The Forest Bioproducts Division of the
Chemical Engineers Building Better Lives
The Forest Bioproducts Division of the
Chemical Engineers Building Better Lives
We are a Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for those interested in advancing their skills and knowledge pertaining to forest bioproducts, including energy and chemical from biomass using many different processes. Our scope includes technical issues related to biofuels, biorefineries, biomass processing, pulp and paper technology, black liquor recovery (a biofuel from forest byproducts in the paper industry), etc. Recently our programming has been dominated by the growing interest in sustainable energy from forest products, especially biorefineries that convert cellulose or other woody components into energy sources such as biodiesel or ethanol.
Formerly known as the Forest Products Division, our name was changed in April 2008 with AIChE approval to better emphasize our historical activities around bioproducts. For years, the Division has been sponsoring programming on bioproducts, biomass, biofuels, etc. After all, the forest products industries, especially the pulp and paper industries, have long relied on recovered energy from biomass and have been at the forefront of extracting value from lignocellulosic materials. For example, much of the technical know-how in conversion of cellulose to ethanol has come from engineers and scientists in forest products, such as the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, which began work on obtaining ethanol from cellulose roughly one century ago. Now we have adjusted our name to better reflect who we've been for a long time.
The AIChE Annual Meeting, with over 4,000 attendees from all over the world expected to attend, will be held November 3-8 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA. The theme is "Global Challenges for Engineering a Sustainable Future." If you want to know the future of chemical engineering, attend this conference. If you want to know the future of forest products engineering, attend our programming at this conference. The Forest Bioproducts Division in cooperation with several AIChE groups is sponsoring technical programming that covers the gamut of the broad supply chain related to forest bioproducts. Here are the sessions we are sponsoring in 2013:
The 2012 Annual Meeting was held October 28 - November 2 in Pittsburgh. It may have been the biggest and best AIChE Annual Meeting ever, with hundreds of sessions and over 4,000 participants from all over the world. The Forest Products Division offered strong array of technical sessions covering the most important parts of the supply chain for forest bioproducts and key areas of recent progress.
Here is the AIChE.org link to the Forest Bioproducts Division 2012 Programming Summary (https://aiche.confex.com/aiche/2012/webprogram/17.html). Also see the Biofuels Programming Area in the 2012 International Congress on Energy (ICE). The Division and its members are very active in supporting the International Congress on Energy. There is rich technical content available in these sessions. Thanks to the many session chairs and speakers participating!
The 2011 Annual Meeting was another fabulous event for the Division. Our Division contributed over 100 papers and cosponsored many others in partnership with other divisions across numerous sessions. Many aspects of biofuels and biorefineries were explored. These sessions included a multidisciplinary plenary session on sustainability, the collaborative work of three AIChE divisions, in which our Vice Chair, Shri Ramaswamy, was one of the honored invited speakers.
A highlight of our Division activities was our Annual Business Meeting and Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the King and I Thai Restaurant, where we had approximately 50 in attendance. At this meeting, we presented Dr. Thomas Wegner of the Forest Products Laboratory with the 2011 Andrew Chase Award and heard from him. We also had a keynote speech from Tom Lindquist, Chief Operating Officer of Plum Creek Corporation, a major forest bioproducts company and the largest private landholder in the United States (NYSE: PCL). Tom shared their vision of forest bioproducts, including energy and fuel, as an essential tool in solving major sustainability challenges in the future.
Many thanks to all our speakers and chairs and to our Program Chair for 2011, Dr. B.V. Ramarao, who provided the overarching vision for our sessions spanning the entire value chain for forest bioproducts. That structure will be maintained for 2012. As a result of our recent election, Dr. Ramarao has been unanimously voted in as our new Chair of the Division as Jeff Lindsay (still your humble webmaster) steps down after 4 years in that role to become the Outgoing Chair. The new Program Chair to replace Dr. Ramarao is Dr. Shijie Liu of SUNY-ESF, a leader who has extensive experience in leading and organizing sessions for the Division.
The Division has an annual award which is given to recognize service to the Division and to the forest products industry. The award is typically presented at our annual business meeting during the AIChE Annual Meeting. The 2012 Andrew Chase Award went to Jeff Lindsay, outgoing Chair of the Forest Bioproducts Division, for leadership over the Division from 2007 to 2011. The 2011 Andrew Chase Award was given to Dr. Theodore Wegner, Assistant Director for the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, for his significant contributions in nanotechnology relevant to forest bioproducts. The 2010 Andrew Chase Award went to Dr. Gopal A. Krishnagopalan of Auburn University for many years of service to the forest bioproducts industry and for excellence in research, education, and service to the industry.
Jeff Lindsay, currently with Asia Pulp and Paper in Shanghai, China, has stepped down as Chair after 4 years of service. As a result of our recent election, a new chair was voted in without opposition: Dr. Bandaru Ramarao of SUNY-ESF. Dr. Ramarao, as noted above, has been serving as our Program Chair, a role that is being taken over by Dr. Shijie Liu. The Vice Chair, Shri Ramaswami, will continue in the position.
Working with the Forest Bioproducts Division as Chair these past 4 years has been an honor and a delight. Service in the Division, as with service in AIChE in general, leads to many opportunities to learn and to appreciate the work of the organization and the great people who are contributing to it. The Forest Bioproducts Division really has been on the cutting edge of important programming and information sharing on topics that we recognized as vital long before they became so popular. We've seen the rise and fall of many different approaches and, with our collective experience, have a lot to contribute in finding wise engineering approaches to guide projects, policies, and people for decades to come. This is an exciting time to be a chemical engineer, and the talents and perspectives we develop through involvement with the Forest Bioproducts Division are especially needed for sane, sustainable solutions to national and global problems.
This is a great time for the Division as our mission and work of the past decade becomes more relevant and valuable every day. Bioenergy and advanced bioproducts from forest resources and other renewable resources are becoming more important. Thanks to chemical engineers like those in our Division, bioenergy and other forest bioproducts will play an ever-increasing role in the future.
I encourage you to become a dues-paying member (just $9 a year) and get involved in our programming, our webinar series (contact me to volunteer as a speaker--it's almost painless), and our networking opportunities. Be sure to attend the Annual Meeting and some of our events there.
Thanks again to my peers in the Division for all their work and support, and to all of you who have participated with us either as speakers or just audience members. Thanks for making each year better than ever for us at the terrific time to be an engineer.
--Jeff Lindsay, Outgoing Chair
The Forest Bioproducts Division fosters sharing of technical knowledge about forest bioproducts, biorefineries, many technical aspects of the pulp and paper industries, and associated technologies involving cellulose and other forest products. We provide technical sessions, Webinars, and networking opportunities to promote these areas and help engineers and scientists advance their skills, knowledge, and capabilities. We also coordinate with other divisions dealing with related areas to strengthen AIChE's role and to promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge.
The Division has been evolving to be increasingly focused on renewable bioproducts, including biorefineries and other engineering issues involving bio-based materials that go beyond forests per se to also include biomass issues, etc. Take a look at our technical program (below) for 2007 or 2006 to get a feel for these directions.
There are about 150 members in the Division representing academia, industry, and other groups. The most visible work of the Division is in sponsoring and organizing multiple technical sessions at national AIChE meetings, often collaborating with TAPPI and other groups. These technical sessions provide forums for the exchange of information about new technical developments in the forest bioproducts industries.
Upcoming changes for the Division include the introduction of regular Webinars from technical experts and others to increase the opportunities for Division members to stay on top of this rapidly evolving field. An annual meeting just isn't enough to meet the needs of Division members, so stay tuned on information about Webinars and other opportunities.
|This is the official home page for the Forest Products Division of AIChE. It replaces the old AIChE FPD home page.|
Curator: Jeff Lindsay, Contact:
Last Updated: Aug. 9, 2013