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Prof. Amar Mohanty, Distinguished Research Chair, Ontario Agriculture College
Director, Bioproducts Discovery & Development Centre, University of Guelph, Ontario,
Prof. Andrew Hrymak, Special Advisor to the President (Industry Partnerships, Green Economy, and Sustainability) and Director, Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Composites Research, Western University, Ontario.



Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of mobility. A regulatory framework is emerging. Consumer demand is accelerating. The auto industry’s transition is in full swing. Electrifying transportation is having profound impact on achieving the zero-emission targets in Canada and around the world. The transformation creates unprecedented opportunities for sustainable materials to maximize the climate benefits of EVs. 

This one-day workshop is focused on the state-of-the-art and future directions of sustainable materials for EVs. Leading experts from academia, industry, government and NGOs will explore topics ranging from advanced material technologies for lightweighting, to innovative solutions for boosting EV safety, life cycle assessment, and circular strategies for EV sustainability.

Focus Areas:

  • Sustainable materials for EVs - Opportunities & challenges 
  • New directions in zero emissions and zero waste 
  • EV lightweighting 
  • Collision and fire safety of EVs 
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning 
  • Circular economy, markets, and policy 




Thursday September 29, 2022

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM To be announced



Speakers And Moderators




Debbie Mielewski Headshot

Debbie Mielewski

Senior Technical Leader - Sustainable & Advanced Materials

Ford Motor Company


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Dr. Deborah Mielewski is the Senior Technical Leader of Sustainable and Advanced Materials at Ford Motor Company, Research and Innovation Center. She received her B.S.E. ('86), M.S.E. ('93) and PhD ('98) degrees in Chemical Engineering, all from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and has been with Ford Motor Company for 33 years. Dr. Mielewski has worked at Ford Research in automotive paint durability, polymer processing and materials development. She initiated the biomaterials program at Ford Research in 2001, and her team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating. Ford launched soy-based foam on the 2008 Mustang, and soy seat cushions, backs and headrests have found their way into every Ford North American built vehicle. Bio-based foams currently reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 million pounds and reduce petroleum dependence by over 5 million pounds annually. 

Since that first laboratory success in formulating and launching the first automotive soy-based foam over a decade ago, the Ford biomaterials research team has been working to expand the use of sustainable plastic materials in vehicles. Ford currently has over a dozen renewable materials in production vehicles, including natural fiber reinforced composites such as wheat straw, rice hulls and cellulose fiber from trees. These materials meet all the stringent requirements of automotive, many times exceeding the performance of traditional plastic composite materials. The team continues to search for innovative and creative bio-technologies that can reduce our dependence on petroleum, create new markets for agricultural products and additional revenue streams for farmers, as well as reduce vehicle weight, which results in improved fuel efficiency and lower vehicle emissions. Over the past 2 years, Ford has kicked off several new material investigations on materials such as cellulose nanofibers (CNF, CNC, cellulose filaments), materials from carbon dioxide, and have even started to apply our knowledge in “green” materials to the exploding area of 3d printing. Late last year, Ford pioneered the introduction of the first bio-carbon made from McDonald’s coffee chaff into the headlamp housings of the Lincoln Continental.

Dr. Mielewski is passionate about the work she does to reduce Ford’s environmental footprint and believes that these new materials are going to dominate the market in the future. Her philosophy is to “do the right thing” in incremental, but ever advancing steps. She has appeared in a Ford national commercial, the NOVA “Making Things” series, and has been interviewed by countless media outlets, including Wall Street Journal, Time Inc. and CNN. She has over 60 referred journal publications and 20 U. S. patents. Her work has been acknowledged with awards such as the Henry Ford Technology Award, the R&D100 Award, the Free Press Automotive Leadership Award, the Environmental Management Association Award, 5 SPE Environmental Innovation Awards and the American Chemical Society’s Industrial Innovation Award. She has spoken at prestigious outlets such as TED and the Smithsonian “Age of Plastics Symposium”.

Ning Yan Headshot

Ning Yan

Professor & Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Bioproducts

Department of Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada


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Ning Yang- University of Toronto

Professor Ning Yan is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Bioproducts. She also holds a University of Toronto Distinguished Professorship in Forest Biomaterials Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. She was also an Endowed Chair in Value Added Wood and Composites previously. Professor Yan has disseminated more than 300 publications, including more than 195 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. She is an international leading expert on biomaterial science, biopolymers, and bio-composites. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her teaching and research excellence and is a fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and International Academy of Wood Sciences.

Tiffany Walsh

Tiffany Walsh

Prof. of Bio/Nanotechnology

Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Australia


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Tiffany Walsh | Deakin

After graduating with a B.Sci(Hons) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, Tiffany Walsh earned her PhD degree in theoretical chemistry from the University of Cambridge, U.K., as a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar. Following a Glasstone Fellowship in the Dept of Materials at the University of Oxford in the U.K., she joined the faculty of the University of Warwick in the Dept. of Chemistry and the Centre for Scientific Computing. In 2012 she returned to Australia on a veski Innovation Fellowship to the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University, Geelong, where she is currently Professor of Bio/Nanotechnology. Her research interests focus on computational materials science, chiefly modeling interfaces between soft matter and solid surfaces. She has specific expertise in polymer composite modeling and has strong interest in how machine learning can be combined with materials modeling.

Jinghang Wu Headshot

Jinghang Wu

Head of R&D for Polyurethane Systems and Polyols

BASF North America, United States


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BASF – Canada

Jinghang Wu is currently the Head of R&D for Polyurethane Systems and Polyols at BASF North America. In the current role, he is responsible for developing urethane and polyol technologies including Rigid Foam, Flexible foam, Elastomers, and Composites. The North America center for BASF’s Urethane system product development is located at Wyandotte, Michigan, supporting Construction, Transportation, Consumer and Industrial markets.

Jinghang also has extensive industrial experience in industrial coatings and dispersions. Before Joining BASF, Jinghang was a lead R&D manager at Dow Chemical company, responsible for Mechanical Dispersions, Encapsulation and release R&D supporting different markets including Adhesives, Packaging, Coatings, Personal care etc..

Jinghang holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in Macromolecular Science and Engineering, and an MBA from Northwestern University.

Manjusri Misra Headshot

Manjusri Misra

Professor & Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Biocomposites

School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Canada


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Manjusri Misra, PhD | Engineering (uoguelph.ca)

Dr. Manju Misra is a professor in the School of Engineering and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. She holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Sustainable Biocomposites from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Research Program Director of the Bioeconomy Panel for the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance a program between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the University of Guelph. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE).

Dr. Misra’s current research focuses primarily on novel bio-based composites and nanocomposites from agricultural, forestry, and recycled resources for the sustainable bio-economy moving towards a Circular Economy. She has authored more than 800 publications, including 404 peer-reviewed journal papers, 21 book chapters, and 53 patents. 

Srikanth Pilla Headshot

Srikanth Pilla

Robert Patrick Jenkins Endowed Professor of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University

Department of Automotive Engineering, Clemson University, United States


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Dr. Srikanth Pilla-Clemson University

Dr. Srikanth Pilla is the Robert Patrick Jenkins endowed professor of automotive engineering at Clemson University. He is also the founding director of Clemson Composites Center. Pilla’s research interests are in the fundamentals and applications of sustainable and lightweight functional materials and manufacturing. Pilla has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed archival publications. His research is supported by NSF, DOE, USDA, DOD, and NASA, besides several foundations and industries including automotive OEMs, and their suppliers. Pilla’s efforts in research and engineering education have garnered him numerous awards, including the 2022 DOE-Vehicle Technologies Office Team award and 2021 US EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

Balpreet Kukreja Headshot

Balpreet Kukreja


Fleet Engineer at the City of Vancouver

Fleet Strategy & Asset Management, City of Vancouver, Canada


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Kari Bliss Headshot

Kari Bliss

Principal Sustainability Lead

PADNOS, United States


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PADNOS - Recycling & Scrap Management

With over 20 years’ experience, Kari leads Sustainability at PADNOS, an industrial recycler of paper, plastics, metals, and electronics. She is a GreenBiz certified professional, Leading the Sustainability Transformation, GRI Certified Sustainability Professional, a board member of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, and the Treasurer of the Society of Plastic Engineers Recycling Division. She is a result driven leader skilled at developing sustainability initiatives. Her expertise in materials allows her to capitalize on circular economy market trends. In 2021 her team developed 27 solutions for OEM's and Tier 1 suppliers. Her ability to establish trust with a diverse array of customers, and identify what they value, brings all the necessary stakeholders together to solve complex circular economy challenges.

Hamdy Khalil Headshot

Hamdy Khalil

Senior Technology Advisor for Advanced Technologies and Innovations

Woodbridge Foam Corporation, Canada


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Dr. Hamdy Khalil is the Senior Technology Advisor for Advanced Technologies and Innovations at The Woodbridge Group. Dr. Khalil pioneered the introduction and commercialization of renewable materials into the polyurethane chemistry used in the interior automotive parts manufacturing which is now the benchmark for the industry. Prior to his present position at Woodbridge Foam Corporation - a major manufacturer of flexible moulded polyurethane foam for the global automotive industry- Dr. Khalil held positions at Labatt's in the pharmaceutical Division, for PolySar Corporation as analytical laboratory supervisor and as Senior Technical Manager for BFGoodrich. Dr. Khalil is one of the pioneers for the development of Phase Transfer Catalysis (PTC). He participated and Chaired many Biotechnology International Conferences. He holds patent in the areas of Polyurethane structural sealants, Latex, Styrenics and Bio Polyols. His first passion is the mentoring and development of young scientists and technical personnel.

Murali Reddy Headshot

Murali Reddy

Innovation and Technology Manager

CpK Interior Products Inc., Canada


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Dr. Murali Reddy is an experienced Innovation and Technology Manager with expertise in new product development, commercialization, tech strategy and execution. He is expert in developing and validating Automotive Interior Plastics. At CpK, Dr. Reddy is responsible for developing and evaluating Lightweighting solutions and functional resins for next generation automotives. Dr. Reddy has utilized Graphene to improve and functionalize polymer resins used in award-winning automotive interiors. 

Dr. Reddy has active interest in EV materials, inlcuding lightweighting, graphene plastics, circularity and sustainability. He has co-authored over 40+ publications and 18+ patents applied/granted on plastics and processes.


Registration Open


Register Here



Workshop Policies: 

Policy on Respectful Dialogue

The workshop on Sustainable Composites - Making Electric Vehicles Lighter and Safer is committed to a positive environment dedicated to excellence, equity and mutual respect. We welcome a wide diversity of participants from industry, government and academia. We encourage all attendees to keep dialogue courteous and criticism constructive. We encourage a lively and respectful debate of ideas. However, personal criticisms will not be tolerated. 

Policy on Social Media Use

The workshop on Sustainable Composites - Making Electric Vehicles Lighter and Safer encourages the use of social media before, during and after the workshop and we invite you to blog, tweet, or Instagram your experience of the workshop. 

We ask that you adhere to the following guidelines for social media use:

  • Refrain from sharing information when a speaker specifically requests that information NOT be shared;
  • Refrain from taking photographs when a presenter requests that their work not be photographed;
  • Be respectful of presenters and try to limit social media use during presentations;
  • Communicate your thoughts and ideas about the workshop in a respectful manner, keeping any criticism constructive; and
  • Do not engage in rudeness.

Policy on Speaker Presentations

Our policy for speakers prohibits sales-type presentations. Speakers are encouraged to avoid direct promotion or endorsement of any single company, product and/or service. However, speakers may use examples of products from their institute/company in the context of Sustainable Composites.

Hosted by:

BDDC-UofG Logo

  Western University in Cooperation with Fraunhofer Logo 


  Ford Logo


Supporting Organizations:   

Woodbridge Group Logo

Anton Paar Logo

Competitive Green Technologies Logo





Thursday September 29, 2022



9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

(Eastern Daylight Time)

Toronto, Canada time



OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre, University of Guelph, ON, Canada