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Ronalds Gonzalez

Associate Professor & University Faculty Scholar

Pulp & Paper Labs 1211

Bio

Dr. Ronalds Gonzalez is an Associate Professor of Conversion Economics & Sustainability at NC State University. His work focuses on developing tools and knowledge to create value in both the bio- and circular economy. He has been recognized by the Brazilian Association of Pulp & Paper Technologists and granted the NC State University Faculty Scholar distinction as well as the Chancellor Innovation Award for his innovative contributions to the industry and academia. He has authored over 100 publications found in high-impact factor scientific journals and recognized trade magazines. He mentors an on-campus research group, identifying talent and inspiring innovative and high-impact projects.

Research Interest

Dr. Gonzalez’s research group (go.ncsu.edu/ConEcSus) works closely with companies and federal agencies to fast-track the industrial implementation of emerging and disruptive sustainable technologies and materials. Recently, he established a University-Industry research consortium, “SAFI” (Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative), supported by more than 20 companies (go.ncsu.edu/SAFI), to promote responsible sourcing, development, and use of sustainable fibers to fight climate change. His research portfolio exceeds 8 million dollars.

Industrial Experience

Before joining NC State University, Dr. Gonzalez spent 15 years in the industry. His responsibilities included Corporate Controller of Manufacturing and Logistics for North, Central, and South America for SCA (Essity, the largest global hygiene tissue producer), and Controller of Fiber and Pulp Divisions for Smurfit Kappa Carton de Venezuela. As a global expert in value creation and integrated analysis, Dr. Gonzalez has served as a consultant for numerous entities worldwide, including the United States International Trade Commission, International Paper, Domtar, Greenwood Resources, Proteak, Essity, Evolution Resources, among others.

Education

Bachelor, Business Administration, Accounting. Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela.

Bachelor, Engineering. Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela.

Master, Marketing Forest Products, NC State University, USA

Ph.D., Supply Chain & Conversion Economics, NC State University, USA

MBA, Corporate Finance, Jenkins Business School, USA

Certification, Value Creation Forest Products & Consumer Goods, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Area(s) of Expertise

Conversion economics, supply chain, sustainability, bioeconomy, hygiene tissue industry

Publications

View all publications 

Grants

Date: 02/06/19 - 2/05/29
Amount: $15,960.00
Funding Agencies: International Corrugated Packing Foundation (ICPF)

Our proposal will address all three ICPF priority areas. We will ensure that students learn and perform structural design, prototyping, and techno-economic analysis to understand how design, material types/additives, and processes (analog vs. digital) affects product performances, economics, and sustainability aspect. We will also encourage students to take elective courses in sales and marketing.

Date: 01/01/20 - 12/31/24
Amount: $74,382.00
Funding Agencies: NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Loblolly pine is the most abundant commercially grown tree species in North Carolina with over 100,000 acres of pine plantations established each year in the state. In addition to the conventional forest products industry, loblolly pine serves as a promising source for renewable energy in the form of woody biomass. Large genetic differences exist for growth, disease resistance, and stem form. By planting genetically superior trees with desirable traits, it may be possible to substantially increase the amount and quality of biomass produced at a given site. The goal of this project is to evaluate different planting stock (families) in combination with different thinning regimes in order to inform forest landowners how best to maximize their returns when supplying both the bioenergy and sawtimber markets. This project was initiated in 2012, with the planting of a high spacing density (1037 trees/acre) long-term field trial in the NC Piedmont. The trial includes 10 of the best Coastal and 10 of the best Piedmont families with varying degrees of adaptation, growth, and wood characteristics. Different thinning regimes will be explored using eight year measurements, and the predicted financial returns from the thinnings as well as projected sawtimber production will be evaluated.

Date: 09/15/20 - 9/14/24
Amount: $14,142.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

The hygiene tissue industry (bath tissue and kitchen towel) is an annual 39 million tons - USD 100 billion - global market with a forecast to grow ~ 3% per year for the next decade [38], [39]. Most hygiene tissue paper grades require the use of both long and short virgin fibers, which provide strength and softness respectively [8]. As an effect of global megatrends, the demand for non-woody biomass for tissue manufacturing will continue to increase [40], and agricultural biomass, which is perceived to be a sustainable option, can be an important source of short fibers for the tissue industry [41]. Therefore, the need to research and create knowledge on the handling and conversion of biomass sorghum and switchgrass to produce sustainable and high-end fiber furnish for the hygiene tissue industry. The proposed feedstock can be established to supply fiber at industrial scale.

Date: 06/30/20 - 12/31/23
Amount: $27,222.00
Funding Agencies: VentureWell (formerly know as National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance)

Abstract: With the inevitable coming of the Green Economy, biomass valorization, use of renewable and bio-based materials and development of high-performance, recyclable, biodegradable and biocompatible products are nowadays’ challenges and opportunities to welcome a more sustainable society. Yet, to hasten its arrival, we must answer the daunting question of how we transform these challenges to opportunities? By educating new generations of students to the multiplicity of opportunities or “multiverse” of biomass, from a scientific and engineering perspective to an entrepreneurial vision. The Department of Forest Biomaterials has decades of expertise in conversion and valorization of biomass into new fuels/energies and high-performance biomaterials that offer solutions to greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and aquatic pollution and waste accumulation.We propose to leverage our graduate curriculum by adding an entrepreneurial and business competency to its strong scientific and engineering core. Our envisioned integrated program aims at educating Master and PhD students from NC State University, and others (via an online version) by training them in the principles, practices and methodologies of biomass valorization, conversion, and usage.

Date: 11/15/18 - 11/14/23
Amount: $238,500.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Led by the Department of Forest Biomaterials in collaboration with the Departments of Forestry, Business Management and Science Education at NC State University; this proposal will develop an educational program for a new generation of technology-to-commercialization researchers who will graduate with the expertise to perform risk analysis and develop risk management strategies across the value chain of biomass supply, biobased materials, and biofuels manufacturing to meet current and future national needs that will ultimately advance the nascent bioeconomy of the United States. Previous studies indicate that a limited number of companies in the forest product industry perform risk analysis for their decision-making process. We do believe that this small adoption rate is due to lack of awareness of the importance of risk analysis and risk management for effective/efficient R&D planning and investment and lack of expertise (people trained) to perform risk analysis across the whole supply chain. This proposal supports TESA in “Agricultural Management and Economics”, in the discipline of Environmental Sciences/Management. Three Ph.D. students will be trained to analyze and propose mitigation strategies for current and future risks inherent to the bioeconomy. To considerably amplify the effect of this proposal, prospective fellows and project directors will deliver educational workshops in risk analysis and management targeting the biobased community across the U.S., while the proposal is expected to be completed in three years, project director expects to keep the program as a permanent teaching/research program. This proposed program supports USDA-NIFA Goal “Catalyze exemplary and relevant research, education and extension programs”.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $60,000.00
Funding Agencies: Suzano Pulp and Paper America

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $60,000.00
Funding Agencies: WestRock CP, LLC

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $60,000.00
Funding Agencies: Mercer International Inc.

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $60,000.00
Funding Agencies: Georgia Pacific Consumer Operations LLC

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $60,000.00
Funding Agencies: Golden Gate Paper Company

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles.


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