"Functionalized Water-Soluble Lignin-Derived Polymers": Distinguished Researcher 2022 Presentation, Dr. Pedram Fatehi
About the Presentation
Lignin has been regarded as an underutilized by-product of the chemical pulping and cellulosic ethanol industries. To improve the financial profit of these processes and prevent a major loss of resources, value-added products could be produced from lignin. Recently, different processes were developed for generating lignin at commercial scales in an effort to facilitate the production of value-added products from lignin. For example, the LignoBoost and LignoForce technologies are commercial processes for producing kraft lignin, while TMPBio technology is employed for producing hydrolysis lignin in a cellulosic enzymatic process. Due to the commercial availability of lignin, extensive research has been conducted on producing altered lignin-based value-added products.
Dispersants and flocculants are water-soluble chemicals with significant worldwide applications. Dispersants are widely used in the mining, oil, textile, and construction industries. Flocculants are widely used in the mining industry for density control in thickeners, or as rheology modifiers in the concentrate thickeners, for instance. They are also used in municipal and industrial wastewater systems. However, the commercial dispersants and flocculants are mainly oil-based, ineffective, expensive, and/or non-biodegradable.
Lignin can be tailored to have diverse charge densities, molecular weights, and degrees of hydrophilicity, all of which are of significant importance for dispersants/flocculants. After chemical modification for dispersant and flocculant production, lignin-based polymers will inherit some unique features from lignin (e.g. hydrophobicity and three-dimensional structure) that are not available in the currently used commercial flocculants/dispersants. In this presentation, Dr. Fatehi will elucidate 1) recent development in the production of lignin-based water-soluble products following polymerization and grafting pathways, 2) fundamental challenges and opportunities associated with the generation, characterization, and use of such products, and 3) the future trend in sustainable material development.
About the Speaker
Dr. Fatehi is a professor, Canada Research Chair (Tier II), and NOHFC Industrial Research Chair of the chemical engineering department at Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada. He is also the Director of the Biorefining Research Institute of Lakehead University. His main research area includes biorefining, lignin, nanotechnology, lignocellulose valorization, waste management, and colloid and interface science. His outstanding achievements were recognized with many awards nationally, such as, the Hatch Innovation award (2019) from the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Emerging Leaders in Chemical Engineering from the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers (2018) and Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario (2014), John C. Smith Award from Pulp and Paper Association of Canada (2011), and regionally, such as the Distinguished Research Award from Lakehead University (2022). Dr. Fatehi was among the top two percent of researchers in the world on both categories of career and annual contributions determined by Stanford University in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Since 2008, he has co-authored more than 250 journal articles (> 6500 citations identified by Google Scholar search engine, Jan 20 2023), 8 book chapters, and more than 100 conference papers. He has been working with many international companies, and he holds 6 patents. Since 2012, he has secured more than $ 9 M in research funds from private sectors and government organizations. He has trained more than 70 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.