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UBC banks on the bio-economy


October 1, 2012
By Pulp & Paper Canada

James Olson spoke at the PacWest conference about the University of British Columbia’s Bio-economy Research Initiative (BERI), which consists of a network of professors at six strategic centres within the university. BERI will be a…

James Olson spoke at the PacWest conference about the University of British Columbia’s Bio-economy Research Initiative (BERI), which consists of a network of professors at six strategic centres within the university. BERI will be a fully-integrated, trans-disciplinary initiative, says Olson, director of UBC’s Pulp and Paper Centre.
And positioning pulp and paper research in the broader context of the bio-economy is good marketing, he adds.
“We have had success bringing people in [to the university by promoting] the bio-economy. They don’t think of themselves as chemical pulping experts,” says Olson.
UBC frequently uses its campus and 54,000 residents as a “living lab” for testing technology in an operational sense. One example is the $30 million investment in a biomass gasification facility that will produce heat and power for the campus, beginning in September.
The gasification facility will require 50 tonnes per day of biomass. Since the biomass will be available on campus, Olson said there is the possibility of building an operational biorefinery on site. This could demonstrate bio-chemical and material technologies, and would use a start-up company to market and sell the bioproducts.

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