Case Study

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BioComposites Centre: Innovation in biomaterials for industry

Bangor’s BioComposites Centre undertakes collaborative research projects to develop sustainable biobased technologies that will minimise the impact of materials on the environment.

The Centre works with large multinationals, SMEs, micro companies and research institutes.

Established in 1989, the Centre is a self-financing concern with real knowledge of the demands of industry and the need to be pro-active, flexible and competitive.

BioComposites Centre combines the technical and academic resources of Bangor University with a practical and commercial outlook to offer a fully rounded package of research, innovation and application for biomaterials technology. A core skill in the Centre is the translation of applied science into commercial opportunities. To achieve this aim the Centre has unique facilities that enable them to take an idea from bench to pilot scale.

BioComposites Centre undertakes collaborative research projects to develop sustainable biobased technologies that will minimise the impact of materials on the environment. Working with large multinationals, SMEs, micro companies and research institutes interested in lowering their global warming potential.

BioComposites Centre is a self-financing concern with real knowledge of the demands of industry and the need to be pro-active, flexible and competitive. Established in 1989, the Centre has a track record in delivering projects successfully. This is backed by experience and expertise from dedicated professional scientists, technologists and managers that are client focused. With such a long history there are numerous cases studies of successful industrial partnerships.

One such project was the EU funded project funded project looking at high value-added chemicals and bioresins from algae sources (Bisigodos) which concluded in 2017. The aim of the project was to address the production of valuable algae-derived chemicals, amino acids and high added-value bio-resins starting from algae biomass fed directly with CO2 from industrial emissions. The algae are grown in bioreactors on land utilising solar radiation in an approach that is based on technology developed by Spanish partner Biofuel Systems (BFS) to produce bio-oil.

‘Our role here in the Centre was to help develop molecules and compounds for applications in coatings, inks and cosmetics’ explained Dr Ahmad Al-Dulayymi. To achieve this Ahmad worked alongside three UK project partners: Beckers, SunChemicals and Croda. ‘It’s been a great experience for me too and I have had a real chance to develop some new skills, but what I really enjoyed was working with industry.’

The biggest success came from the work to develop new anti-corrosive coatings with Liverpool based paint company, Beckers – taking an idea from lab to pilot scale. The Beckers Group is a global industrial coatings company that employs almost 1,800 people over 24 manufacturing sites and makes specialist coatings to protect surfaces. A key drive for change in this industry is the reduction in chromate additives that stop metal rusting. Working together new compounds were developed that could replace these chromate additives. Using accelerated weathering tests the best compounds were selected for trials on Beckers’ pilot-scale coating line. Steel was coated using the primers and will now be tested outdoors to see if the coating can outperform the older chromate paints.

For further information see http://bc.bangor.ac.uk/index.php.en