In an historical milestone, the leaders of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) and its member Societies all hail from industry. L-R: Canadian Society for Chemistry President Lorenzo Ferrari, BASF Canada Inc.; CIC Chair David Fung, ACDEG International Inc.; Canadian Society for Chemical Technology President Donna McMahon, Suncor Energy; and Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering President David Guss, of Nexen Inc. Photo credit: HAO WANG 

More than 900 researchers, academics, students and governement and industry representatives descended upon New Brunswick last October for the 63rd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, held in picturesque Fredericton. The conference theme, “Resources, Environment, Energy,” addressed the critical issues facing chemical engineers today in Canada and around the world. Symposia included the latest advances in forest biorefinery, nanotechnology, catalytic technologies for clean and green fuels, emerging technologies in lignocellulosic products and materials, nuclear technology, adsorption and membrane separation, oil and gas, waste water treatment and environment and process safety and management. A multinational committee of experts organized each session.

A unique perspective on the conference theme was presented each day by world-renowned plenary speakers. Richard Darton of the Department of Engineering Science at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom opened the conference, discussing how the global consumption of oil, gas and coal is causing unacceptable increases in global warming as well as ocean acidification. Darton also addressed the challenge of sustainable development, while emphasizing the responsibility chemists and chemical engineers have to find and deploy technical solutions to this challenge. Other plenary speakers were Adriaan van Heiningen, University of Maine, who lectured on lignocellulosic biorefinery research, and Jesse Zhu, FCIC, Canada Research Chair in Particle Technology Applications and distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Western University in London, Ont. Zhu presented  the R.S. Jane Memorial Award Lecture on past, present and future fluidization practices.

University of Calgary chemical engineering students showed their school spirit by donning scarves emblazoned with U of C’s varsity colours of red, gold and black. Photo credit: HAO WANG 

The conference’s undergraduate program showcased student contributions through the exchange of ideas. This included competitions, tours, workshops and a student banquet. A highlight of this year’s student conference was the Engineering Entrepreneurship workshop led by Dhirendra Shukla, the Dr. J. Herbert Smith ACOA Chair in Technology at the University of New Brunswick. Students held a 60-second pitch competition to showcase their skills at selling themselves and their product. Students also attended the main conference program, giving them a broader understanding of the work being done in industry and academia.