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Monday, July 30, 2018

Upcoming conferences in the forest biorefinery area

I see it has been ten months since I posted here. I spent a large portion of that time moving all the contents of my home into storage so I could move out for three months while the place was renovated; I'm now moved back in and things have settled down enough to allow me to pick up the biorefinery file once again. Time flies when you are having fun!

I am very excited about a couple of upcoming conferences in the forest biorefinery space.

The first is the PAPTAC International Lignin Conference, to be held in Edmonton the week of September 17, 2018. As a member of the program committee, I can say that the selection of proposed abstracts is of very high quality, and cutting it down to a three-day conference will be very challenging. If the existence of a wide range of papers from the academic, vendor and lignin producer worlds is any indication, we now have a robust ecosystem of players which bodes well for this new and growing industry.

This remarkable boot-strap effort has overcome, to a significant degree, the old chicken-and-egg problem: No one will build a plant to make lignin if there is no customer for the product; but no customer will sign any kind of a commitment to purchase from an as-yet unbuilt plant, which will make a product of unknown properties and price. Today we have three full-scale plants producing softwood kraft lignin, with more in the pipeline. This affords customers the opportunity to work with multiple suppliers; conversely there are multiple buyers, so no plant is at the mercy of a single customer. The story of how we got to here is a fascinating one that I hope to be able to address in a keynote speech.

Click here for conference details.

The second is the 8th Nordic Wood Biorefinery Conference, set for Helsinki the week of October 22. The last seven editions of this conference have all been excellent, partly due to the 18 month gap between editions, and I do not expect this year to be any different.

Click here for conference details.

See you there!

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