The BioComposites Centre has a long history of research into wood and wood based products. Established in 1989 as a spin out from the then department of Forestry and Wood Science at Bangor University BC was and remains an industry focused research facility. BC is at the forefront of research, development and commercial applications of biobased alternatives to synthetic materials.  Listed below are a few of the recent project the BioComposites Centre has been involved which have a bias towards timber.

Increasing the value of Welsh timber

The BioComposites Centre (BC) has recently recruited a new PhD graduate through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership to work with Clifford Jones Timber Limited. This two year partnership between industry and academia will help Clifford Jones Timber diversify their product range through development and adoption of innovative processing techniques.  If you think your company could benefit from such a collaboration have a look at the KTP website or contact Dr Graham Ormondroyd at BC (g.ormondroyd@bangor.ac.uk)

Building success in thermally modified wood

A thermally modified timber developed during collaborative research with local companies was used to clad Halen Mon’s new building on Anglesey. Larch from Welsh forests was thermally treated at the UKs only active thermal modification kiln, located here in Wales.  Dr Morwenna Spear, project manager at the BioComposites Centre will be talking about this project at our next Timber Cladding event on 5 February. Timber Cladding: design and installation for optimum performance.

Wooden telegraph poles of the future

Wooden telegraph / transmission poles that are used to distribute electricity are traditionally made from solid timber treated with creosote or another preservative to protect them from decay.  Increasing legal and environmental pressure is focusing efforts to find effective alternatives. BC is working with Pollywood Ltd with co-funding from Innovate UK to look at such an alternative.    Look out for project updates as and when these findings are made public.

How long will my timber frame house last?

In order to maintain and expand markets for bio-based building products we need performance data. For many “environmentally friendly” building materials not only is that data lacking but so too are suitable test methodologies to determine performance.  COST FP 1303 is an EU funded network which aims to address this issue to give suppliers and end-users better advice and information on decay, its prevention and remediation.

Is that mould on my kitchen ceiling dangerous?

Mould fungi are a hazard both to the appearance of buildings and also to the
health of those who live and work in them.  In 2015 The BioComposites Centre ran a summer training school with COST Action FP 1303, Performance of Bio-based Building Materials, on the biology, ecology, handling and assessment of mould fungi.  Further training opportunities and identification services are available, to find out more please contact Dr Simon Curling (s.curling@bangor.ac.uk) at The BioComposites Centre.

Funding Opportunities

SMART Suite of Programmes.

SMART provides a series of integrated programmes, SMARTInnovation, SMARTExpertise, SMARTCymru and SMART Partnerships (similar to KTPs) to support Welsh businesses to commercialise new products, processes and services.  The next closing date for SMART Partnerships is 15 February 2017 so if you are looking for a graduate to work on a specific project to develop a new product, process or service you need to start the process now. The next closing date for SMARTExpertise is 6 March 2017.

Innovate UK

Business and research organisations can apply for funding competitions to help develop their innovations, it may be worth you signing up to their newsletter to get updates on current on future funding calls.  These are collaborative projects so you will need to look at building a consortium of companies and research providers or look to joining an existing consortium.

Knowledge Technology Partnerships (KTPs)

KTPs are a fantastic opportunity to get a recent graduate into your company to help develop your business with the support of an academic partner and grant support through Innovate UK. The scheme is typically for two years but “short” KTPs lasting six months are also available.  For timber related KTPs in association with Bangor University contact Dr Graham Ormondroyd (g.ormondroyd@bangor.ac.uk) or Tudur Williams (t.williams@bangor.ac.uk).