Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paper Bridge Contest

The students in PSE 300 (Introduction to Papermaking) engaged in a paper bridge building contest as part of their course (http://www.esf.edu/catalog/PSE.asp).  The students had to build a bridge primarily out of paper or paperboard that could span a distance of 2 feet and hold weights at the center of the span.  The goal of the exercise was have the highest ratio of weight held per weight of the bridge.  A number of different designs were created and tested with some bridges holding over 20 pounds of weight. 

This course is the introductory course in the technology and engineering of papermaking for those students in the Paper Engineering and Paper Science programs at SUNY-ESF.  Paper Engineering is our ABET-accredited engineering program on campus that is essentially a chemical engineering-based program for the paper industry.  However, students that graduate from the program can go on to careers with non-paper companies such as chemical companies, equipment suppliers, as well as working for the paper industry.  Some graduates have also gone on successfully to graduate school in a number of different fields.  Starting salaries for graduates from our program in May 2009 had an average starting salary of $67,000.

Please explore our website (www.esf.edu/pbe) for more information about our programs.

Paper Bridge Contest 002

Paper Bridge Contest 005 Paper Bridge Contest 010 Paper Bridge Contest 014 Paper Bridge Contest 016 Paper Bridge Contest 017 Paper Bridge Contest 012 Paper Bridge Contest 022

2nd Annual Paper Airplane Fly-In

The students in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering (www.esf.edu/pbe) held their 2nd Annual Paper Airplane Fly-In, where students, faculty, guests, and sons and daughters of faculty and students created paper airplanes.  The planes were subsequently launched from the bridge connecting Walters Hall (http://www.esf.edu/welcome/campus/walters.htm)and Bray Hall onto the East Quad.  D09J3576

The students were going for distance as well as accuracy towards a target about 30 feet away from the bridge on the back of the statue of Lincoln. 


Once again, a number of different designs were seen including a recreation of the largest paper airplane that was seen last year.


It's flight was just as "spectacular" as last year.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Visit by Secretary of Energy, Dr. Stephen Chu

On Friday, 9 October 2009, the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Stephen Chu, visited the SUNY-ESF campus to look at the development of the "green" technology going on across campus.  In particular, he visited Walters Hall to tour the biorefinery plant where students and researchers are working to turn wood chips, a renewable resource, into biofuel, plastics, and paper.  This work is part of the research program in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at SUNY-ESF (www.esf.edu/pbe). 

More information about the visit and the announcements made at the press conference can be found at http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2009/10/energy_secretary_steven_chu_in.html from the Syracuse Post-Standard and http://www.esf.edu/communications/view.asp?newsID=280 from the SUNY-ESF website.

IMG_2786Dr. Chu touring the biorefinery plant in Walters Hall.

IMG_2791 Dr. Chu, President Neil Murphy, and Rep. Dan Maffei reviewing research posters in Walters Hall.

IMG_2845 Press conference in Bray Hall.

---Photos courtesy of Winnie Tsui.

Student Speech at SPPF Recognition Luncheon

Every Fall, the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation  (http://www.esf.edu/pbe/sppf/) honors those students receiving scholarships to study Paper Engineering and Paper Science at SUNY-ESF (www.esf.edu/pbe).  This year's luncheon was held on Thursday, 8 October 2009.  The luncheon brings together students, faculty, staff, and most importantly representatives from the companies that support the students through the foundation. 

The highlight of the luncheon are the student speakers.  One of the speakers, Matt Ali, is a graduating senior in the Paper Engineering program.  He gave an excellent talk of his experiences during his undergraduate career in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering.  He has graciously allowed his speech to be reproduced below.

The Final Speech
by Matt Ali

As I began writing this speech, I had a lot of things run through my mind as what to write about. I tried parroting some of the better speeches I have ever heard, so here goes Four score and seven years ago, I had a dream that is wasn’t what my country could do for me, but what I could do for my country. Pending any legal ramifications I didn’t think that would work out, so I decided to use this opportunity to maximize my efficiency and tell everyone, everything they need to know before I leave.

To my colleges, Congratulations!, look around you, you are in a prestigious institution with a high caliber faculty that expect nothing but the best out of their students. This makes for one of the finest educations, that is truly second to none. The people sitting next to you are some of the most powerful and influential people within our industry, and it is no accident that most of them are graduates from the very program you are attending. Feel privileged, you are in good company.

To the freshman in the crowd hold on tight, because you are in for the ride of your life. Take the next few years of your life for what they are, many of you will have good times and bad, Try new things, meet new people learn and grow. Live your life so that when you reflect on the past you will have nothing but admiration for what you have done and how far you have come. It is best to regret an action, rather than an in-action.

To those of us who are graduating. KUDOS! We did it. We are about to being a new chapter in our lives. But take a moment and a few deep breaths and appreciate those around you. In a few months the relationships you have with your peers, your friends and even your family will change. As your life and career will take you away, there life will take them. Love them for who they are, tell them what they mean to you, you may not get a second chance. Don’t’ be afraid, in your life you’ll have to get dirty, you’ll make mistakes, but know that whatever mistakes you make others have made them, picked up the pieces and carried on, Whatever woes you have lived through embrace them, they will make you stronger and they will teach you. Understand life is about fear; those that are brave will make a life worthy to be remembered. In regards to your profession life, fight a good fight, fight evil, but first understand evil, and never be so naïve as to believe that you and your actions couldn’t be the evil. Understand your own humanity and never make a decision that could rob you of it.

To my employers, to the lucky few that has been gracious enough to give me a job. Just this past summer I was privileged enough to work for Albany International. In retrospect I can say now that I have truly valued my time with them. I was given an excellent opportunity to expand not only my abilities in engineering but also my understanding of what my boss John Hawes would call the Cadillac of corrugator belts. But seriously despite what ever preconceived notions I might have had of how interns are treated there, I can say unequivocally that I was welcomed with open arms even in a rough time and was treated not only as an equal but as a friend. It is that kinship that puts the longevity into a company like Albany and the reason why they have been so successful (aside from the corrugators).

To the Faculty, during my time at ESF I have had the esteemed privilege of learning under some of the most brilliant people in the world. I have been continually taken aback at the depth and breadth of their knowledge, for not only the subjects being presented but for any subject that is discussed. To preface Sir Isaac Newton I truly stood upon the shoulders of giants. There is no possible way to convey the depths of my gratitude for all you have given me. I once spoke with a teacher and asked him, why out of all of the careers he could have pursued, why for go fame and fortune to be a teacher. With a serious tone he told me, if he could just make a difference in one student’s life, then all the sacrifice would have been worth it. I understand now that his sentiment is not unique, and for what it’s worth to you, I am that student.

I couldn’t possibly end this speech without giving special thanks to the SPPF office (Linda & Deb); in retrospect I do not know how I would have finished this program without them. I’m not much for analogies but, it was as though I was adrift at sea and they became the compass I used to find my way. They are to the college and to the students truly worth their weight in gold.

Finally, to everyone that I have meet, befriended, worked with, worked for or learned from I have but one final thing to say to all of you. For every experience that I have gotten to be a part of, to every sleepless night I have endured, to every lesson that I have sat through and has now become a part of me, I say to all of you truly from the bottom of my heart:

Thank You

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009 International Biorefinery Conference

The 2009 International Biorefinery Conference opened today at the DoubleTree Hotel in Syracuse, New York and  is two days of information on the emerging technology relating to the use of renewable resources for the production of energy, fuels, and other materials.  The conference is bringing together researchers, energy producers, biomass producers, and many others from around the world.  A particularly large contingent of participants has come from China.  As of this morning, attendance was at 158.

The topics being covered range from the production of the feedstock for the various technologies that can convert the biomass into the various products that have traditionally been made from non-renewable resources.  Sessions during the conference include such topics as the Forest Biorefinery, Chemical Processing, Pretreatment, Cellulose and Lignin Conversion, Biodiesel, Fermentation, Byproducts, and the Economics of the various processes.  More information about the program can be found at the SUNY-ESF website (www.esf.edu/pbe). 

The after lunch speaker, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, the Director  of Renewable Energy and Chemicals at UOP, discussed UOP's effort to produce jet fuel from renewable resources.  In tests, three jets (two 747's and one 737) were flown commercially on jet fuels produced from a variety of biomass feedstocks, including algae.  The demos were successful in showing that they could produce the jet fuel as well demonstrating that it could be successfully used in a commercial setting.  The fuel produced is currently going through the Fuel Qualification Process, which is a sequence of tests at various levels.  It is expected that the fuels will be fully certified in 2010.

The organizers would like to particularly thank the following sponsors of the conference:

Syracuse Center of Excellence



Agenda 2020

Maas Companies

Applied Biorefinery Sciences

New Holland


For more information regarding the information presented at this conference, please see the following journals, which will be publishing the papers from this conference:

Journal of Biotechnology Advances

Journal of Biomass and Bioenergy

Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy

Friday, October 2, 2009

Working in the Paper Industry

A recent survey by the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation asked the question of alumni of the Paper Engineering and Paper Science programs at SUNY-ESF, "Would you still recommend a career in the pulp and paper industry to a college student? Why or why not?"  Chester Dunbar Crowell, Jr. ’52 gave a uniquely thoughtful response: “I would recommend a career in the pulp and paper industry to conserve world forests.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marbling with Mimi Schliecher

This week we had the pleasure of having Mimi Schliecher with us to demonstrate paper marbling.  Marbling is a surface art form that transfers floating inks to paper.  In the process, ink of various colors are floated on the surface of water and moved into designs using various rakes and combs.  A print of this ink is made by lowering a sheet of paper onto the surface to make a unique print of the design.  Marbling as an art form reaches back to Turkey and perhaps as far back as Japan and China from many hundreds of years ago.

During her visit, Mimi helped students in PSE 201-The Art and History of Papermaking- design and make some of their own marbled paper.  In addition, a workshop was held were various members of the campus community were able to also try their hand at marbling.

If you want to learn more about marbling, please visit her website at http://marbling.com.

 DSC_3391 Mimi Schleicher

DSC_3389  Mimi's work

DSC_3388 Mimi's work

DSC_3386 Artists at work

DSC_3369 Artists at work

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

PBE Students at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair

Students from the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering teamed up with the Girl Scouts to offer handmade papermaking at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair on Sunday, 13 September 2009.   The Fair is a annual, one-day celebration of the diversity of the Westcott Street neighborhood including kids' activities, performing art, a parade, and of course food.  More information about the fair can be found at www.westcottfair.org.

PBE Students teamed up with the Girl Scouts of Troop 487 to offer handmade papermaking in the kids' activity area near the branch library.  With the help of the Girl Scouts and PBE students, visitors were able to make and decorate sheets of paper from recycled newsprint.  This fit directly in with the "Green Theme" of the fair for this year.




Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at the Fair

Once again the PBE department worked a day at the New York State Fair at the SUNY-ESF tent near the State Park Buildings.  As we do every year, the projects of the day were handmade papermaking and chromotography flowers.  The weather was nice and the business was brisk at the tent.

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The paper chromotography flowers are created from filter paper and water-soluble markers.  As the water wicks up through the filter paper, it carries the various colored dyes from the markers, making a colorful array of flowers.

Picture 019 

Visitors were also able to make a sheet of handmade paper and decorate it with pulp painting.  Making a sheet of paper involves a number of steps including forming the sheet, couching, pressing, and finally air drying the sheet.  Manning the both during the course of the day were faculty, staff, students, and even a member of the Board of Directors of the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation.

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Many of the visitors were quite creative in the decorating of their sheet of paper using pulp painting.   HMpaper

Students at SUNY-ESF are able to learn more about the artistic nature of paper and the history of paper and its influence on the development of civilization.  PSE 201-The Art and History of Papermaking-is a new course being offered for the second time through the PBE department.  It covers the artistic aspects of paper as well as the history of paper, especially in ancient China.  Students taking this course can satisfy the SUNY General Education requirement in either "The Arts" or "Other World Civilizations." 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Year Begins

Welcome back to the Chairman's Blog for the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at the State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  A lack of posts over the summer does not indicate a lack of activity, just a break from blogging.  I hope to keep you up to date on a weekly basis over the next academic year.

This year we are welcoming 26 new students to the program:  17 freshman and 9 transfer students.   We have students enrolling in all three of our programs:  Paper Engineering, Paper Science, and Bioprocessing Engineering.  The Bioprocess Engineering has become our most popular program in terms of new students, accounting for about 2/3 of the total incoming students.

As part of their introduction to SUNY-ESF and the PBE department, we held an orientation program for the new students which also included a number of tours.  As we did in years past, we toured RockTenn Solvay (formerly Solvay Paperboard) and the InBev Budweiser plant (Anhaeuser-Busch).  In addition, the students had the opportunity to visit some of the college properties to learn how the raw material for our industries is grown and harvested.

As their semester begins, these new students will not only begin their studies at SUNY-ESF, they will also be preparing for interviews for internships.   One of their first assignments is to begin to prepare a resume for this.

As we welcome the students to campus, we also congratulate those students receiving scholarships through the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation, the ESF Foundation, and other funding sources.  Your continued support of these organizations helps these students to be here and to become the future engineers for the industry.


New students in PBE preparing to depart on one of their tours as part of their orientation.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Congratulations Graduates

Last Saturday, 7 students graduated with their B.S. degree in either Paper Engineering or Paper Science.  (We expect our first graduate in the Bioprocess Engineering program next May).  The graduate were:

Jeremy Bower
Tor Goettsche
Casie Goodwin
Lorie Kline
Aaron Kosinski
Michael Marchese
Christopher Wood

We wish these graduates well in starting their careers or their continuing education.  Many of these graduates joined us for a breakfast reception prior to the ESF Convocation on Saturday, 9 May 2009.  This was an opportunity for the family and friends of the graduates to meet the faculty and staff that the students have been interacting with over the past four years.MikeMarcheseMegan BiljanaTorJohnnieLee CassieGoodwinFam AaronKosinskiFam

In addition to the conversation, a slide slow of the students in action during the senior paper machine run was shown.

IMG_4514 IMG_4535   IMG_4557 P1016981 P1017023 P1017038

Best wishes to the class of 2009!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Dandy Roll on the #1 Papermachine

The new dandy roll for the #1 Papermachine was delivered and installed today.  The roll, reflecting the new logo being used at the college, will be used in the student papermachine run tomorrow in order to make the stationery paper to be used by the department and perhaps even more generally by the college. 


The roll was delivered by Bob Johnston, Vice President, and Robert Van Tassel, Sales Engineer, from the Johnston Dandy Co.  The local division of Johnston Dandy Company is E.F. Cook Co.  We are extremely pleased with their generosity, as this is at least the second dandy roll that they have provided for us over the years. 


In the papermaking process, the dandy roll is the piece of equipment used on a papermachine to impart a watermark onto the sheet.  The students tomorrow will need to make adjustments to the machine in order to appropriately mark the sheet with the dandy roll.

While they were visiting, Mr. Johnston and Mr. Van Tassel took the opportunity to speak with the students on watermarking and answering their questions.  The students got the opportunity to look at a number of different watermarks produced by Dandy Rolls made by Johnston Dandy Company and how to best make the dandy roll work.  We are again very appreciative of the support of Johnston Dandy Company and all of our corporate, alumni, and other supporters.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Senior Paper Machine Run

The senior class and graduate students are running the #1 papermachine today as part of PSE 468 and ERE 679 (Papermaking Processes).  The grades of paper being made today are folder stock (like manila folders except dark blue in color with silver sparkles) and coaster paper (beermat if you are of an English persuasion). 

The students have been working on this project since the beginning of the semester in January, developing the grades of paper, understanding how they are made, and performing a trial run on our #2 papermachine earlier in February.  Using what they learned in the laboratory and from this machine run, they determined the furnish, acquired the chemicals from the suppliers and determined how to make these grades on our machine.  Overall today they will be making over 1000 lbs of paper. 

The pictures below show the students in action on the machine.





Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Article in The Daily Orange

The following article appeared in The Daily Orange, the student newspaper covering the Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF campuses.


ESF feeds into papermaking industry

By Bethany Bump

Tor Goettsche wanted to be a professional golfer. But he ended up making paper instead.

After speaking to a fellow high school student's father, who worked in the paper industry, he chose to study paper engineering. This was four to five months before he started freshman year.

Now, in his final year in the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry's program, his tuition has been paid for, he has held three internships, has a job lined up for after graduation, and has run the college's papermaking machine.
The semi-commercial paper mill occupies an entire floor of Walters Hall at ESF. It's the largest papermaking unit at any school in the country.

The 100- to 120-foot-long mill can make a sheet about 48 inches wide and can produce 500 pounds of paper per hour.

"Running the machines is fun and gives the opportunity for real hands-on learning," Goettsche said.

The machine is the centerpiece of ESF's paper science program, the first of its kind in the United States. Since 1920, it has led the way in papermaking, a 2,000 year-old industry. ESF was the first educational institution to have an on-campus paper plant, and the first to develop a de-inking process that enables recycling of newsprint, said Gary Scott, professor and faculty chair in the paper and bioprocess engineering program.

The department of paper and bioprocess engineering, formerly the faculty of paper science and engineering, offers three majors - paper engineering, paper science and bioprocess engineering - with 70 students divided among them. There are only 10 schools in the United States that offer paper science schooling.

"It's a relatively small program, but our graduates are in high demand," Scott said.

And with a 100 percent job-placement rate, graduates are highly coveted. Scott said this year's graduates' starting salaries will be around $68,000. Last year's graduates made $62,000 a year.

"A lot of our students eventually work their way into management," Scott said. "We have a number of our graduates from 20 years ago that are now vice presidents and presidents of companies."

After graduation, many students become paper engineers, process engineers, mill superintendents, paper mill supervisors and plant engineering team leaders.

The paper engineering program received accreditation from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology in 2002, Scott said.

Courses offered within the degree program include the art and early history of papermaking, wood-water relationships, papermaking processes, principles of pulping and bleaching, and papermaking wet end chemistry, among others.

Scott said that despite the variety of courses, understanding the properties of paper runs high on the program's list of priorities.
"A piece of writing paper and a facial tissue are made out of the same material, but what they're used for is completely different," Scott said. "You wouldn't want to use one in place of the other."
With two paper pilot machines on campus - a 12-inch and 48-inch - students are able to use them in their labs, usually four students to a machine, Scott said.

These students get to contribute to the way paper makes its way from tree form to newsprint or stationary.

The first step involves pulping, Scott said. Most paper is made from wood. Wood is made of fibers, or pulp, and depending on the type of tree, these fibers can be two to five millimeters long. Pulping is taking these fibers apart and flattening them into sheet form.

Pulp is then set in water with chemical additives to make it strong, Scott said. These wet paper sheets run through the paper mill.
After the pulping process, the chemical process of bleaching decreases the color of pulp so that it becomes whiter. Paper will look much like a brown paper grocery bag, Scott said. That brown is the natural color of paper, he said, because no one cares about bleaching a grocery bag. Bleaching is what it takes to make paper white, convenient for writing on.

The Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation offers scholarships to students enrolled in paper science and paper engineering their first semester at ESF. Scholarships in 2008 were $3,000 a semester for New York State residents and $3,750 for out-of-state residents. After the first year, scholarships are awarded on a semester grade point average basis.

Students need to complete a 12-week full-time internship in their field approved by the department between their junior and senior years, Scott said. He said quite often, it's the program's internships that lead to early job offers.

"They come into their senior year having already accepted a job offer for when they graduate one year later," he said.

Goettsche said the three internships he has held since starting the program have been vastly different. He said he's ready to enter the job market with a job lined up after he graduates.

"During these internships I was able to gain practical experience and gauge what is expected for engineers entering the industry."


Friday, February 20, 2009

Students Are Making Paper

The students in PSE 468 / ERE 679 have begun the process of developing their four grades of paper:  cover, coaster (beermat), folder stock, and stationery.  It is our intention that the stationery be used by the Paper and Bioprocess Engineering Department for their letterhead.  The students are at the stage of developing their grades on our #2 papermachine that makes a sheet 12 inches wide. 

The pictures below show the students in action making their paper.

CasiePaperRun SmallPaperRu small paper run jeremyPaperRun