Faculty members involved in the program span four Universities across Canada:
University of British Columbia
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
University of Victoria
Our recent efforts have concentrated on sleep building our team with the best and brightest students and researchers. Researchers work on a specific project in their field with supervising faculty members. In this section, we invite you to meet ERMP team members and their interests.
Daniela Vargas Figueroa
Daniela started as the new program manager for ERMP phase 3 in July 2020 after collaborating as a Researcher during phase 2. She holds a B.Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Concepcion (Chile) and a MASc focused in Renewables Energies from the University of British Columbia. Her previous research included investigating the biochemical mechanisms of microbial enzyme action in industrial processing of plant biomass and its fermentation into bioproducts and optimizing dissolving wood pulp productions for improved chemical reactivity. As a member of the ERMP team, Daniela collaborated with Reanna Seifert on low consistency refining trials, in the sample analysis and testing of different cellulose microfibres to assess their potential reinforcement when added to cellulose-based foams.
Elisa obtained a PhD in Chemistry in 2020 at the University of Campinas (Brazil) exploring lightweight materials prepared from cellulose and lignocellulosic fibres. Her past research focused on green approaches to prepare bio-based foams to be used in packaging, thermal insulation, and oil absorption. In the ERMP program, Elisa will investigate mechanical and chemical treatments to prevent collapse in fibres. She will systematically evaluate fibre processing and additives to control fibre intra-pore structure and to enhance bulk and absorbency.
Pierre Betu Kasangana
Sudipta Kumar Mitra
Dr. Mitra obtained his PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 2020 under the supervision of Professors James Olson and Mark Martinez. During his graduate studies, he examined tensile development during refining of mixtures of NBSK and hardwood pulp. He investigated the effect of separate refining and co-refining of mixtures of softwood and hardwood pulps in terms of tensile strength increase.
He received his MSc degree in Pulp and Paper engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and received prestigious DAAD scholarship to carry out his master’s project on ultrasound refining at Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.
Liyang Liu received his Ph.D. degree in wood science in 2020 from the University of British Columbia, working under the supervision of Prof. Scott Renneckar. At present, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia, working in the same lab. His main research interest focused on the greener chemical modification methods to convert the biomass (e.g., lignin) to platform resources for advanced materials, including foam, coatings, 3D printing inks, package materials, and electronic materials, as well as the advanced characterization methods of biopolymer such as nuclear magnetic resonance.
Reanna holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from UBC. As a science co-op student, she worked at several mine sites across Canada, from copper mining in northern BC to iron ore in Labrador. After graduation she worked for 2 years as a Lab Assistant at C.F. Mineral Research, a world-renowned mineral testing facility in Kelowna specializing in diamond research. Reanna was involved in numerous projects ranging from gold to diamonds, pulverizing rocks to operating electron microprobes.
Reanna has transferred her mineral processing skills to the world of pulp testing. As Lab Technician, she collaborates with ERMP staff and researchers on low consistency refining trials and is responsible for all sample testing in the PPC pulp and paper testing lab. She also trains the ERMP Work Learn students and supervises their work.
To assist in the research activities Michael Bilek has joined the team as a laboratory technician in the papermaking lab. Michael is originally from a suburb of Chicago and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Eastern Illinois University in 2014 and a Master’s in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in 2019. His research has focused on various aspects of sustainability, from pretreating biomass for gasification to selecting superior tree genotypes for fracking spill remediation. He was hired in the Pulp and Paper Centre in the fall of 2020 where his research focuses will include recycling of paper-plastic laminate waste and novel biofoam products.
Matthias Aigner completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leoben in Austria in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Matthias will collaborate with Reza Harirforoush on ERMP project 2.2 to further develop the bar force sensor for pulp and paper refiners. Matthias will investigate the effect of pulp furnish (i.e. softwood, hardwood) and plate pattern on the shear force along with the direction of the bar. He will also perform further analysis in investigating the effect of plate pattern on bar forces by designing and installing the refiner force sensor in different plate patterns ( i.e. BEL=0.99 km/rev).
Bryan Bohn is currently pursuing an MASc degree at the University of British Columbia under the co-supervision of Professors Boris Stoeber and Bhushan Gopaluni. His research will focus on reducing energy consumption in mechanical pumping processes through the use of advanced performance monitoring systems.
Bryan received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 2010. Bryan’s research will extend preceding efforts to minimize waste energy in pumps and pumping processes. It has been proposed that an inexpensive and adaptable sensor suite could be developed to serve as a comprehensive pump performance monitoring system. This sensor network would generate continuous efficiency monitoring and allow for accurate maintenance scheduling through predictive pump failure analysis. Bryan is currently engaged in literature review of sensor network concepts and signal processing schemes, and is developing an approach to his project in addition to coursework.