Teams of students from the Western University Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering spent the day presenting their final-year projects to panels of judges from Sarnia-Lambton industries and organizations at the 13th annual Capstone Design and Competition, held on March 23, 2018.

“This competition, in many ways, is the culmination of years of hard work from graduating students and helps to lay the foundation for future career prospects,” said Dr. Katherine Albion, Executive Director of the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park where the competition was hosted. “Capstone is also an excellent opportunity for our panel of judges, comprised of community leaders and industry experts, to stay connected to discoveries being made through academia.”

Panels of judges, comprised of local community and industry leaders, presented first and second place awards in the categories of Petrochemicals, Green Processes, and Specialty Chemicals & Environmental following presentations made by more than 70 students.

“The annual Capstone competition continues to deliver a wealth of experience for participating students,” said Albion. “Feedback shared by the engineers, researchers and other community professionals helps to form the future careers of these students.”

Sponsorships totaling $13,000 were generously donated by: Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, Suncor Energy Products, Bluewater Power, Pollutech Enviroquatics, NOVA Chemicals, CF Industries, Shell Canada, WorleyParsons, INEOS Styrolution, LEHDER Environmental Services, SNC-Lavalin, Western Research Parks, and the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The winners were:


First Place: Production of Dimethyl Ether (DME) from Methanol; Engineers: Marina Fiorente, Mary Ames, Andrew Pho, and Ryan Morgan

Second Place: Production of Methanol from Shale Gas; Engineers: Derek Flegg, Mitchell Morrison, Lachlan Duncan, and Mikaela Ferguson

Green Processes

First Place: Catalytic Dehydration of Ethanol to Ethylene; Engineers: Andrew Heaslip, Brendan Hewton, Aaron Alaimo, and Timothy McDougald

Second Place: Hydrogenolysis of Glycerol to Propylene Glycol; Engineers: Teresa Zita, Kathleen Zohorsky, Katrina Darcel, Ena Mulalic, and Michael Giorgi

Specialty Chemicals & Environmental

First Place: Industrial Production of Cannabidiol (CBD) & Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Oil Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide; Engineers: Carson Otto, Tyler Jobin, and Austin Lowes

Second Place: Production of Penicillin; Engineers: Zachary Gouveia, Navdeep Hansra, Trent Gordon, and Andy Niedzialek

The Western-Sarnia-Lambton Research Park was created in November 2003 with the inception of the County of Lambton Community Development Corporation, owned by the County of Lambton. The Research Park manages and operates the property owned by the CLCDC. It boasts 270,000 square feet of leasable area. In addition to its labs and research space, it is home to a number of high profile tenants including NOVAChemicals, Enbridge, the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, and WorleyParsons.