On September 18 to 20, 2018, delegates from around the world will congregate at Alberta Innovate’s facilities in Edmonton, Alberta where PAPTAC will be hosting the first International Lignin Conference. Researchers, industry representatives, government officials and business executives are invited to discuss and showcase recent developments in all aspects of lignin chemistry, lignin production, and commercial utilization.
The transition from the current fossil-based to a bio-based economy is justified for several reasons, including environmental concerns like climate change, environmental pollution, health and safety, and the finite nature of oil resources. The exponential world demand for bio-based chemicals has primarily been centered on agro-based solutions putting pressure on food security, but over the past ten years, there has been a resurgence of interest in forest-based chemicals and, as a result of this renewed attention, efficient, selective, and sustainable processes have been developed for the extraction of wood-based chemicals.
As a matter of fact, noteworthy progress has been made in elucidating lignin structure and lignin reactivity for purified lignins extracted from residual pulping liquors (e.g. LignoForceTM system) or other forest biomass processing operations, such as FPInnovations TMP-BIO technology. This technology will be running at Resolute Forest Product Thunder Bay (Ontario) facility, producing 1 ton per week of second generation sugars as well as 1 ton per week of Hydrolysis lignin.
As the sector progresses, it continues to move toward commercial development with the manufacturing of value-added lignin products addressing new market needs and directly competing with petroleum-based counterparts. This progression allows for the recruitment of additional players all along the existing and new value chains, mainly in the applications of innovative bioproducts, to develop emerging markets.
With confirmation of a significant industry interest in lignin, it was decided to organize a lignin-focused conference. “Abstracts from all over the world have been submitted; solicited speakers, members of the organizing and program committees, and numerous session chairs have all happily accepted,” says Michael Paleologou (Program Chair for the conference and lead scientist in the Innovative Bioproducts Centre of Excellence at FPInnovations). “We have put together an excellent program that covers all aspects of lignin targeted not only at research organizations, but also industry and business.” Not exclusively an academic conference, it’s expected that many people from industry, major chemical companies and manufacturers of products such as adhesives, polyurethane foams and thermoplastics will be in attendance. Sessions will cover supply chain topics including process integration, production and market end-use applications. Leading scientists from all around the world, including plenary speaker Professor Wolfgang Glasser, a pioneer in the field of lignin, will speak about their most recent findings on lignin recovery and use.
The final day of the conference will feature a tour of West Fraser’s Hinton, Alberta pulp facility and its 30 tons per day commercial-scale LignoForceTM production facility. The LignoForceTM technology was developed at FPInnovations by a team led by Michael Paleologou in partnership with NORAM Engineering & Constructors Ltd.
West Fraser Hinton’s Lignin production line is the result of an upscale of FPInnovations demonstration plant located at the Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay (Ontario) facility. Since Hinton’s production line started in the spring of 2016, the plant has undergone modifications and upgrades resulting in an excellent design, attracting world-wide attention.
Michael notes the importance for young people to attend the International Lignin Conference in September. “Bioproducts won’t happen overnight,” explains Michael. “It might take years to be used widely so it’s important to motivate young people to get into the bioproducts field.” Conference organizers hope to attract the attention of the younger generation with lower registration fees for students and a poster component, a good opportunity for students to exhibit their work.
With so much opportunity in the field of lignin, there is a critical need for collaboration among all supply chain actors. The conference will help facilitate information sharing between academia, research organizations, and industry from around the world to be better positioned to create a new industry and integrate lignin into existing supply chain business. This inaugural event will provide a great platform for further developing a global lignin culture.
For more information visit www.ligninconference.com.
Please note that space is limited. Register today!