University of Toronto’s Honghi Tran Named Recipient of TAPPI’s 2017 Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award

Highest TAPPI honor recognizes lifelong scientific achievements

ATLANTA, March 13, 2017 – TAPPI is pleased to announce that Honghi Tran, Ph.D., has been named winner of the prestigious Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award. Dr. Tran is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto in Canada, and is also the university’s Frank Dottori Chair in Pulp and Paper Engineering and Director of its Pulp & Paper Centre. He has been a member of TAPPI since 1980.

“Professor Tran’s research is of extraordinary quality and has progressively impacted the kraft pulping industry,” said Larry N. Montague, TAPPI president and CEO. “His past and present contributions to the industry have made him exceptionally deserving of this award.”


Tran is one of the world’s leading experts on kraft chemical recovery processes [1] and an authority on recovery boiler plugging and fouling [2] . His global research work, publications and consulting activities have played a major role in advancing recovery technology and the debottlenecking of pulp mills. He has initiated and successfully led 10 large consecutive research consortia on Energy and Chemical Recovery at Toronto since 1987, with the support from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and more than 50 pulp & paper related companies from 8 countries.

Tran’s research group was responsible for the development of high-intensity sootblowing nozzles which greatly enhanced cleaning ability in recovery boilers, as well as the low pressure sootblowing technology and partial borate autocausticizing technology. His work defined the role played by chloride and potassium in recovery boiler fouling and corrosion and resulted in guidelines which are now used by many, if not most, mills. Additionally, his contributions to the kraft pulping industry have facilitated the continued operation of existing mills without the need for massive capital investments.

Tran served as inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes ( J-FOR), Program Chair of the 1995 ICRC and Conference Chair of the 2008 ICRC. He has been an instructor of the TAPPI Kraft Recovery Course since its establishment in 1986 and has chaired it since 2006. Tran has supervised/co-supervised over 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and authored/co-authored over 270 refereed papers and has 8 patents. Tran was named a TAPPI fellow in 2000. He is also a recipient of the 2003 TAPPI Research & Development Technical Award and William H. Aiken Prize, the 2006 TAPPI Engineering Beloit Award, the 2013 PAPTAC John S. Bates Gold Medal, the 2014 International Chemical Recovery Conference ( ICRC)’s Lifetime Achievements and Contributions Award, and nearly 20 Best Conference Paper Awards.

The award will be officially presented April 25 at TAPPI’s annual PaperCon conference in Minneapolis

About the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award:

First presented in 1985, the prestigious Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award is TAPPI’s highest technical honor in recognition of an individual’s exceptional industry contributions. It is presented annually only if the individual has made preeminent scientific and engineering achievements of proven commercial benefit to the world’s pulp, paper, board, and forest products industries including forestry, derived products, their process technologies, and their applications.



[1]2008 TAPPI Kraft Recovery Operations Systems course manuscript

[2]2008 TAPPI Kraft Recovery Operations Systems course manuscript

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