Professor Nikolai DeMartini receives NSERC Industrial Research Chair

The NSERC Industrial Research Chairs (IRCs) provide funding over five years to support academic-industry collaborations on both fundamental and applied research that is of commercial interest. The latest appointments bring the total number of IRCs at U of T Engineering to 10, joining existing collaborations in areas ranging from drinking water treatment to nuclear power systems.

“These industrial research chairs reflect our ability to attract world-leading research talent and to build strong relationships with external partners in a wide variety of fields,” said Ramin Farnood, Vice-Dean, Research at U of T Engineering. “The new discoveries and innovations that they create will improve the competitiveness of their respective sectors and create value for Canadians.”

Professor Nikolai DeMartini (ChemE) — NSERC Industrial Research Chair in the Role and Fate of Inorganics in the Industrial Processing of Woody Biomass

The raw material of the pulp and paper industry is wood. But mixed in with this wood are various inorganic chemicals contaminants such as salts and metals, which are commonly found in forest soil and make their way into the growing trees. The presence of these contaminants is not just a nuisance — they can actually damage process equipment, reduce overall efficiency and create environmental headaches for the surrounding community.

Professor DeMartini has spent years studying the chemical process that take place inside pulp and paper plants. He has developed strategies for new industrial processes that can effectively deal with these inorganic components. The results could add value to existing operations and reduce unwanted emissions, leading to benefits both for the companies and surrounding communities.

Partners on the project include FPInnovations, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector, as well as a number of major pulp and paper producers.

Read more about U of T Engineer’s most recent Industrial Research Chairs HERE