Yachay Tech professor wins the HUB Norte – IANCEM challenge
The challenge consisted of presenting proposals to diversify the production lines of the Ingenio Azucarero del Norte Corporación de Economía Mixta (IANCEM).
Juan Lobos, Ph.D., a professor of the School of Physical Sciences and Nanotechnology was the winner of the challenge proposed by HUB Norte and IANCEM. The aim of the challenge was to present proposals of new lines to revitalize IANCEM production. The 17 universities associated with HUB Norte were called to participate in the challenge. In this sense, Juan Lobos, Ph.D., in collaboration with Mayra Mora, MSc., Laboratory Technician of the School of Physical Sciences and Nanotechnology, Llovani Sotomayor, MSc., from Universidad de Otavalo, Xavier Dávalos, Ph.D., from Universidad Técnica del Norte (UTN), and some students from Yachay Tech University presented the project “Design of a production plant of purified brown pulp from sugarcane bagasse by the thermochemical method of digestion in a batch reactor”
The project consists of giving a useful life to the sugarcane bagasse of the mill. Currently, IANCEM recirculates sugarcane bagasse to generate energy and steam for its factory. However, only a portion of the waste is used for those purposes. The team proposes to use this cane waste to manufacture pulp for Kraft paper. In addition, the project seeks to cover the needs of the current paper market in Ecuador, as more than 500 million dollars are invested every year in the import of paper pulp for that industry.
In the first stage, Juan Lobos, Ph.D., and other 15 universities from zone 1 and 2 presented projects to be considered by the company. The company chose the 4 most interesting projects to be developed. In the second stage, the professor convened a meeting with economists from Universidad de Otavalo and UTN to present a more detailed proposal. Subsequently, they improved the project in collaboration with IANCEM, which provided more information. Finally, the team considered specific factors of the company for the planning of the project.
For Juan Lobos, Ph.D., IANCEM declared the project as the winner because it is very efficient and easy to implement. “It is not the most advanced project and does not propose something breakthrough, but it was the most appropriate project considering the short time for research, the low cost of the new line and the potential market of the new product in the country,” he says. Now, the team will work hand-in-hand with IANCEM for the final implementation of the new production line.