The first International Lignin Conference, organized by PAPTAC, in partnership with FPInnovations, West Fraser – Hinton Pulp and Alberta Innovates, was held September 18-20, 2018 at the Alberta Innovates/InnoTech Alberta facilities in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The event was attended by 170 participants from 14 different countries and 5 different continents, from which several key participants from industry (>50% of the registered delegates) while 40% came from the research community, and the balance from government funding agencies and consulting companies.
Over the course of the first two days, there were 9 sessions in which 45 papers were presented covering all aspects of lignin including: production, process integration, characterization, applications, depolymerization, modification, markets and decision-making. Furthermore, 20 posters were displayed in the foyer of the venue for the duration of the conference. The two-day program of presentations, posters and interactive dialogue brought together the views of researchers, experts, academia, industry, and other stakeholders and players, and concluded with a site visit to the first installation of the LignoForce System™ at West Fraser – Hinton Pulp’s mill. During this visit, the delegates had a unique opportunity to see the LignoForce SystemTM in operation producing lignin tailored to the specifications of a client, ask questions, compare notes, discuss new value chains and perhaps imagine a world with over 300 such systems operating around the clock producing green and sustainable products for hundreds of applications in all areas of human endeavor.
Opening remarks were given by Keith Carter, VP Pulp & Energy Operations, West Fraser and Professor Wolfgang Glasser, Virginia Tech, a pioneer in the lignin field, who discussed “Opportunities and challenges of lignin utilization as biopolymer”. Seven other invited keynote speakers shared their expertise, knowledge and rich experience with the audience in specific areas of lignin chemistry and/or utilization. The three days of the Conference were very fruitful in terms of generating new ideas, establishing new contacts and acquiring a renewed confidence in lignin and its boundless potential.
Michael Paleologou, Lead Scientist in FPInnovations’ Biomass Conversion Group, acted as program chair for the conference. “We have put together an excellent program that covers all aspects of lignin targeted not only at research organizations, but also industry and business”, he mentioned. Michael, who has been very much involved in the venue of the event, also had the opportunity to make the closing remarks during the Conference dinner during which he thanked all those who contributed in making the First PAPTAC International Lignin Conference a success including all delegates for their presence and active participation.
FPInnovations was also well represented with numerous scientists presenting or co-authoring papers as part of the different sessions in topics such as lignin extraction from pulping liquors or other biomass processing operations, lignin analysis and characterization methodology, lignin applications and products (phenolic resins, thermoplastics and coatings), lignin depolymerization and modification as well as lignin markets, process integration and decision-making. These included Changbin Mao, Martin Feng, Yaolin Zhang, Chuanwei Miao, Gary Li, Mohan Konturi in papers co-authored by as many as twenty other FPInnovations scientists.
If you would like to get more information on one of these topics or on our lignin program, please contact FPInnovations’ Michael Paleologou