Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering

The Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering group explores the structural features and thermochemical behavior of biopolymer solutions and suspensions to produce value-added products.
Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering, photo: Valeria Azovskaya
photo by: Valeria Azovskaya

Group's research areas are:

  1. Bio-based carbon material:
    Wood-derived polymers and other biopolymers are subjected to tailored pyrolysis protocols to produce bio-based carbon material. The main applications targeted are carbon fibers, carbon material for energy harvesting and storage, and carbon catalysts for chemical reactions.
  2. Rheological behavior of biopolymer solutions and suspensions:
    Traditional and novel solvent systems are explored to dissolve various biopolymers and non-polymeric constituents. The solutions or suspensions are characterized by a comprehensive set of rheological tools (shear, capillary and extensional rheometers).
  3. Biopolymer-based fibers and yarns for functionalized textiles:
    Cellulosic and other biopolymeric fibers are modified following the twelve principles of green chemistry. Functionalized textiles are developed together with Aalto University’s textile engineers and designers.

The team led by Prof. Michael Hummel studies various biosynthesized polymers such as lignocellulose, non-plant based carbohydrates, and polypeptides using a comprehensive set of analytical tools and processing equipment.

Related content:

Four years and lots of tears – three experts tell how they succeeded in making the change

Many entrepreneurs and researchers set their goals based on a realisation that something needs to be done differently. The change they envision might be a new product or material, or it can be a new way to do things. Implementing change isn’t always easy, however, and it demands a stomach for uncertainty, say Professor Michael Hummel and entrepreneurs Annu Nieminen and Richard Nordström.

Piirroskuvitus Aalto University Magazinen kansista. Kuvassa on kaksi ihmishahmoa kävelemässä, taustalla erilaisia ympäristöjä mm. kaupunki, metsä, vuoristo. Kuvittaja: Satu Kettunen.

Aalto University Bioinnovation Centre launching

Aalto University’s Bioinnovation Centre will be established with the grant amounting over 10 million euros received from Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. Bioinnovation Centre will start its operation in 2021 by the recruitment of a professor enabled by the grant and opening the first call for the doctoral school supported by the grant.

Aalto-yliopiston logo

Professor Michael Hummel awarded a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council

The ERC grant facilitates the commercialisation of developments that evolved from ERC-funded research projects.

Professor Michael Hummel

Michael Hummel: Sustainable and renewable materials will replace oil-based products

Researchers need to be team players, says Professor of Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering.

Michael Hummel, kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi

Michael Hummel appointed as Associate Professor

Michael Hummel will start in the beginning of May, 2019.

Michael Hummel ja Kristiina Kruus allekirjoittamassa sopimusta

Michael Hummel knows breakthrough research is hardly ever a one-man show

Postdoc researcher thinks that cutting-edge research requires a multi-disciplinary group of highly qualified and highly motivated partners.

Michael smiling in Dipoli building

Seven-figure grant for researcher producing carbon fibre from wood

Michael Hummel, the recipient of the much sought-after ERC Starting Grant, knows that there is a great need for more affordable carbon fibre.

The ERC is funding ground-breaking, cutting edge research. What is needed for opening up new paths?

‘Cooperations that allow for a multi-disciplinary approach are very central. In addition to experts in wood chemistry and forest products technology, we have various specialists in engineering and other sciences’, says Michael Hummel.

Latest publications:

Effect of Surface Modification on the Pulmonary and Systemic Toxicity of Cellulose Nanofibrils

Kukka Aimonen, Mira Hartikainen, Monireh Imani, Satu Suhonen, Gerard Vales, Carlos Moreno, Hanna Saarelainen, Kirsi Siivola, Esa Vanhala, Henrik Wolff, Orlando J. Rojas, Hannu Norppa, Julia Catalan 2022 Biomacromolecules

Surface functionalization and size modulate the formation of reactive oxygen species and genotoxic effects of cellulose nanofibrils

Kukka Aimonen, Monireh Imani, Mira Hartikainen, Satu Suhonen, Esa Vanhala, Carlos Moreno, Orlando J. Rojas, Hannu Norppa, Julia Catalán 2022 Particle and Fibre Toxicology

Biowaste-derived electrode and electrolyte materials for flexible supercapacitors

Yazan Al Haj, Seyedabolfazl Mousavihashemi, Daria Robertson, Maryam Borghei, Timo Pääkkönen, Orlando J. Rojas, Eero Kontturi, Tanja Kallio, Jaana Vapaavuori 2022 Chemical Engineering Journal

Understanding the current state-of-the-art of long-lasting insecticide nets and potential for sustainable alternatives

Sydney Brake, Diego Gomez-Maldonado, Michael Hummel, Sarah Zohdy, Maria S. Peresin 2022 Current Research in Parasitology and Vector-Borne Diseases

Wood lignocellulosic stabilizers: effect of their characteristics on stability and rheological properties of emulsions

Thao Minh Ho, Felix Abik, Sami Hietala, Estefania Isaza Ferro, Leena Pitkänen, Dennis W. Juhl, Thomas Vosegaard, Petri O. Kilpeläinen, Kirsi S. Mikkonen 2022 Cellulose

Thermo-Reversible Cellulose Micro Phase-Separation in Mixtures of Methyltributylphosphonium Acetate and γ-Valerolactone or DMSO

Ashley J. Holding, Jingwen Xia, Michael Hummel, Harry Zwiers, Matti Leskinen, Daniel Rico del Cerro, Sami Hietala, Martin Nieger, Marianna Kemell, Jussi K.J. Helminen, Vladimir Aseyev, Heikki Tenhu, Ilkka Kilpeläinen, Alistair W.T. King 2022 ChemPhysChem

Achieving a Superhydrophobic, Moisture, Oil and Gas Barrier Film Using a Regenerated Cellulose–Calcium Carbonate Composite Derived from Paper Components or Waste

Monireh Imani, Katarina Dimic-Misic, Mirjana Kostic, Nemanja Barac, Djordje Janackovic, Petar Uskokovic, Aleksandra Ivanovska, Johanna Lahti, Ernest Barcelo, Patrick Gane 2022 Sustainability

Extending waste paper, cellulose and filler use beyond recycling by entering the circular economy creating cellulose-CaCO3 composites reconstituted from ionic liquid

Mirjana Kostic, Monireh Imani, Aleksandra Ivanovska, Vesna Radojevic, Katarina Dimic-Misic, Nemanja Barac, Dusica Stojanovic, Djordje Janackovic, Petar Uskokovic, Ernest Barcelo, Patrick Gane 2022 Cellulose

Facilitating the future of sustainable textiles and packaging: Aalto University Bioinnovation Center

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Michael Hummel, Susanna Ahola, Greta Salonen 2022

Chemically Accelerated Stabilization of a Cellulose-Lignin Precursor as a Route to High Yield Carbon Fiber Production

Nguyen-Duc Le, Mikaela Trogen, Russell J. Varley, Michael Hummel, Nolene Byrne 2022 Biomacromolecules
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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