“Instead of just making solid wood pulp and paper, there are opportunities for making a wide variety of bio-based energy fuel chemicals and materials which can be used in virtually all products,” says Olson.
He currently leads a five-year university-industry collaborative research program (<a href=”http://www.energyreduction.ppc.ubc.ca”>energyreduction.ppc.ubc.ca</a>) through the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada that brings together BC Hydro, FPInnovations, along with mechanical pulp mills and their key suppliers in BC, Alberta, and recently expanded to include mills in Sweden, New Zealand and United States.
“James was influential in unifying the voice of the industry to leverage government research grants. He put together a partnership of fourteen companies. The industry can share the risks while obtaining all the benefits of the research results,” says Markus Zeller of BC Hydro.
The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption. The research demonstrated a potential of 20% energy savings through the development of several innovative technologies.
Olson is also the lead researcher on the development and commercialization of the Fibre Quality Analyzer (FQA), a device that measures the physical properties of pulp fibres in suspension, and has become the accepted world standard for measuring key fibre properties. More recently, Olson has revolutionized pulp screen rotor technology. More than 100 mills in Canada and around the world are now employing this new technology which Olson predicts could save BC $20 million per year.
Every year, APEGBC recognizes eight engineering and geoscience leaders who have made outstanding contributions in their professional fields or community service. Watch APEGBC’s President’s Awards video of Professor Olson below:
Pulp and Paper Centre, UBC