• Staff writer


Three South African researchers have made it to the shortlist of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards, launched in 2016 to recognise innovations being developed in the global forestry sector.

Justin Phillips and Hester Oosthuizen, both from the University of Pretoria, and Eddie Barnard from the University of Stellenbosch, will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their work at a roundtable virtual discussion on 29 April 2021, to be held under the auspices of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations.

Barnard is exploring the commercial viability of using technical lignin to make composite materials; Phillips has looked at how starch and nano-cellulose can be used as a carrier material for pesticide application in the horticultural sector, and Oosthuizen has examined the efficacy of using choline chloride and ionic liquids, considered greener and less volatile, to make cellulose fluid which produces cellulose-based materials using existing polymer processing techniques.

As a sustainably farmed resource that stores carbon, wood is increasingly being used in the built environment and for its cellulose, lignin and sugars. These elements all have a role in helping the world find renewable and low carbon alternatives to plastic, chemicals, steel and concrete.

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa promotes the renewability and recyclability of paper products that are used daily.


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