Story by Carolyn Farrell, U of T Engineering News
Professor Ning Yan (ChemE) has been elected a 2021 Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, in recognition of exceptional contributions to engineering and service to the profession and society.
Yan is the University of Toronto Distinguished Professor in Forest Biomaterials Engineering and the former Chair in Value Added Wood and Composites. She is an internationally recognized leader in the use of renewable biomass as feedstock to develop sustainable bio-based products, replacing fossil fuel-derived chemicals and materials. Her group was the first to develop a process to synthesize bio-based epoxy resins using bark extractives to replace toxic bisphenol A. Companies around the world are pursuing commercial applications of such bark biorefinery processes.
Yan has led major collaborative initiatives for advancing sustainable technologies. She recently established the multidisciplinary Low Carbon Renewable Materials Centre at U of T, with the mandate of facilitating cutting-edge research promoting the circular economy, reducing plastic waste and developing green technologies.
Yan’s work has resulted in 13 patents/invention disclosures and collaborations with industry partners around the world, as well as numerous awards. She has delivered more than 100 invited talks, distinguished seminars and keynotes, and has provided expert advice to the Canadian government on supporting innovation in the forestry sector. She has developed state-of-the-art educational programs in sustainable chemical engineering and has trained more than 140 engineers and researchers.
“Professor Yan has been a trailblazer in developing environmentally friendly bio-based products which are helping to make a number of industries more sustainable,” says U of T Engineering Dean Chris Yip. “On behalf of the Faculty, my warmest congratulations to her on this well-deserved recognition.”