Martin Lawoko

Martin Lawoko

My Research

The forest bio-refinery research initiative is targeted, amongst other things, at getting new valuable products from biomass as replacements for fossil related products with similar characteristics/functions. Pre-extracted hemicelluloses and lignin from wood may provide a source for a variety of these products, e.g. ethanol, phenols, carbon fibres, organic acids etc. However, the chemical composition of the pre-extracts is a heterogeneous mix of other species, including organic acids, wood extractives, resins and secondary degradation products. One of the challenges is to develop new novel methods for the isolation/separation, purification and analysis of all species present in the heterogeneous mix, and further analyses of the products made from them. This forms the core of my current research.

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In Other Words

I work on ways to “see” bonds and linkages in wood, analyzing cell wall structures and linkages so wood fibers might be successfully separated and then later recombined as new products, new products that do not contain petroleum. My research works to free lwood elements and separate them so that each be used to create new wood bioproducts.  The key to really using wood as a renewable resource…a substitute for fossil fuel… is how we break the fiber bonds to release the potential of wood’s core (literally) elements.

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Contact Information

5737 Jenness Hall, Room 301
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
tel: (207) 581-2295