I received all of my degrees from the Faculty of Forestry at the University
of Toronto, gradually moving from forest operations to wood chemistry,
to pulp and paper science, and ultimately to advanced forest products
including energy production. Along the way I became very interested in
the policy aspects of both environmental management and technology development.
From 2001-2003, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Liu Institute
for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, where I focused
on the environmental aspects related to human security in the global context.
From 2003 until 2008, I was a Research Associate in the Forest Products
Biotechnology group at UBC, where I was involved in the development of
new bioenergy and biofuel technologies – both in Canada and around
the world. My main area of focus was exploring policy tools to evaluate
the efficiency of new energy systems, and to deploy these types of technologies
in commercial application. Much of this work was done in conjunction with
the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO). I have been at Queen’s University since
2008 and hold a joint appointment between the Department of Geography
and the School of Policy Studies. I am currently the Associate Director
of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, the
Acting Director of Queen’s Sustainable Bioeconomy Centre, and the
Associate Task Leader (Policy) for the IEA’s Bioenergy Task 39 ‘Liquid
At the undergraduate level, I have taught one course on Global Forest
Issues (GPHY 104) and will be offering a more advanced course on Energy
and Environment (GPHY 371, coming fall 2009). At the graduate level, I
teach an Environmental Policy course (MPA 847) in the School of Policy
Studies, and will be offering a course examining different technical approaches
to renewable energy through the Department of Geography (winter term 2010).
My graduate students work on a range of issues related to the development
of a renewable energy future. This includes evaluating social capacity
required to support new renewable energy technologies, defining ecological
carrying capacity for various technological solutions (such as biomass
inventory requirements for new bioenergy technologies), applying technical
tools to support policy development (including life cycle assessment and
techno-economic modeling), and exploring the use of environmental and
energy policy – both as a driver for new energy solutions, and as
a safety net to prevent unsustainable practices.
My research focuses on the interface between renewable energy policy
and technologies, with particular emphasis on wood energy and biofuels.
This means that my students and I work across a broad spectrum that covers
environmental policy, international approaches to renewable energy development,
and commercialization of new products and processes. A major research
project that we have undertaken at Queen’s is an evaluation of renewable
energy opportunities and challenges specific to Eastern Ontario, which
we have proposed as Canada’s first Renewable Energy Region. This
will allow us to take a case study approach in examining policy for renewable
energy options, and will provide a framework for expert advice to both
federal and provincial governments on the development of strategies to
reduce our reliance upon fossil energy sources. This research approach
builds on international examples, in Sweden, Germany, Japan, and elsewhere,
of successful regional strategies to develop renewable energy solutions.
My research program is strongly connected to the activities of the International
Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Task 39 ‘Liquid biofuels’,
which offers us an avenue to explore different approaches to new energy
systems, and gives my students a window to the world of international
technology and policy development. We are also engaged in partnerships
with our neighbours in the USA, through mechanisms including the IEA and
the Great Lakes Sustainable Energy Consortium. At Queen’s, I am
closely associated with the Sustainable Bioeconomy Centre (focused on
technology solutions to drive the bioeconomy forward) and Queen’s
Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy (focused on a portfolio
of environmental and energy-related issues).
Zhang, Y., J. McKechnie, D. Cormier, R. Lyng, W.E. Mabee,
H.L. MacLean (2009) Comparison of life cycle greenhouse gas and air pollutant
emissions associated with electricity production from coal, natural gas
and wood pellets in Ontario, Canada. Environmental Science & Technology
Mabee, W.E., McFarlane PM, D.J. Gregg, J.N. Saddler
(2009) Biomass availability for the development of North American lignocellulose-based
biorefining operations. Biomass and Bioenergy (in press).
Sims, R., M. Taylor, J.N. Saddler, W.E. Mabee (2009)
From 1st- to 2nd-generation biofuel technologies. Renewable Energy World
Chandra R.P., R. Bura, W.E. Mabee, A. Berlin, X. Pan,
J.N. Saddler (2007) Substrate pretreatment: The key to effective enzymatic
hydrolysis of lignocellulosics? Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology
Mabee, W.E. (2007) Policy options to support bioethanol
production. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology 108:329-357.
Fraser E.D.G., A.J. Dougill, W.E. Mabee, M.S. Reed,
P. McAlpine (2006) Bottom up and top down: Analysis of participatory processes
for sustainability indicator identification as a pathway to community
empowerment and sustainable environmental management. Journal of Environmental
Mabee, W.E., J.N. Saddler (2006) The potential of bioconversion
to produce fuels and chemicals. Pulp and Paper Canada 107(6):34-37.
Thony P., W.E. Mabee, R. Kozak, G.Q. Bul (2006) A characterization
of the British Columbia log home and timber frame manufacturing sector.
Forestry Chronicle 82(1):77-83.
Tu M, X. Zhang, A. Kurabi, N. Gilkes, W.E. Mabee, J.N.
Saddler (2006) Immobilization of ß-glucosidase on Eupergit C for
lignocellulose hydrolysis. Biotechnology Letters 28(3):151-156.
Fraser E.D.G., W.E. Mabee, F. Figge (2005) A framework
for assessing the vulnerability of food systems to future shocks. Futures
Pan X., C. Arato, N. Gilkes, D.J. Gregg, W.E. Mabee,
K. Pye, Z. Xiao, X. Zhang, J.N. Saddler (2005) Biorefining of softwoods
using ethanol organosolv pulping. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 90(4):473-481.
Fraser E.D.G., W.E. Mabee (2004) Researching the Secure
City: looking to build a preliminary framework. Canadian Journal of Urban
Research 13(1) Supplement: 89-99.
Mabee, W.E., E.D.G. Fraser, O. Slaymaker (2004) Ecosystem
management in the context of BC resource planning. BC Journal of Ecosystems
and Management 4(1):31-41.
Fraser E.D.G., W.E. Mabee, O. Slaymaker (2003) Mutual
dependence, mutual vulnerability: The reflexive relation between human
society and the environment. Global Environmental Change 13(2):137-144.
Mabee, W.E., D.N. Roy (2003) Modelling the role of papermill
sludge in the organic carbon cycle of paper products. Environmental Reviews