Workshop “Biocomposites for Technical Applications” in Canada
The development of new production methods for bioplastics, the avoidance of plastic waste in the oceans, and the commercialization of new products based on renewable raw materials for technical applications formed the focus of the international workshop “Biocomposites for Technical Applications” in London, Canada. The workshop was organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI and the Hochschule Hannover, University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
At the invitation of scientists from the Fraunhofer WKI Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET® and the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites IfBB, more than 30 representatives from Canadian economics, politics and industry discussed current and future challenges in the field of biopolymers, bioplastics, natural fibers, and bio-based composites.
The main focus of the presentation series lay in the development and commercialization of new products based on renewable raw materials for technical applications, for example in the automotive and packaging industries. In addition, the development of new technologies for the production, processing and testing of biopolymers and biocomposite materials with optimized material-specific properties was presented. The active participation of the industry representatives encouraged discussions on the market situation in Canada and Germany. Important points of the workshop included the development of new manufacturing and processing methods for the various bio-based polymer materials, as well as effective disposal and recycling procedures worldwide. The discussion regarding waste in the oceans played a special role: Not only the waste sources and solution approaches but also international standards for the classification of deployed recycling scenarios and a global wording concerning the topic triggered a lively discussion among the participants.
In addition to the content aspects, funding programs which support German-Canadian cooperation in research projects were also presented during the workshop. Contact persons from the funding organizations took part in the workshop and answered the questions raised by the participants during the discussions or in personal dialogs.
The workshop was organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI in collaboration with the Hochschule Hannover, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the Fraunhofer Project Centre at Western University, and GreenCentre Canada. Funding for the event was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) via the funding programs “Ländertage des BMBF”. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) was responsible for the project management. The workshop is part of the growing research activities between the Fraunhofer WKI and Canadian partners. The cooperation has resulted in, for example, the regular co-organization of the “International Symposium on Bioplastics, Biocomposites and Biorefining ISBBB” with the University of Guelph. Furthermore, researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI are working together with the University of Guelph on the BMBF project “DeFiCoat”, the aim of which is to increase the thermal stability of natural fibers.
The positive resonance regarding the workshop has strengthened the cooperation between German and Canadian researchers. This has enabled the creation of a valuable basis for bilateral research projects in which the researchers can work together on current international issues.