Tuesday, 10 December, 12h30, MSG-024 Bernal Institute

Sustainable Carbon Materials and their Composites


Multifunctional nanostructured materials are finding application in a range of sectors such as energy production and storage, catalysis, sensing and biomedicine. Advanced carbon materials possess unique properties such as: high electrical conductivity, high chemical and thermal stability, low toxicity, and ease of chemical functionalisation. However, the vast majority of their synthetic routes involve petroleum based materials. This is a major problem of growing concern as these raw materials are obtained from non-renewable sources involving high energy consumption with ever increasing COemissions and environmental pollution. It is of utmost importance to find alternative sustainable sources for synthetizing these materials. Here, we consider biomass, in particular lignocellulose feedstocks which are advantageous compared to the other biomass sources, in that they are derived from non-edible parts of plants. Coupled to this, forestry, agricultural and agroindustrial lignocellulosic wastes are accumulated every year in large quantities without any valuable application. However, the aromatic structure of lignin enables great potential for valorization through the production of carbon materials via condensation of phenolic rings during pyrolysis.  The focus of this work is to produce new carbon materials at both the micron and nano scale. These materials can processed using a UL patented microwave heating process with associated dramatic reductions in carbon emissions. The materials are used to produce composites and nanocomposites for various engineering applications.


Dr Maurice N. Collins is a lecturer at the School of Engineering in Polymers and Tissue Engineering. He is a Principal Investigator at the Bernal Institute and the Health Research Institute at University of Limerick, in Ireland. Currently, he is the lead Principal Investigator and coordinator of the H2020 funded LIBRE consortium, the largest consortium on biobased carbon fibre research in Europe as well as being Co-PI on multiple national funded projects. He has broad research interests in polymeric materials for advanced engineering applications with current topics of interest including tissue scaffolds, biobased carbon precursor materials and the development of 3D printable polymers. Dr Collins has a strong track record in attracting industrially funded research with two licencing agreements and six patents in various stages of application. He has authored >70 ISI journal articles, the vast majority ranked in Q1/top decile journals. He is a reviewer for all the top journals in his field. He is editor of the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules and sits on the editorial board of Carbohydrate Polymers both published by Elsevier. He is proposal assessor for the Polish Academy of Science, Israeli Ministry of Science and H2020. He is the Course Director of the MSc in Biomedical Device Materials at UL and he has recently been awarded the Bernal Institute Senior researcher of the year for 2019. He has in excess of 2,400 citations with a current h-index of 25.


Tea/coffee will be available at 12h00

For further information, please contact: Mohammad.Rouhi@ul.ie