Ho Ho Ho! Tis’ the season for a CSBE regional update!
Once upon a time, Prince Charming and his lovely wife, Snow White… Hey, hey, hold on a second here! What’s going on? I must confess, I am hooked on the television series “Once Upon a Time”. It’s about fairy tale characters, like Little Red Riding Hood (btw, she’s not so little anymore), Rumpelstiltskin, etc., who have been transported via a curse to our world. No pun intended. And so the saga continues. I started watching it with my kid and wife and now I can’t wait for the next episode! Sure brings back nostalgic childhood memories! J
Enough distractions and let’s get on with the business of the region. The last few months have gone by rather quickly. One moment our regional news articles are being posted in the summer edition of the Perspectives Newsletter, and the next, we receive notice that the deadline to submit our fall articles is upon us. Yikes! The good news is that there’s been plenty abuzz in snowy, but not so bright and sunny Alberta!
With each passing day, the subject of bioenergy (including biofuel) research, development and commercialization stands out as one of the definite flavours of our time - with hints of agricultural, biological, bioresource, biosystems, chemical and other engineering disciplines ingrained indelibly within. September saw the City of Calgary host the 2013 Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC 2013), entitled “Food, Water and Energy for a Hungry World”. Apparently, it boasted a contingent of participants from industry, research, academia and government, all exploring the role of agricultural biotechnology in agriculture and energy. Of course being an international conference, guest speakers and panelists were invited from as far as New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Australia, the UK, Cayman Islands, Ireland, across the US and Canada. Incidentally, one of the guest speakers on the program was Dr. David Lynch, Dean of Engineering, University of Alberta.
Dr. David Bressler with the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta, received a Spinoff Achievement Award from TEC Edmonton in October. Dr. Bressler was instrumental in developing a University of Alberta company that specializes in commercializing technology that converts various biomaterial feedstock, including agricultural feedstock of all types, into renewable fuels. Dr. Bressler is a Professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutritional Science and Executive Director of the Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN). His field of study is bio/food engineering and he was an active organizer of the 2006 CSBE AGM and Conference held in Edmonton.
Speaking of the BCN, the network held its 2013 Annual Strategic Retreat, entitled ″Breaking Ground in Alberta’s Bioindustry″, in Banff in November. Topics covered included:
- What’s in Store for the Renewable Energy Sector: Global Market Dynamics & Financing Realities
- Parts, Pathways, Performance: Industrial Biotechnology in Alberta’s Resource Sectors
- Innovative Industry & Academic Partnerships: BCN Researchers and Alberta’s Forest Industry Partners - Exploring Value-Added Solutions
- It’s Not Just About Bio: Chemistry Platforms for Advanced Bioproducts
Our very own CSBE member, Dr. Amit Kumar (Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta; Cenovus Energy Endowed Chair in Environmental Engineering; and NSERC/Cenovus/Alberta Innovates Associate Industrial Research Chair in Energy and Environmental Systems Engineering) was one of the panelists on the third topic. Dr. Kumar’s current research interests are in the techno-economic assessment of bioenergy systems (biopower and biofuels); large scale biomass transport and logistics (e.g., pipeline transport of biomass, simulation and modeling of biomass feedstock supply systems); greenhouse gas mitigation; and energy forecasting and planning.
Coincidentally, our region will be hosting its inaugural CSBE Alberta Annual Lecture Series, "Bioresource Engineering - Advancing Alberta’s Bioenergy Platform” on January 28, 2014, at the University of Alberta Faculty Club. While arrangements are still being finalized, we hope to feature speakers from Alberta Energy, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions and the Faculty of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta. Details about the luncheon lecture will be posted in the weeks to come.
Well then, that’s it for this year. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the best of 2014! Um… if you happen to come across Snow White’s evil stepmother in your travels, could you please let her know I’ve got a score to settle with her. Happy viewing! J