Cellulose Valley, a new chair in industrial excellence

A new industrial excellence chair has been signed in the framework of the Grenoble INP Foundation. Dedicated to cellulose, the chair is held by Julien Bras, teacher at Grenoble INP – Pagora, UGA, and researcher at LGP2*.

When it comes to cellulose, Julien Bras knows a thing or two! A graduate of ENSIACET, the chemical engineering school at Toulouse INP, he completed his thesis at LCAI**, in collaboration with Ahlstrom, on the development of new bio-sourced packaging made from parchment paper and cellulose derivatives. He was then recruited for the role of innovation manager by Ahlstrom, and was sent to Normandy to develop a specific form of paper for sites in Finland, Italy and France.

In 2006, Julien Bras became a lecturer at Grenoble INP – Pagora, UGA, and researcher at LGP2, where he focused more specifically on developments in the field of biomaterials and functional paper. His research there led to the publication of more than 180 papers and 15 patents. He picked up numerous awards and distinctions in 13 years (junior member of IUF Academic Institute of France, IMT Hope by the French Academy of Science, the International Award from the TAPPI International Nanotechnology Division, etc.), before heading to Switzerland for 2 years with Nestlé Research to take part in the creation of a packaging science institute. Thanks to this new experience in the industrial sector, Julien Bras returned to Grenoble INP brimming with project ideas. Among his projects, the development of the School’s international relations and an international Master in biorefinery and biomaterials, in addition to the creation of an Industrial Excellence Chair, led by Grenoble INP and dedicated to cellulose!

Named “Cellulose Valley”, the new chair is supported by several companies: DS Smith (manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions); Ahlstrom Munksjö (one of the global leading players in sustainable and innovative fiber-based solutions); Alphaform, part of the Guillin Group (molded cellulose), and CITEO, a mission-driven company working to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and paper. “The aim is to develop new packaging from cellulose, and thus replace plastic”, says Julien Bras, the holder of the Chair. “We are already planning to fund two theses, two postdoctorates and some twenty work placements for Master students.” Watch this space!

*Laboratoire Génie des Procédés Papetiers [Engineering laboratory for paper-making processes] (Grenoble INP – UGA, Grenoble INP – Pagora, UGA)
**Laboratoire de Chimie Agro-Industrielle [Agro-Industrial Chemical Laboratory] (INRAE, Toulouse INP)

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