Experts around the globe are striving to find ways to break societies reliance on limited resources of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, and instead create an economy based on renewable raw materials and energy sources. This sustainable bio-economy includes a broad array of pursuits, affecting nearly every aspect of our society. British Columbia is in a unique position to accelerate and benefit from the transition because of the abundance of natural resources surrounding both the current fossil fuel economy, and the much more sustainable bio-economy.
I have been associated with the Pulp and Paper Centre at the University of British Columbia since 1990, and I certainly believe that the Centre is the leader in this transformation from a traditional pulp and paper industry to a bio-economy. I think we need to stop thinking of the pulp and paper industry as simply making paper, but rather as an ancient process that has evolved over 2000 years that releases two of the largest bio-polymers on earth – cellulose and lignin. We now need other venues besides paper for these polymers. The Center is vital in this area and is actively increasing the portfolio of products with the support and strong partnerships with industry, government and utilities. We are continuing to conduct innovative research and developing platform technologies for new materials such as MFC, for example. The future pulp and paper industry is exciting – it is becoming a producer of high tech bio-products that will make everything from nutraceuticals to high strength carbon fibre to jet fuel. This transformation and the path to becoming a strong bio-products industry is well documented in FPAC’s biopathways program.
There are exciting and positive initiatives happening at the Centre right now that will continue to make it the Provincial innovation and education partner for the pulp and paper industry. We provide specialized infrastructure, expertise and advanced education to attract the best and brightest talent. We are enthusiastically participating in the solution and I encourage you to find out more about our research, programs, faculty and students and to learn more about how you can benefit by participating with the Centre.
Mark Martinez, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Director, Pulp and Paper Centre
Video of presentation by previous PPC Director, James Olson, on the future of the pulp and paper industry and the role of the pulp and paper centre (click here)