Better bioprocessing: Meet Professor Nikolai DeMartini

From pulp and paper to biofuels, many industries are based on turning renewable biomass — trees, plants, food waste — into energy and green materials.

But even though the primary feedstock of these industries is organic matter, inorganic contaminants such as salts and metals are commonly found in the fields and forests where these feedstocks grow. The presence of these contaminants in the process is not just a nuisance; they can damage process equipment, reduce overall efficiency and create environmental headaches for the surrounding community.

Professor Nikolai DeMartini deals with these problems, offering techniques and methods that industrial processors can use to safely remove these contaminants. Before joining U of T Engineering this year, DeMartini spend nine years at Åbo Akademi University in Finland. U of T Engineering writer Tyler Irving sat down with DeMartini to learn more. Read their interview.