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Olson takes charge of UBC Pulp and Paper Centre


April 4, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Dr. James Olson, Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the new director for UBC’s Pulp and Paper Centre.

Dr. James Olson, Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the new director for UBC’s Pulp and Paper Centre.

“He will be taking on the leadership of the center at a very critical time when the industry is at a crossroads,” says Applied Science Dean Tyseer Aboulnasr. “Dr. Olson is committed to ensuring the necessary transformation of the center and building on its current excellence. He is dedicated to working across faculties at UBC and expanding the reach of the Pulp and Paper Centre with external institutions and with industry to ensure that B.C. is best positioned to lead this transformation.”

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An expert in the application of physics and fluid mechanics to problems associated with the pulp and paper industry, Olson’s current research includes reduction of energy used in mechanical pulping, modelling turbulent fibre suspensions, and high-performance energy-efficient equipment design.

He currently leads a $2.4-million, five-year university-industry NSERC collaborative research program with BC Hydro, FP Innovations, B.C. mechanical pulp producers, and suppliers focused on reducing energy  consumption in that sector. This research recently demonstrated a technical potential of 20% energy savings through the development of several innovative technologies. The savings potential is equivalent to 1000 GWh/yr or approximately 91,000 homes in B.C.

Olson has helped develop three high-efficiency pulp screen rotors that produce high-quality product while nearly cutting energy consumption in half. More than 100 new rotors were installed in 30 mills across Canada and a series of BC Hydro-funded demonstration projects showed that the rotors reduced electricity consumption by approximately 50%, representing potential annual energy savings of more than $8 million in B.C .alone. This partnership and innovation was recognized with the 2007 NSERC Synergy Award and the 2008 B.C. Innovation Council Lieutenant Governors Award for Innovation.

Olson will serve as director of the Pulp and Paper Centre until December 31, 2015.


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