Recent News
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 11:05

Biomass and Bioenergy Group (BBRG) at UBC

The Biomass and Bioenergy Group (BBRG) at UBC is doing research in the area of biomass processing bridging the gap between biomass production and biomass conversion. This involves integrating all processes and management strategies from source raw biomass to just before final conversion to bio-products. BBRG involves multidisciplinary innovative research on biomass drying, size reduction, densification, torrefaction, resource assessment, characterization, and supply logistics. BBRG was founded and is led by Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj, an Adjunct Professor at UBC in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CHBE) and a Distinguished Research Scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Sokhansanj and his colleagues Professors Xiaotao Bi (CHBE), Jim Lim (CHBE), Anthony Lau (CHBE) and Taraneh Sowlati (Wood Science) and in consultation with industry (Mr. Staffan Melin) have identified biomass processing and logistics as a key priority for the development of bioenergy in BC. BBRG’s current research and development is focused on development of pellets and torrefaction, a fast growing industry in British Columbia and Canada. In summary, the BBRG’s research addresses a number of critical issues facing the sustainability and growth of the bioenergy industry in British Columbia and in Canada.

The current energy input and output ratio of the process is not favorable especially when long distance transport is required. This makes pellets less attractive from an emissions stand point.

  • The excessive transport cost needs to be offset by a higher bulk density, higher energy density and higher pellet durability. Development of low cost environmentally benign torrefaction may provide a solution;
  • The cost of turning raw biomass into a densified product using the existing technology is high, making biomass less competitive with fossil fuels;
  • The availability of low cost saw mill residue is decreasing due to a gradual reduction in the number of sawmills especially in BC. Also, logging residues are varied in quality resulting in poor quality pellets;
  • As a biological material, biomass emits toxic gasses inside enclosed spaces that endanger the life and health of people. Methods for safe handling and storage of biomass are important;
  • A pelletized biomass creates dust during frequent handling, which can be harmful to humans and can cause explosions and fires. It is important to produce durable pellets that withstand frequent mechanical forces and do not adsorb moisture from the environment.

BBRG has been hosting a weekly seminar series on biomass and bioenergy to promote the research and development of renewable bioenergy in British Columbia. Speakers have been drawn from a variety of industries, levels of government, and academic disciplines. The seminar series also give the students of BBRG an opportunity to showcase their research results to a multi-stakeholder audience. Members of BBRG are collaborating with the designers and operational staff to develop quality specifications for feedstock and supply logistics to minimize any potential adverse environmental impact on the neighbourhood.



Members of the CERC Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group (BBRG)

At the same time, BBRG has been actively participating in many provincial and national initiatives, such as examining the potential use of mountain pine beetle killed trees in BC, the Agricultural Bioenergy Innovation Program (ABIP) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands, BC Innovation Council, and Natural Resources Canada. For up to date information on research, members of the BBRG, and events see BBRG’s website at www.biomass.ubc.ca.

One of the students of BBRG, Mahmoud Ebadian, the PhD candidate at Forestry department also has recently received the two following awards:

  • First prize of the student poster competition in 6th Annual Growing the Margins and 4th annual Canadian Farm and Food Biogas Conferences today;
  • People's Choice Award in the Faculty of Forestry 3-Minute-Thesis Competition, 2012.  

A paper on Stratification of off-gases in stored wood pellets by Fahimeh Yazdanpanah another PhD candidate at this group was selected and presented at the WSED (World Sustainable Energy Days 2012) in Wels, Austria in Feb 2012. In December 2012, Clean Energy Research Centre open house was heldat the University of British Columbia. Biomass and Bionergy Research Group (BBRG) members received the 2nd prize at the poster competition running along the event.


62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference

The CSBE / SCGAB and CSChE will collaborate on the technical programming of the 62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (CSChE Conference) taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 14-17, 2012. This collaboration will be carried out to the mutual benefit of both respective organizations and their individual members and with the additional objective to further the cause of biological engineering and chemical engineering in Canada. CSBE / SCGAB members are encouraged to work with the CSChE Conference Technical Program Committee to develop one or more joint technical sessions. These will be recognized as such in the conference program book and on the conference website. CSBE / SCGAB leaders will be shown on the Technical Program Committee lists on the website, program book and other communications vehicles.



Scholarship and Awards:

Sanjayan Satchithanantham was the recipient of “2012 Petro Canada Resources Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Issues in Engineering”.

Saravanan Nandagopal and Mohammad Al-Amin Sadek received “W.E. Muir Scholarship for Graduate Studies in Biosystems Engineering” for 2012.

Rumana Islam, Ph D student from Biosystems Engineering was awarded “Edward R.Toporeck Graduate Fellowship for Excellence in Engineering”.

Congratulations to award winners!


Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA-ACEG) THIRD Annual Conference 

June 17 to 20, 2012. University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The 3rd Annual CEEA/ACEG Conference will be held at the University of Manitoba in vibrant Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) is an organization whose mission is to “enhance the competence and relevance of graduates from Canadian engineering schools through continuous improvement in engineering education and design education.” This third annual CEEA conference continues to build on the previous efforts of the Canadian Design Engineering Network (CDEN) and the Canadian Congress on Engineering Education (C2E2). We strongly encourage the broad community of engineering educators – from faculties of engineering and applied science, arts, science, education to technical colleges, libraries, teaching and learning centres and industry to join us. Relevant student papers are also welcomed. Check the event home page for more information: http://www.ceea.ca/EN/index.php


Heavy Vehicle Technology Workshop

Register now for the limited seating, March 29th Heavy Vehicle Technology Workshop. Network with an exciting line-up of local, national, and international experts in the fields of Heavy Vehicle Manufacturing and Design.  This is your opportunity to interact with current and prospective suppliers and partners in attendance, while learning about the latest techniques, projects, capabilities, and opportunities in your field. 

Two excellent keynote sessions are in store for those who attend this Workshop:  Craig Shankwitz, Director, Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory, University of Minnesota will kick the day off with a presentation on "FreewayConomics" and Paul Soubry, President and CEO of New Flyer Industries will enlighten the audience with an afternoon keynote on "Supply Chain collaboration Throughout the Product Lifecycle".

Learn more by visiting Event Homepage and by viewing the Program Schedule.

When:  March 29, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Victoria Inn, Winnipeg, MB

Registration: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/222437

Cost: $125 + GST - Includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages

This comprehensive technology workshop has been created through a collaboration of the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, Red River College, Westest, and the Vehicle Technology Centre. This Workshop is being Officially Supported by: the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada; Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Manitoba; the Canadian Society for Bioengineering; the Composites Innovation Centre; Certified Technicians and Technologists Association of Manitoba; the Industrial Technology Centre; the Society of Automotive Engineers, Manitoba Section; and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Winnipeg.

For more information, please contact:

Brent Wennekes, Technology Transfer and Communications Manager
Applied Research & Commercialization, Red River College
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The SoE is Expanding!

The School of Engineering has embarked on an ambitious expansion strategy that will see a doubling in undergraduate student enrolment and faculty in the coming years.
Phase 1 of the expansion, which is now complete, has added new space to the Thornbrough Engineering Complex in terms of a new student shop, undergraduate laboratories, design studios, an outdoor rooftop lab as well as additional office and administration space. Phase II, currently under way, will see the old labs and offices in Thornbrough refurbished and the Richards Building completely gutted and equipped with dry labs, office space and a 200 seat lecture hall.


The new main entrance and atrium for the Engineering Complex at the University of Guelph

New Faculty

brajeshDr. Brajesh Dubey joined the SoE in December 2011 from the East Tennessee State University. His research focuses on integrated solid waste management issues and on sustainable environmental technologies including beneficial reuse and resource recovery.



sureshDr. Suresh Neethirajan, P.Eng., joined the SoE in August 2011 from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research focuses on studying the nanoscale aspects of biosystems through bio-instrumentation and bio-imaging through an interdisciplinary approach to research in studies covering diverse topics of food, biological and agricultural systems. Visit www.bionanolab.ca for more details.


Biological Engineering Club

The Biological Engineering club has been extremely active this past academic term with field trips to Sleeman’s Brewery and a Niagara based winery. The club has also hosted several guest lectures on campus that focus on careers and opportunities for biological engineers.


Awards and Recognitions 

SoE students Lindsay Mooradian, Amanda Rhodes, Nirmal Shah and Stuart West placed 1st in the Consulting Engineering category at the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) held at the University of Toronto, February 3-5, 2012. They will be traveling The Guelph Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has announced that their Junior Fellow is Emily Nickerson, a student in Water Resources Engineering. Emily will be traveling to Ghana this summer to work on EWB's Agriculture Value Chains (AVC) team. The AVC team works to unlock the potential of Ghana's agriculture sector through improving markets. Currently, the team is focusing on the potential of Market Facilitation to connect key actors within the agriculture sector with the end goal to better service farmers.

ronOn October 22, 2011, Ron MacDonald, president of CSBE, was recognized with the Engineering Alumni Volunteer Award. This award recognizes an alumnus that has made a significant difference through longstanding volunteer work and involvement and honours their loyalty and commitment to the School and the larger community.




Dr. Ramesh Rudra, a long time member and fellow of the CSBE, was awarded the Fellowship of the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE) in February 2012 in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of agricultural engineering.


bionanoBionanotechnology - What is it? "Bionanotechnology is essentially the study of biological ideas with nanotechnology...a miniaturized version of biotechnology, a field that centers on the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering...an emerging interdisciplinary field..."Got that?

Read on: http://e-ditionsbyfry.com/http://e-ditionsbyfry.com/Olive/ODE/RES/Default.aspx?href=RES/2012/03/01

Article written by CSBE member Suresh Neethirajan, University of Guelph, Ontario. http://bionanolab.ca/

The Society reminds members to send award nominations to the Award Committee by JANUARY 31.

Eligibility for the Award

Only CSBE/SCGAB  members in good standing may nominate or co-nominate candidates for the Society's awards. The recipient shall be a member of CSAE/SCGR except for nominees for the Industrial Award. The recipient shall have made noteworthy contributions of achievement as described above in "The Award". SEE AWARDS AVAILABLE.

Instructions for Preparing a Nomination

Please use the nomination form for submitting a nomination. The nominator of the candidate for the Award shall submit a nomination to the Chair of the CSAE/SCGR Awards Committee by January 31. Any signed letters of support can be included with the nomination or emailed to the attention of Chair, Awards Committee by the January 31 due date. Prior notification, to the Chair of the committee, of intent to submit a nomination would be appreciated. An e-mail or FAX when the nomination process is started would suffice.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Attn: Awards Committee Chair
Mail: CSBE/SCGAB,  2028 Calico Crescent, Orleans, ON, K4A 4L7 , Attn: Awards Committee Chair

We have extra copies!

We have extra hard copies of CBE Journal

Volume 56 (2014)
Volume 57 (2015)
Volume 58 (2016)

Available at only 60 CAD each (including shipping).

Please contact John Feddes at manager@csbe-scgab.ca  to place your order.

Submit your news

The CSBE is looking for news from its members!

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