01. April 2019

WOOD: Student Camp in Linz and Lenzing a Success

From 25–28 January 2019 a “student camp” on the subject of biorefineries and industrial processes and products was held in Linz and Lenzing as part of the EU’s Bioenergytrain project. The participants came from nine European countries as well as North America and Africa. It is worth providing a review of the event from the points of view of the students and the organizers.

Review from the students’ point of view 

The student camp covered various key issues of bio-based industry in a very dynamic atmosphere. Experts from science and industry presented the latest developments in a number of lectures. During interactions between the participants and speakers, contributions from a wide variety of specialist fields were made because the internationally diverse participants represented many disciplines. They included chemists, process engineers and biotechnologists as well as bioeconomists and energy scientists. The lectures and discussions were accompanied by examples of practical application, demonstrated in short laboratory exercises.

Another highlight was the visit to the firm of Lenzing AG where, following a presentation of processes and products, a tour of the company premises provided interesting insights.

To sum up, we can say that the student camp was a great experience. It was also an invitation to look at particular tasks from a different angle and to devise innovative solution approaches.

Organizers’ assessment

The interest shown by the (PhD, master’s) students in the invitation issued by Wood K plus was indeed great. For organizational reasons, for instance relating to the practical activities and discussions with individual speakers at the flip chart in each session, numbers had to be limited to 35 students. In this way, highly individualized collaboration was organized with the participants from scientific-technical disciplines such as chemistry, biotechnology and engineering as well as resource management, economics and ecology.

For the event speakers and organizers, the days spent with the students were informative and rewarding: the students were not only keen to learn, but also helped develop scenarios for biorefinery technologies and discussed aspects of a bio-based economy and market opportunities.

They conducted experiments under the supervision of scientists from Wood K plus and attended lectures given by researchers from both university and industry that covered the entire range of topics relating to use of biomass as a material today, especially raw materials rich in lignocellulosics and the manufacture of functional products (cellulose and lignin products) and the ongoing development of platform chemicals and product development trees. Because of this broad sweep, our centre regards this event as work-intensive but worthwhile. The cooperation with Graz University of Technology was outstanding, which meant that the students were able to gain the corresponding credit points for the course in biorefinery engineering that is currently being prepared.

(C) Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH