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. Fundamental studies are directed towards the modification of biopolymers following the principles of green chemistry and enhancing the understanding of the visco-elastic properties of biopolymer solutions and suspension.

The application focus of the group is on sustainable textiles and biobased carbon materials.
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:

Regulatory Paradigm and Challenge for Blockchain Integration of Decentralized Systems: Example—Renewable Energy Grids

Ernesto Barceló, Katarina Dimić-Mišić, Monir Imani, Vesna Spasojević Brkić, Michael Hummel, Patrick Gane 2023 Sustainability (Switzerland)

Polymer-Based n-Type Yarn for Organic Thermoelectric Textiles

Sozan Darabi, Chi Yuan Yang, Zerui Li, Jun Da Huang, Michael Hummel, Herbert Sixta, Simone Fabiano, Christian Müller 2023 Advanced Electronic Materials

Micro Nanofibrillated Cellulose as Functional Additive Supporting Processability of Surface-Active Mineral Suspensions: Exemplified by Pixel Coating of an NOx-Sorbent Layer

Katarina Dimic-Misic, Monireh Imani, Nemanja Barac, Djordje Janackovic, Petar Uskokovic, Ernest Barcelo, Patrick Gane 2023 Materials

Seasonal dynamics in structural characteristics within bark stems of cultivated willow (Salix sp.) by NMR and time-gated Raman spectroscopy

Jinze Dou, Martin Kögler, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Leena Pitkänen, Tapani Vuorinen 2023 Green Chemistry

Willow Bark-Derived Materials with Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Properties for Potential Wound Dressing Applications

Jinze Dou, Polina Ilina, Cristina D. Cruz, Denise Nurmi, Paula Zegarra Vidarte, Marja Rissanen, Päivi Tammela, Tapani Vuorinen 2023 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Birch fractionation in γ-valerolactone with the emphasis on pulp properties: prehydrolysis, acid-catalyzed, and alkaline-catalyzed concept

Marianna Granatier, Huy Quang Lê, Eva González Carmona, Herbert Sixta 2023 RSC Sustainability

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 2023 Cellulose

Efficient Isolation Method for Highly Charged Phosphorylated Cellulose Nanocrystals

Marcel Kröger, Olamide Badara, Timo Pääkkönen, Inge Schlapp-Hackl, Sami Hietala, Eero Kontturi 2023 Biomacromolecules

Discriminating the viscoelastic properties of cellulose textile fibers for recycling

Ella Mahlamäki, Inge Schlapp-Hackl, Marja Rissanen, Michael Hummel, Mikko Mäkelä 2023 Resources, Conservation and Recycling

Selected Kraft lignin fractions as precursor for carbon foam: Structure-performance correlation and electrochemical applications

Jéssica S. Rodrigues, Amanda De S.M. de Freitas, Cristiane C. Maciel, Chamseddine Guizani, Davide Rigo, Marystela Ferreira, Michael Hummel, Mikhail Balakshin, Vagner R. Botaro 2023 International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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