Renewable biofuels and plywood offer solid solutions for green transport – without requiring costly investment in new cars or fuel distribution systems. The challenges presented by climate change are a source of deep concern and fierce debate across the globe. The need for decisive action is glaringly visible especially in transport, which is currently a main source of carbon dioxide emissions. In Finland, one fifth of carbon dioxide emissions derive from the transportation sector, 90% of which are caused by road traffic. The Nordic country aims to halve transport greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has calculated that this can goal could be achieved if 30% of all transport fuel were renewable biofuel, and if fossil-based vehicles were to be replaced by 250,000 electric cars and 50,000 biogas cars.
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to announce that a PHD graduate from McGill University, Goeun Sim, has been chosen as the Canadian finalist for the global Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award, based on her exciting and environmentally leading proposal to advance innovation in the forest products sector.
Dr. Sim’s research proposal is based on the novel development of smart multi-coloured wood based fabrics that are free of toxic chemicals using coloured nanoparticles as a dye. The resulting environmentally sustainable textile production would eliminate pollutants and the non-toxic cellulose yarns would be a value-added product for the forest industry.
The Blue Sky Award is part of a global initiative spearheaded by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) to engage young and talented students and researchers under the age of 30 in a competition on forest-based science. Three researchers chosen from national finalists will present to a global event in Berlin in May 2017.
“Congratulations to Goeun for being the Canadian finalist for this global Blue Sky award based on her ground-breaking research on smart coloured textiles,” says Derek Nighbor, CEO of FPAC. “This kind of innovation will help the Canadian forest industry extract more value from every tree, better compete in the international marketplace, and improve our environmental credentials.”
“This award means a great deal to me and I feel very privileged to be able to represent young Canadian researchers,” says Dr. Sim, now a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University. “I think initiatives in production process innovation to produce green products is as important as developing value added products, so I am doing research that encompasses both. I hope to interact more vibrantly with professionals in the industry, scholars, and fellow young research scientists and share our visions to make a direct impact to the forest economy.”
The Canadian winner was chosen by an expert review panel including Rod Albers, a forest industry representative from West Fraser; academic Dr. Robert Beauregard of Laval University and Jean-Francois Levasseur who works for Natural Resources Canada. They chose the winner from five strong applications based on the level of innovation, the quality of the abstract, the probability of implementation and the degree to which it would impact the industry.