Advanced Papermaking Initiative (API)

DSC_3319The mission of the Advanced Papermaking Initiative (API) is to enhance post-secondary education and research for the paper industry of British Columbia.

The program is housed in the UBC-Pulp and Paper Centre and is governed by a Director and a Steering committee of industry stakeholders. The Director of the Program is Professor Mark Martinez (CHBE).

Contact info:
Dr. Mark Martinez
API Director
Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering,
Email: martinez@chbe.ubc.ca
Phone: 604.822-2693

The API was formed in 1998 to address BC’s lack of expertise in its post-secondary system in the field of papermaking engineering and paper. The Initiative supported the creation of two faculty positions at UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and one at BCIT’s. These positions were filled in 1999. The API faculty members are engaged in Teaching, Research and Service activities. The two faculty members at UBC have achieved wide, international recognition for their scholarly activities. They are outstanding educators and participate effectively in various academic affairs at the University. At BCIT, the emphasis is on teaching but the API faculty member is a key participant in the UBC research programs in Applied Science and Forestry. The API faculty members have created a team that has had a direct positive impact to the Province in the following ways:

1.  Teaching of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP): API Faculty have developed and teach courses on papermaking at the undergraduate and graduate level.

  1. During its first 10 years of existence the Program was able to graduate (5 PhDs, 13 Masters students)
  2. The program contributed to the training of 35 graduate students through the teaching of advanced courses in papermaking.
  3. The program contributed to the training of over 100 undergraduate students at UBC through the teaching of specialized courses in papermaking. For example, CHBE 401 ranks as one of the most popular undergraduate elective courses offered in 2007/08 with 60 students.
  4. Training of about 17 Coop students through participation in research programs.
  5. A course to University of Victoria Engineering students is taught once a year that has an average enrollment of about 12 students per year.
  6. At BCIT 110, students in the Chemical Sciences Program (Pulp and Paper option) were trained.
  7. An annual introductory course is offered to newly hired engineers and Coop students in BC’s paper and allied industry’s (24 students per year).
  8. Two introductory courses were delivered at the University of Northern BC (150 students)
  9. Courses have been delivered directly to personnel at pulp and paper companies in BC

It is important to note that a number of the undergraduate student trainees have been retained by the industry and given the current demographics, the need for these engineers can only increase.

2.   Research to advance papermaking engineering and to support BC Industry: Research carried out under the supervision of the API’s faculty contributes supports the industry in BC to stay competitive by contributing engineering solutions in the areas of energy efficiency and production of high-value paper. It is important to recognize that the need for engineering solutions is more acute due to the lack of capital to invest in new machinery and equipment.

  1. API faculty have established internationally recognized research programs in the area of papermaking engineering.
  2. Well funded from external sources (over 5 million dollars)
  3. The work has been recognized with National and Provincial awards e.g.  2008 BC Innovation Council – BCIC Lieutenant Governor’s award for Innovation; 2007 NSERC Synergy Award for partnership and innovation.
  4. Outstanding record of scholarly activities (over 100 publications in highly regarded National and International Scientific Journals)
  5. The impact API’s work on the paper industry in BC has been tremendous and has been documented to result in savings of a few million dollars per year.
  6. Currently a coordinated effort to reduce direct energy consumption in the province by 20%.

At a time where BC’s industry needs enhancement of its R&D efforts [1], it would be a step in the opposite direction if programs such as the API cease to operate.

Finally, the importance of the paper industry to BC highlights further the significance of the API.

The Importance of the Paper Industry to BC. The pulp and paper industry is strategically important to the success of the Province of British Columbia. The Economic benefits to the province are staggering[2]:

  1. More than $4 billion of annual economic benefits to British Columbia.
  2. Over 10,000 direct jobs, and 20,000 indirect jobs from the pulp and paper industry.
  3. An annual industry payroll of $1 billion, making pulp and paper the second highest paying industry in the province.
  4. $600 million per year in contributions to all three levels of government through taxes and assessments, as well as from employees in the industry.
  5. The towns where pulp and paper mills are located benefit from municipal taxes and employment, as well as the industry’s support of local activities and infrastructure.
  6. The pulp and paper industry contributes more than $1.5 billion to the solid wood sector, as the single largest customer of residual chips (by-products) from the sawmilling.  Without a viable pulp and paper industry, it is impossible to have a viable forestry industry.
  7. Strong consulting, technical and associated supplier industry.
  8. 22 Facilities in 18 communities across BC.
  9. $211 Million annual capital investment (over the past 5 years)
  10. Purchase 8.3 Million megawatt hours of electricity and produces 4.3 million megawatts of green biomass.

Service to the University and External Community. The API faculty members are active participants in University affairs (e.g. graduate student advisor, Associate Head). They have also achieved a high level of international recognition and participate in various external activities such as being external PhD examiners, journal and grant reviewer

[1] The BC Pulp and Paper Task Force recently created by the province and industry, has stated that: “The B.C. pulp and paper industry has fallen behind competitors in other regions in areas such as R&D, new technologies, government support and the formation of global companies. Strategic reinvestment encouraged by sound public policy could facilitate and accelerate the revitalization of the sector in B.C.”

[2] Price Waterhouse Cooper 2007