Ian Suckling


  • Phone: +64 7 343 5867
  • Email: Ian.Suckling@scionresearch.com
  • Team: Clean Technologies
  • Role: Senior Scientist; Research Leader; Project Leader, Bioenergy and Biofuels


Ian is a chemist with specialised experience in pretreatment of wood fibres for industrial processing. He has worked closely with the New Zealand pulp and paper industry to optimise their manufacturing systems. His current research involves the development of technologies in biofuel production from woody biomass.


  • PhD (Chemistry), University of British Columbia, Canada -1984
  • BSc (Hons) (Chemistry), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand -1978
  • BSc (Chemistry), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand -1977

Research capabilities

  • Pretreatment of softwoods for biofuel production
  • Lignin, wood and fibre chemistry
     - changes in fibre composition during pulping and bleaching
     - lignin structure, isolation, characterisation and modification
     - pulp and wood colour
     - catalysts for pulping & bleaching
     - fibre modification
  • Characterisation of pulping and bleaching process streams and emissions
  • Fibre-cement pulp performance

Career highlights

  • 2011 Appita Oertel Nadebaum Distinguished Service Award
  • 2010-2012 NZ country representative IEA Task 39 – Commercialising Liquid Biofuels from Biomass.
  • 2010 Appita Fellow
  • 2007-2012 Member Appita (Australian and New Zealand Pulp and Paper Industry Technical Association) Executive Committee.
  • 2007-2009 Dumont d’Urville NZ/France S&T Support Programme award
  • 2005 Chair – Organising committee for Presymposium to Intl Symposium on Wood, Fibre and Pulping Chemistry.
  • 2000-date Honorary Lecturer/Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Waikato.
  • 1999 US Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award – named contributor for collaborative work with Prof. T.J. Collins on the development of catalysts for peroxide bleaching.

Selected papers

Nanayakkara, B; Manley-Harris, M; Suckling, I D; . Understanding the degree of condensation of phenolic and etherified C-9 units in-situ lignin. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry – accepted.

Torr, K M; van de Pas, D J; Cazeils, E F Y; Suckling, I D; 2011. Mild Hydrogenolysis of In-situ and Isolated Pinus radiata Lignins. Bioresource Technology, 102 (2011), 7608-7611

Kibblewhite, R.P., Suckling, I.D., Evans, R., Grace, J.C. and Riddell, M.J.C. -  Lignin and carbohydrate variation with earlywood, latewood, and compression wood content of bent and straight ramets of a radiata pine clone. Holzforschung 64(1):101 (2010).

Nanayakkara, B., Manley-Harris, M., Suckling, I.D. and Donaldson, L.A. -  Quantitative chemical indicators to assess the gradation of compression wood. Holzforschung 63(4):431 (2009).

Vafiadi, C., Topakas, E., Wong, K.K.Y., Suckling, I.D. and Christakopoulos, P. -  Mapping the hydroltic and synthetic selectivity of a type C feruloyl esterase (StFaeC) from Sporotrichum thermophile using alkyl ferulates. Tetrahedron-Asymmetry 16(2):373 (2005).

Collins, T.J., Hall Jenny, A., Vuocolo, L.D., Fattaleh, N.L., Suckling, I.D., Horwitz, C.P., Gordon-Wylie, S.W., Allison, R.W., Fullerton, T.J. and Wright, L.J. - The activation of hydrogen peroxide for selective, efficient wood pulp bleaching. in Green Chemistry.  Challenging Perspectives, Tundo, P. and Anastas, P., eds, Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000), p. 79.