15 September 2020

Frederik Diness receives Villum Experiment grant

Associate Professor Frederik Diness from the Department of Chemistry is among 15 SCIENCE researchers receiving grants to test their bold and strange research ideas. The projects have been selected among nearly 500 applications that have been through an anonymous selection process.

Frederik Diness
Frederik Diness from the Department of Chemistry receives a Villum Experiment grant.

Frederik Diness receives the grant for the project 'Lignin mimetics – Polymer materials derived from tree that will degrade at land and in the sea': 

"Hard aromatic thermoplastics known from water bottles (PET), plastic coffee cups (PS), skylight windows (PC) and LEGO bricks (ABS) constitute 30-35% of the world’s plastic consumption (Figure 1). However, no biodegradable plastics of this type are available, which is why large amounts of these today end up as long term pollutants in the environment. Lignin is the largest source of natural aromatic biodegradable polymers (up to 1/3 of dry tree mass). This polymer is a heterogeneous powder material that cannot be melted and converted into plastic. Hence, the most of lignin isolated today (the major by-product of paper production) are burned as fuel. However, in recent years several methods for disassembling lignin into small molecules have been developed. In this project we will convert these small molecules into new types of hard aromatic thermoplastics. The structure of the polymers will mimic parts of natural lignin and the structure may thereby be degraded by organisms that feed on lignin", Frederik Diness explains. 

Villum Experiment recipients in 2020

The Villum Experiment grant is of DKK 1-2 millions and runs for up to two years, which means that the 15 SCIENCE-researchers all together will have almost 30 million DKK for their bold research ideas.

The researchers behind the 15 experiments, that have been selected out of 486 applications, consists of postdocs to professors.