Dr. Wolfgang Glasser and Dr. Amantino de Freitas
Dr. Wolfgang Glasser and others
Dr. Wolfgang Glasser and graduate students and faculty at UF-ABC

Dr. Amantino de Freitas (left) and Prof. Emerit. Wolfgang G. Glasser (right) in front of a group of Eucalyptus trees planted as seedlings in 1976 when Glasser started the pulp and paper research center (CTP) at the Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnolόgicas (IPT) while on a one-year leave of absence from VT in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 43-year old trees now have a diameter at breast height (dbh) of 30 in. (75cm) and a height of 90 ft. (30m).

Staff and visitors at the Center for Forest Resource Technology (CT-Floresta). L-to-R: C. Souza (IPT), D. Santos (UF-ABC), M. L. O. D’Almeida (IPT), W. Glasser (VT), A. de Freitas (SBS), L. Tavares (UF-ABC), P. Kaji (IPT). The CT-Floresta is the result of the merger of activities in wood products, pulp and paper, and packaging.


Laboratory exercises with graduate students and faculty at UF-ABC dealing with the modification of Eucalyptus kraft lignin isolated at a new lignin recovery installation at Suzano’s pulp mill in Limeira, Sao Paulo. These activities involve a collaboration between ABC Federal University of Santo Andre, Entropic Solutions – Tecnologias a Partir de Biomassa, and Suzano Pulp and Paper. 

The deep roots of CNRE - SBIO in Sao Paulo, Brazil

By Wolfgang G. Glasser and Amantino de Freitas

The Brazilian pulp and paper industry has experienced almost exponential growth in the past half century with the establishment of Eucalyptus plantation forests in the state of Espírito Santo, an area on the Atlantic Coast, just above the state of Rio de Janeiro. These trees, which reach harvesting age at just seven years, on average, feed multiple pulp mills which, in 2018, produced 21 million tons of short fiber pulp - about 20% of world production! The development of these plantations was materially influenced by the establishment of research centers on wood products, on pulp and paper, on packaging, and on silviculture at the Institute for Technological Research in the state of Sao Paulo (IPT).

The wood research center was headed by Dr. Amantino de Freitas, a 1976 PhD graduate (who studied under the supervision of the late Prof. George Stern) of the Department of Forest Products at Virginia Tech. The pulp and paper research center (CTCP) was started by professor Wolfgang Glasser in 1976 while on a one-year leave of absence. Several staff members of the Brazilian wood research center subsequently pursued graduate degrees at the Dept. of Forest Products at VT. Among them were J. P. Chimelo (PhD), L. C. S. Oliveira (MSc), N. Franco (MSc), and R. H. Ponce (MSc). Several of these scientists are currently, or have in recent years, continued their careers at Brazilian academic institutions.

Wolfgang G. Glasser, professor emeritus of the Dept. Sustainable Biomaterials, whose special research interests have revolved around the chemistry of lignin for the past 50 years, recently renewed contact with Brazil in cooperation with Suzano - the largest producer of Eucalyptus pulp and paper in the world. Suzano recently joined a group of pulp mills world-wide that recover lignin from their kraft processes for use in sustainable and biodegradable materials, adhesives and plastics. Glasser has experience with the development of commercial lignin markets through his collaboration with several industrial and start-up ventures.

Suzano’s Eucalyptus kraft lignin represents the first source of isolated hardwood lignin, which promises to have properties well-qualified for a wide range of polymeric materials, such as polyurethane foams, epoxy resins, and thermoplastics. These are materials that generally benefit from lignin’s original design as a bonding and stiffening agent in wood. Through Glasser’s efforts, Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment is having a major impact on the use of global forest resources.