Understanding and optimising processes is Barbara’s key role with Beca AMEC. She typically gets involved in the early stages of projects from carrying out front-end feasibility studies to in depth process studies and process optimisation.
Barbara’s involvement in the pulp and paper industry goes back 25 years, with a background in technical, research and management roles with forestry companies and consultants in Australasia and North America. She holds a Master of Science from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology in Atlanta, USA.
Since joining the company in Tauranga in 2007, she has been instrumental in developing Beca AMEC’s bioprocess capabilities. One example was her work on the New Zealand Bioethanol Initiative– a collaboration between Scion, AgResearch, Carter Holt Harvey and Verenium Corporation for the production of bioethanol from softwood waste.
Another highlight was providing expert evidence for the review and evaluation of colour reduction technologies for New Zealand’s largest integrated bleached kraft pulp and paper manufacturer. The result was successful, with the operator awarded a discharge permit for the next 35 years.
She spent time at Beca AMEC’s Melbourne office from 2010 to 2013 and returned to Tauranga in 2014 whilst continuing her pioneering work in the biofuels area. “The work I’ve been doing lately is around the pre-treatment of biomass, either physical or chemical, to break down the cellulose and to get a good conversion of the biomass to bioethanol,” she says.
An active member of the Australasian Pulp and Paper Industry Technical Association (APPITA), Barbara has led several training courses and co-authored over a dozen technical papers.