Qiang Han graduated from North Carolina State University with a PhD degree on biofuel production. Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, he proceeded to work for international paper as a Senior Research Associate, aimed at improving energy efficiency and mitigating environmental impact of paper-making process. In his free time, he enjoys marathon running and college sports.

Q: Where do you see the future of this industry in the next 20 years?

A: Each business sector will be further consolidated into a few big players. Advanced process control will continue to drive the productivity improvement. Product recycling technology and rate will further advance. More high-value byproducts may derive from pulp and paper company.

Q: If you could change anything about this industry, what would it be and why?

A: People’s misconception about the sustainability and environmental impact of pulp and paper company. Still many people think that we cut down trees, destroy forest, and pollute air and water. Admittedly papermaking is not rocket science, we put trees and chemicals together to make paper, tissue, and board. Most of the wood we use are from plantation, which means we grow more trees than we take down. Modern pulp and paper mills are all equipped with state-of-the-art emission quality control technology. BTW, we are the world largest bio-energy producer.

Q: Words to live by…

A: Accept who you are; and revel in it.

Q: What is a defining moment in your life? (does not have to be career related)

A: At the early stage of my career, I am still looking forward to my defining moment. However, if I have to name one from past experience, I would say it’s the decision made to come to US.

Q: If you weren’t in your current job and field, what would you be doing instead?

A: I probably would work in a renewable energy company because that’s what I studied for my PhD.

Q: What technology innovation do you think will advance this industry and why?

A: How to make fluff pulp related tissue product recyclable. Fluff pulp market is continuing to grow worldwide due to the increase of global population and improved life quality of developing countries. Unlike the container board which has pretty high recycling rate, technology barrier has yet to overcome for fluff pulp recycling. But the market is huge especially for country like china who lacks of long softwood fiber supply.  

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

A: Elon Musk. He is such a genius doing unbelievable things and changing the world. 

Q: How would you like to get (more) involved with TAPPI?

A: I will join Tappi technical committee and contribute more to Tappi Peers conference. In the meantime, continue to get involved with Tappi Student Summit and help my company acquire talent and help students get an opportunity to start their career.