UBC partnership with Lee and Man looks towards the new bio-economy

The Pulp and Paper Centre at the University of British Columbia recently entered into a research partnership with paper manufacturing giant Lee and Man of Hong Kong.  The research is aimed at creating new technologies and processes to convert fast growing, renewable bio-mass into high value chemicals and materials.  The research aims to optimize and improve product quality in their current bio-conversion process to make it more cost-effective, thereby increasing their ability to make the most of this renewable resource. Lee and Man have provided over $500,000 in support of the partnership, which will continue through the end of 2015.

Professors Rodger Beatson and Mark Martinez in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering will investigate three key areas – the first will look at novel applications of catalytic agents in the conversion process; the second will look at minimizing natural contamination and the third will look specifically at optimizing the mill operations at Lee and Man’s Chongqing Mill with the intent of increasing both product quality and yield. In the future, technologies developed may be used to create entirely new materials, such as polymers and plastics from these renewable resources, replacing the fossil based materials and plastics currently in use today.

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to partner with Lee and Man,” said James Olson, Director of the Pulp and Paper Centre. “This research aligns with our own objectives of developing sustainable technologies for the conversion of climate neutral, renewable resources into a broad range of high value bio-chemicals and bio-materials. The opportunity to take our research to mill scale is invaluable in effecting global industrial change.”

The Pulp and Paper Centre at UBC is a leading research centre focussed on developing new technologies and processes for the conversion of renewable resources into a broad spectrum of bio-materials, chemicals, fuels and products that displace our reliance on conventional fossil based chemicals, materials and fuels.  UBC and the Pulp and Paper Centre are strongly committed to supporting the transformation from a fossil economy to the emerging bio-economy, to ensure global sustainability and prosperity.

“The future implications for this research are limitless, and can affect many other industrial sectors beyond paper and textiles,” says Olson. “We hope very much to use our knowledge in the PPC to create a sustainable future for everyone.”

more information contact
James Olson,
Director, Pulp and Paper Centre
Email: James.Olson@ubc.ca

Photo credit Martin Dee
Right to LeftProf. Rodger Beatson, Zhaoyang Yuan, Lingfeng Zhao. Harry Chang