View the Winter 2017 Canadian Chemical News (ACCN) print issue as a PDF.

Alberta wells gush a different gold

PETROCHEMISTRY

Technology aimed at cleaning up the wastewater generated by oil and gas extraction could also transform Alberta into one of the world’s leading lithium producers. This element has become a key ingredient in batteries powering everything from smart phones to automobiles, but most of it comes from conventionally mined sources outside of Canada. Now this...

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Target on methane

PETROCHEMISTRY

A high-efficiency incinerator at Cenovus Energy’s terminal near Edmonton destroys all noxious hydrocarbon emissions as tank cars are loaded with crude oil.  Photo credit: Questor Technology Decades before climate change became an environmental crisis, Canada’s petroleum industry disposed of then-unmarketable natural gas, or methane, simply by burning it. In Alberta’s Turner Valley oilfield in the 1920s,...

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The New Switcheroo

GREEN CHEMISTRY

For most of human history, fresh water was wherever we could find it. Communities were set up on flood plains to take advantage of natural irrigation, along rivers that lent themselves to easy availability or in regions rich with aquifers that could be tapped for wells. We have steadily freed ourselves from water’s geographical tyranny,...

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Changes for Canadaʼs Environmental Protection Act

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

In February 2016, the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development undertook a Parliamentary Review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA 99). The act, originally passed by former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien’s government, established, among other things, Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). At the time, it was considered...

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Chameleon chemist

EDUCATION

When Jennifer Murphy was growing up in Portugal Cove, NL, her father would take her cod jigging, a uniquely Newfoundland way of fishing that involves throwing a piece of baited line with hooks into the water, then letting it sink. As the line is retrieved, it is tugged...

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Magnets attract not only metal but gullible people

CHEMFUSION

Magnets are fascinating. Imagine the amazement of the ancient Greeks who discovered that some naturally occurring stones, later named magnetite because they were found in the region of Magnesia, attracted iron. The stones also quickly attracted superstitious beliefs. Magnetite was said to have the ability to heal the sick and frighten away evil spirits. Archimedes...

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Investigators corral the secrets of mad cow disease

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Prions, the misfolded proteins that can wreak havoc on the brain, are slowly surrendering their secrets. First identified in the late 1980s as the culprit behind mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans), investigators have spent the past 25 years trying to determine...

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