Sustainable Integrated Forest Biorefineries

Thursday, February 28, 2013
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
107 Richardson Hall

Lecture Description

The forest products industry in the U.S. and North America is a mature commodity industry with high capital costs and low profit margins.  But with its expertise in sustainable forestry and processing technology for lignocellulosic biomass, the industry has much to offer in the development of sustainable, integrated biorefineries.  In addition to biocomposites and other valuable biomaterials, bioenergy, biofuels and other biochemicals provide a great renewable products opportunity for the U.S. and much of the world.  Important scientific and engineering challenges remain, with solutions that must address the specific nature of local biomass species as well as sustainability concerns such as life cycle performance, fossil fuel use, water quality and use, and atmospheric emissions. However, integrated forest biorefineries offer tremendous environmental, socio-economic and policy advantages and the forest industry can serve as a world leader through its own transformation toward a true sustainable bioeconomy in the 21st century.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Shri Ramaswamy is Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, and also a graduate faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, both at the University of Minnesota. He has been serving as head of the department since 2003 and is currently on sabbatical leave. He has degrees in paper science and engineering and chemical engineering and over nine years of industrial experience in process engineering, process research and development, and chemical applications technology development.

Dr. Ramaswamy has been at the University of Minnesota since 1995.  In addition to co-teaching unit operations of bio-based products manufacturing, renewable energy and the environment, he is active in conducting research in topics related to transport through porous media, structure-property relationships, bio-based polymers properties and performance and integrated biorefining, including separations and purification technologies. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal publications and several book chapters in various areas, including separation and purifications, process modeling of biorefineries.

He serves on the Editorial Board of Drying Technology, an international journal by Elsevier, main editor of a book on Separations and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries (by Wiley & Sons, 2013), and co-editor of Biorefiney Co-Products (by Wiley & Sons, 2012). Dr. Ramaswamy is a member of the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) and ASABE. He is also the current Vice Chair of the Forest Bioproducts Division of AICHE and is the outgoing chair of the Pulp and Paper Education and Research Alliance (PPERA).