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    PAPTAC - Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada


    PAPTAC Professional Development Course "Designing the Forest Biorefinery" a Great Success!

    altThe first-ever PAPTAC Professional Development course "Designing the Forest Biorefinery" was held 9-11 June 2013 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center in Vancouver, and was a great success. The 3-day biorefinery course targeted forestry company decision-making, and 19 expert faculty from across North America pitched-in to share their biorefinery experience with 6 different forest product companies and other industry professionals.  Participants ended the 3 days understanding better the complexities of the biorefinery, and more importantly, felt better-equipped to help their companies move forward carefully with its implementation. Perhaps the best part of the course was the exchange dynamic between faculty and students – a number of interesting issues were addressed in an informal manner.

    The theme of Day 1 was Advanced Biorefinery Fundamentals.  Course Leader Paul Stuart of École Polytechnique and EnVertis Consulting opened-up with a survey of how forestry companies are using a phased approach to setting biorefinery strategy in order to mitigate technical and economic risk, followed by Jean Hamel of FPInnovations who described success factors for managing biorefinery innovation, Adriaan van Heiningen of the University of Maine overviewed wood chemistry as it pertains to biorefinery development, and finally Shijie Liu of SUNY ESF and Jim Frederick of Table Mountain Consulting described biochemical and thermochemical conversion technology fundamentals, respectively.

    The Day 2 theme was Setting Biorefinery Strategy. Virginie Chambost of EnVertis Consulting opened by presenting the product design side of the biorefinery and market risk analysis to select the best long-term biorefinery strategy, followed by Mike Rushton of Lignol who described how to mitigate risk with diversified product portfolios, and Louis Patrick Dansereau of KSH who described the critical importance of supply chain management for the forest biorefinery in order to create long-term competitive advantage.  Warren Mabee of Queen’s University tackled the prickly subject of government policy and its impact on advancing the implementation of biorefinery technologies - which precipitated significant interested discussion - followed by Tom Browne of FPInnovations who overviewed biorefinery issues from a process perspective (leaving the crowd with just one word:  plastics!), and Adriaan van Heiningen presented a biobutanol case study. Day 2 wrapped-up with a thorough review and critical analysis of success factors of different biorefinery implementations that are underway in the marketplace at the commercial, demonstration and pilot scales by Ben Thorp of the Bioenergy Deployment Consortium (BDC).

    As if this wasn’t already enough valuable information, Day 3 addressed Biorefinery Techno-Economics and Case Studies. The day started-off with a discussion of experience curve evaluations by Paul Stuart and how companies can estimate future capital and operating costs of biorefinery processes under development, and then Shabnam Sanaei of École Polytechnique and EnVertis Consulting spoke on evaluating and comparing different biorefinery strategies considering risk and sustainability.  Éric Soucy of CanmetENERGY addressed the critical issue of energy planning and how this can be optimized relative to biorefinery implementation, showing various tools that have been developed by Natural Resources Canada to facilitate this analysis.  Then came an interesting focus on lignin:  Per Tomani of Innventia presented the state-of-the-art LignoBoost Process, and Michael Paleologou of FPInnovations presented the LignoForce Process. There was interesting discussion on process risks and solutions, as well as promising lignin products for today and tomorrow. Gopal Goyal of International Paper overviewed techno-economics of different value prior to pulping (VPP) processes, followed by a couple of case studies underlining great opportunities with hot water extraction by Tom Amidon of SUNY-ESF considering furfural, nanocellulose, and lignin products.  Finally Eemeli Hytönen of VTT described their process of biorefinery techno-economic evaluation using hydroxy acid separation from black liquor as a case study, and finally a down-and-dirty description by Doug Freeman of NewPage concerning the success and failure factors associated with the Project Independence gasification initiative at the Wisconsin Rapids mill.

    If you are excited by this course but were unable to attend in Vancouver – don’t worry!  It will be given a second time in conjunction with TAPPI’s  International Bioenergy and Bioproducts Conference this September in Green Bay WI.

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