Evaluation of value-added lignin-based bioproducts for commercial applications

During the production of pulp, in the pulp and paper manufacturing process, one component of the tree is extracted into the pulping liquid. This component, called lignin, has potential value as an important renewable material for adhesives, fibre, and coatings. The proposed research has the focus on evaluating the pulping liquid for all of its components and transforming the lignin material into prototype materials for forest industries in British Columbia.

Governing innovation and knowledge sharing to increase adaptive capacity of forest industry in Quesnel, British Columbia

In Quesnel, British Columbia, efforts to stimulate innovation and diversify actors of local forest industry can be challenging for emerging locally-driven small forest enterprises that have limited capacity and resources. Building an inclusive forest industry that constitutes existing large forest enterprises and locally-controlled small forest enterprises in the landscapes therefore involves strengthening networks of knowledge and innovation.

Optimizing cellulose nanocrystal performance via in situ surface modification

Cellulose nanocrystals are plant-based materials that will enable us to shift from a reliance on oil and gas to the bioeconomy by replacing plastics and other chemicals made from oil. Potential products include biodegradable films for food packaging and thickening agents in food products and cosmetics. Nonetheless, their affinity for water limits the range of applications that they can be used in. We propose adding carbohydrates onto their surface to modulate their interaction.

Field evaluation of bacilin 20: Herbicide stress and accelerated flowering

Plants are always associated with a well coordinated and beneficial community of microbes - the phytomicrobiome; this plus the associated plant forms the holobiont, the entity that provides crop yield. There is considerable communication between the phytomicrobiome and the plant, often in through signal compounds. Bacilin 20 is a small protein produced a Bacillus thuringiensis strain and discovered by the Smith laboratory. It is improves plant ability to tolerate stress when applied at very low concentrations.

High solid content wood foams for thermal insulation

The proposed research aims to develop a new wood foam to be used as thermal insulation in the construction industry. The wood foam has the potential to replace plastic foams and will be made out of unwanted forest residue (pine beetle kill, ash borer kills and forest trimmings) and environmentally-benign additives that impart strength and flame retardancy. Different water-based routes to prepare wet foams and then dry them will be tested. The mechanical, chemical, thermal, and flame-retardant performance of the foams will be characterized.

Revitalizing Indigenous fire management and fire-resilient forests in northern British Columbia

There is a growing need for improved biophysical and social methods to manage wildfire risk in northern British Columbia (BC) as uncharacteristically large wildfires exceed government capacities for their control and suppression. My research approach weaves historical (tree rings and fire scars) and contemporary fire data (remote sensing) with Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) to map and validate historic fire activity in subboreal forests across northern BC.

Good Decisions, Diverse Voices: Developing Tools for Equitable Decision Making

Despite the importance of diverse voices in community decision-making, we still do not fully understand how to support sound decision making in a way that is equitable and works to advance agendas of historically marginalized groups.

Diversity and Abundance of Beneficial and Pest Insects in Canadian Prairie Agroecosystems - Year two

The proposed research project will assess the insect fauna present associated with prairie wetlands, as well as those found in adjacent fields of crop plants (canola, barley, wheat) and restored grasslands. Insects will be collected using various trapping methods to sample taxa exhibiting different lifestyles. Collected specimens will be identified as specifically as possible to determine taxa found in sampled habitats.

Chemically upgradation and hybrid biocatalytic valorization of lignin into green aviation ligno-jet fuel and paraffinic hydrocarbons

‘Low-Carbon Fuels’ refer to fuels produced from biological and waste resources with lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. This project, supported by Suncor and performed at Ryerson University, aims to explore the use of innovative biocatalytic and catalytic processes to produce drop-in ligno-biojet fuel from lignin. A single biochemical step will be utilized to convert degraded lignins into hydrocarbons, and after subsequent catalytic hydrodeoxygenation using novel catalysts, into aviation fuels. The use of second-generation feedstocks (e.g.

Perennial grains for fall grazing of beef cattle

Perennial grains, especially domesticated intermediate wheatgrass (IWG), are approaching commercialization as food crops. Due to the perennial nature of this crop i.e. multiple seed harvest (years) off of a single planting, grazing of post-harvest regrowth in the late fall would provide added value to beef producers, helping to sustain Canada’s beef industry.