Orlando Rojas, Ph.D.
Professor, University of British Columbia
BIOGRAPHYProfessor Orlando Rojas is a Canada Excellence Research Chair in top-ranked University of British Columbia, under a program that supports world‑renowned scientists. In this condition he is the Director of the Bioproducts Institute and shares affiliation with three departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Wood Science. Part of his research group (Bio-based Colloids and Materials) also operates in Aalto University, Finland. Prof. Rojas received the 2018 Anselme Payen Award, established by the American Chemical Society in 1962, the highest recognition in the area of cellulose and renewable materials. In addition, Prof. Rojas is an elected as Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2013), the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (2017) and recipient of the Tappi Nanotechnology Award (2015). He is adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of NC State University (USA) and Distinguish Professor in South China University of Technology, Nanjing Forestry University and Dalian Polytechnic University. During his career he has advised 40 postdoctoral fellows, 55 PhD and 34 MS students. He has hosted 112 international visiting scholars and professors. With a h-index of 65 (Google Scholar), he has authored about 380 peer-reviewed papers and a larger number of conference contributions related to the core research, mainly dealing with nanostructures from renewable materials and their utilization in multiphase systems.
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Sustainable Materials and Their Processing for the Future Nonwovens Industry
Plant-derived bioproducts are uniquely positioned to take a leading role in the quest to realize advanced materials and to address global megatrends such as resource sufficiency, climate change and quality of life. Beyond traditional nonwovens, including paper products, lignocelluloses and their nanostructures are emerging for their promise. This is not only from the sustainability perspective but because they are ideal to develop the required performance while being economically feasible. Beyond cellulose, nanolignins and nano-polysaccharides make most evident such potential. They are central to the future bioeconomy, where they will play an important role in the new paradigm that shifts our reliance on fossil carbon. For example, they are opening the way for new light-weight materials, bridge the textile fiber gap and allow for partly bio-based electronics. In this talk, I will address some main challenges as well as subjects that can facilitate the adoption of forest-based nanomaterials, especially in light of current initiatives that are taking place in Finland and Canada. They include solutions to overcome the recalcitrant structure of lignocellulose in plants and the production, reassembly and deployment of cellulosics structures. The combination with surface functionalization expands further the possibilities, for example, in obtaining high order, hierarchical structures, stimuli-responsive and bioactive materials. In these and other applications, we consider cost drivers and scalability. Our recent research in these areas will be summarized, providing some leading examples of the potential of bio-based materials.