TCU Place 35 -22nd St. East, Saskatoon, SK    

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E. Kendall Pye, Ph.D
Chief Scientific Officer, Lignol Innovations Ltd.,
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Commercializing Advanced (Second and Third Generation) Biofuel Technolgies
Monday, September 13, 2010
4:00 - 4:30 pm

Abstract:  The increasing demand for fossil fuels and the environmental concerns associated with their use are stimulating the development and growth of a new industry based on the conversion of biomass into renewable fuels and “green” chemicals. A variety of biochemical and thermochemical biorefining technologies have been proposed which are becoming the foundation of these emerging biomass-based fuel and chemical industries. This presentation will address the key technical factors we believe enable the wide commercialization of today’s biochemical biorefineries. Special attention will be paid to aspects related to the bioconversion of polysaccharides into monosaccharides, down-processing of monosaccharides into fuels and chemicals, and HP-LTM Lignin co-product development. The advantages of the biochemical biorefining will be also discussed. Real-life examples of biomass refining will be presented to illustrate the technical viability of a biochemical biorefinery and the value generated from its various product streams. A description of Lignol’s Integrated Biorefinery will be presented as an example of a biochemical biorefining platform with the ability of processing a wide range of biomass species including softwoods, hardwoods, annual fibers, and energy crops into renewable fuels and bio-based chemicals.
Dr. Pye is Chief Scientific Officer and a Director of Lignol Energy Corporation, a biorefinery development company with headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia, and a US subsidiary, Lignol Innovations Inc, in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. From April 1981 through May 1998, he was the President and CEO of Repap Technologies Inc, and its predecessor company Biological Energy Corporation, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. During that time he also held the title of Vice-President, Science and Technology, of Repap Enterprises Inc., the parent pulp and paper company in Montreal, Canada, until Repap’s breakup in 1997. In these positions he directed the research and development activities of the Repap group of companies, including Alcell Technologies Inc, the operator of the Alcell pulp mill in New Brunswick that was employing technology from which Lignol’s technology was derived.

He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology, in England, in the early1960’s and in 1964 became a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 1967, Dr. Pye joined the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. His research interests included metabolic oscillations, microbial metabolism and its control, immobilized enzyme technology, wood chemistry and enzymatic degradation of cellulose and hemicellulose. At the time of the 1970’s “energy crises” he was co-leader, together with the Dean of Engineering, Arthur Humphrey, of a research group of biochemists and biochemical engineers from the University of Pennsylvania and General Electric that developed the Penn-GE Process, the biorefining technology that was the forerunner of the Alcell Process and now the Lignol Biorefinery Process.

In 1981, he was recruited by General Electric’s venture capital division to become President and CEO of a start-up biotechnology company, Biological Energy Corporation, to commercialize the Penn-GE Process. Following the unexpected collapse of oil prices in the early 1980’s the process was redirected towards becoming an environmentally-benign pulping process. BEC was purchased by Repap Enterprises from GE in 1987 and renamed Repap Technologies Inc. Apart from his management and corporate duties, Dr. Pye was personally involved in the design, start-up, research and development and marketing programs of what became known as the Alcell Process, (from the words Alcohol Cellulose). His special interests were in bioactive compounds and the biological activities of chemicals and materials produced at a $60 million Alcell demonstration plant in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada, as well as the science and technology of lignin-containing wood bonding resins and other applications.

Over his professional career in biochemistry, biophysics and biotechnology he has authored, or co-authored, over 140 publications and numerous patents and patent applications. He has edited several conference proceedings and represented the United States as a delegate in scientific exchange missions to Japan, NATO, the former Soviet Union and Central America.

Click to view Kendall Pye's ABIC 2010 presentation