4 minutes with… Dr. Laszlo Paszner, President, PASZNER TECHNOLOGIES

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Developed the ACOS (Acid Catalyzed Organosolv Saccharification) process which dissolves any biomass type in a single step and recovers/fractionates >98% of all chemical components as part of the solvent recovery process. All components are to be processed to value added products

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

I am the inventor and owner of the ACOS rwxhnology. Right now (still) I am looking (with a number of partners) for funding (JV partner/investor) to scale up the technology to demonstration scale (50 T/day feedstock capacity) Preliminary engineering has confirmed technical feesibility of the process. Initially, we intend to focus on tree biomass residues being the most efficient feedstocks.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

Get the cellulose ethanol technology commercialized at a rate that will allow the cellulose ethanol to compete with gasoline at any oil price. Work toward E100 as the cleanest renewable automobil fuel as >80 % GHG emission free).

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

Stop political interference to unfairly support the oil industry in controlling the fuel/energy markets while ignoring the risk of global warming getting to a stage where it becomes unstoppable.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

The unique importance of the ACOS technology was realized as part of graduate student suoervision during the ’70s and patenting during the ’80s. Through numerous unpleasant problems and direct competition with enzyme research in Vancouver, lack of forest/pulp industry interest (even today) commercialization was delayed. I did try.

Where are you from? 

Born in Hungary. Came to Canada in 1957 just before completing a forest engineering degree in Hungary. In Canada I did not lik the immence timber waste as part of harvesting and started studying forest products chemistry and pulp&paper chemistry. The OPEC embargo in 1973 directed me to cellulose ethanol research. Thought 30 yrs at UBC as profess

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Forest Engieering in Sopron, Hungary (completed in Canada: UBC Sopron Division).

Master of Wood Science, UBC (Forestry)

Ph. D. Wood Chemistry, UBC (Forestry)

2 years NRC Post-Doctoral Fellow (U. Darmstadt, Germany and U. Vienna, Austria).

Returned to UBC as Research Associate (1969), became Assistent Professor at UBC Forestry Faculty in 1974.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

No. 1. Uncle and godfather, a Forest Manager in Hungary. Spent weekends walking the forests with him.

No. 2. A professor of Transportation and Civil (road and railway) Engineering at Sopron Univesity in Hungary. (my BSF Thesis supervisor)

No.3. Professor of wood and pulping chemistry at UBC. (my grad program supervisor).

No. 4. Professor of Wood Chemnistry, U. Washington, Faculty of Foresry, Seattle, Wa.

Individually and collectively these were highly intelligent people, dedicated to their professions and their disciplines. They provided free advice without force in making critical decisions for advancing within the profession.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?  

With honest and diligent work, you can survive and advance anywhere to certain level. Then, some of your collegues determine how far you can/should go or wheather your technology should succeed; they seem to know better how to do that if you let them to take over further development and let yourself be pushed aside.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?  

Used to play tennis, skied/ice skated in the winter and did wood working in my free time. Serviced our cars. Worked in the garden.Listened to classical music

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

Stopped reading books about 5 years ago.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?  

TAPPI 360o Journal (monthly); Chemical and Engineering News (monthly); Ethanol Producer Journal; Biomass Journal;PPI (Pulp and Paper International); Paper Age; Logging and Saw Milling Journal; Timber West; Time Magazine; The Economist; The Vancouver Sun J.;

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

Vienna (Austria)

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