Our news section features exciting new scientific discoveries and innovations. It reports news from the Canadian chemical science and its impact on government, people, companies and academia.

2019 Feature Stories

April: Better Blast-Off

Rocket fuel may not be environmentally friendly but it is reliable, which is why most of what is being used today has had the same chemical formulation for the last 40 years. Change is coming, however, as the European Union moves to ban the key component, hydrazine, and force the search for a greener replacement.

May: Quicksilver Quandary

Despite the 2017 ratification of a global treaty to reduce the presence of mercury in the environment, researchers still have much to learn about the transport of this elusive toxin and how it can be prevented.

June: Under New Management

Since 2011 the Experimental Lakes Area, a unique environmental chemistry research site in northwestern Ontario, has been operating in a new and more innovative way. It’s now under the administration of an international agency rather than the federal government that launched the facility in the 1960s.

July: Managing Methane

As a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, methane has emerged as a primary target in efforts to mitigate this change in atmospheric chemistry. New work is revealing that tackling methane is also a highly cost-effective means of meeting carbon emission standards.

July/August: Photons Meet Perovskites

Perovskite crystals are starting to emerge as key agents for specialized applications such as photovoltaic cells, and a growing cohort of work is now exploring how to employ this material, and above all, how to produce it economically.

September: Insulin

Despite major advancements in pharmaceutical production, the price of insulin remains stubbornly high. Now independent investigators are looking at the possibility of putting high tech tools in the hands of the people who need this life-saving compound, enabling them to create insulin for themselves.

September/October: The Power of Poop

Infection by the bacterium Clostridium difficile can be potentially fatal and resistant to conventional antibiotics, but it can be successfully treated with transplantation of feces from a healthy donor into the gut of the infected patient. This unusual procedure is still being refined with the help of researchers at the University of Guelph and Queen’s University, who each have a specially designed laboratory to mimic the chemical intricacies of the human digestive tract.

October: Ocean Acidification

In what may become a planet-wide chemistry experiment, the increasing acidification of the world’s oceans is expected to alter this massive ecosystem. Canadian researchers are at the forefront of taking stock of the potential consequences.

November/December: PEI BioAlliance

Perched in a vibrant marine locale, the humble provincial capital of Charlottetown is a hotbed of research and development activity dedicated to finding new ways of employing the ocean’s resources. With 54 companies employing some 1,600 people and generating more than $200 million in revenue each year, the PEI BioAlliance is carving out new markets from its strategic island location.