Lab Canada

NRC scientist wins life sciences achievement award for the cleantech sector

Portland, OR – Dr Wing Sung, principal research officer with the National Research Council, has been awarded the inaugural Clean Technology Innovation Award from the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI).


He received the prize for his work with Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT) in developing a new organic fibre technology that creates an environmentally friendly alternative to cotton, and for his work reducing toxic effluent in the production of paper and textiles.


“I am grateful for the support, vision and determined attitude of our collaborator NAT,” he says. “In the last two years, we developed the organic enzyme bath process … that transforms hemp into fibre using conventional cotton equipment with no modifications. We are very excited the project is now moving to the commercialization stage.”


The award, the latest of several in the last 10 years, was based on Dr Sung’s leadership and promotion of the life sciences industry for over 10 years, his collaboration with the industry on a national scale, and his strong research record that is supported by 24 patents issued, including 6 in the US.


Dr Sung is a principal research officer at the Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council with research interests in protein engineering of industrial enzymes, bio-products and natural fibre. His current research involves protein engineering and application of glycosidase enzymes for the extraction of plant fibres for textile and bio-composite materials.


He is the researcher behind four generations of engineered xylanases for the production of bleached pulp, in partnership with Iogen of Ottawa. Iogen develops, manufactures and markets industrial enzymes. The xylanase technology processes two million tons of pulp in Canada and the US annually, resulting in a net saving of between $500,000 – $1,000,000/year per facility. Between 1997 and 2007, this technology was responsible for a cumulative reduction of 100,000 tons of undesirable organochloride by-products by reducing the amount of chlorine bleach required in the production of 25 million tons of bleached pulp.