paper:
What is the role of the accessibility of wood hydroxyl groups in controlling moisture content?

April 2013


A free public half day seminar, organised by the BEACON project, will address product commercialisation and intellectual property rights.

The event will take place on Tuesday 23rd April, from 8.30am to 1pm, in Neuadd Reichel, Ffriddoedd Road, Bangor, LL57 2TR. Places are limited, so please do contact us to book your place - full details can be found in the seminar programme.


Scientists from BC are working with AIMPLAS (Spain), Lund University (Sweden), University of Cantabria (Spain), Agricultural University of Athens (Greece) and eleven commercial partners to develop biopolymers from lignocellulosic waste sugars from pulping processes.

The FP7 funded BRIGIT project will develop tailor-made biopolymers for high-performance applications. The fire proof biopolymers will be used with natural fibre fabrics to form multi-layer sandwich structures. Download the project leaflet here or visit the BRIGIT project website.

March 2013


Work at Bangor and Abserystwyth Universities, under the STARS project (Sustainable Ryegrass Products) sustainable packaging and other products will be developed with commercial partners for bio-derived sustainable packaging solutions.

The project is jointly led by the BioComposites Centre and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) and funded by the Welsh Government's Academic for Business (A4B) programme. The low carbon products investigated include biofuels, platform chemicals, and pulp moulded packaging products for retail applications such as food packaging.

Quentin Clarke, Head of sustainability at Waitrose, said "Waitrose is working hard to use easy to recycle, sustainable materials for its packaging, so there is a natural synergy between this project and Waitrose's approach to 'Treading Lightly' and reducing its environmental footprint."

Dr Adam Charlton, of BC, welcomed the Welsh Government support and said the key to the projects success would be the complementary expertise of the two universities. He added "We don’t want to displace existing agricultural activity, but aim to provide farmers with an opportunity to diversify and find alternative applications for surplus grass produced in the UK. Through forging relationships with world-class organisations with significant market insight, the project offers real possibility to commercialise a number of product streams from ryegrass."

January 2013


The first Sustainable Building Breakfast Club meeting of the new year will meet on 6th February at 8am in the University Management Centre.

Collect your coffee at the reception area and join us in Bar 1884 to hear the experience of local builders in trying to implement sustainable products and technologies in their home. This is an ideal chance to share expertise and to discuss the challenges facing sustainably motivated individuals, companies and specifiers, in the construction sector.


The pilot scale supercritical CO2 extraction suite has been installed and commissioned at the BioComposites Centre. Previous work extracting high value plant extracts can now be transferred to a pilot scale. This forms an important part of our work to develop and implement green and sustainable chemistry and related technologies in order to create new products and processes.

Download the CO2 Lab brochure to find out more, or download the recent newspaper article in the North Wales Daily Post.