Product Development Specialist - Biomaterial commercialisation for neurosurgery applications Year Two

The Shoichet laboratory has developed a biomaterial composed of hyaluronan and methylcellulose, termed HAMC which can be utilised in biomedical applications. HAMC has significant advantages for the delivery of therapeutics including stem cells and drugs to the central nervous system. Combining therapeutics and HAMC complicates the commercialization process as clinical approval will be required for both the therapeutic element and HAMC.

Development of genetic engineering in microalgae

Biopharmaceuticals are pharmaceuticals that are produced in biological systems, as opposed to being made synthetically using purely chemical approaches. Biopharmaceuticals are becoming increasingly important today, as biological systems are very good at making pharmaceuticals with very precise activity within people and with fewer side effects. However, most of the conventional approaches used to make biopharmaceuticals suffer from shortcomings such as high cost and the need to remove human pathogens. On the other hand, microalgae overcome many of the limitations of the current systems.

Improvement of process control in a PHK based dissolving pulp production process

AVN uses a sophisticated Distributed Control System (DCS) to monitor and control the process. The mill is equipped with a data historian system which captures continuous and discrete process data from the DCS and manual tests. The effectiveness of process monitoring and control has evolved over the years. But at many stages of the process, operators’ and engineers’ interventions are still required to control the process. Now AVN is looking at the next level of process monitoring tools to take quicker corrective actions for both short term and long term process drifts.

Development of rechargeable hybrid aqueous batteries for cost-effective, large scale energy storage

High capacity battery systems are becoming as important as their smaller analogues which are currently in use in mobile devices. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs serve as uninterruptible power supplies or energy stores in electronic vehicles (EVs) and realize the EV technology for many countries. This promotes sustainable development while addressing air quality and climate change. The main challenges are to increase the affordability, power density, and safety for such lithium-ion batteries.

Development of a Process for Manufacturing Synthetic Hydrocarbon Fuel from Captured Carbon Dioxide

This project would seek to develop an integrated system incorporating a reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reactor to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into carbon monoxide and water, aiming for maximum production of carbon monoxide. RWGS is an endothermic, catalytic, equilibrium-limited reaction, so the project team will seek to develop efficient, novel catalysts and supports, an optimal reactor design, and an efficient separation/recycling system so as to minimize wastage of unreacted raw materials.

Swiss-roll mixed reactant fuel cell: design advancements and scale-up

The Ph.D. intern will be involved in the engineering scale-up of an innovative mixed-reactant fuel cell technology pioneered at the University of British Columbia. The proposed technology provides a simpler, cheaper and more compact design compared to conventional fuel cells. The partner organization, Mantra Energy Alternatives, will benefit greatly from the proposed project because it will provide an integrated and essential component to their carbon dioxide conversion and alternative energy generation strategy.

Characterization of ionomer properties of the catalyst layers of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) Year Two

The state-of-the-art polymer electrolyte fuel cells have catalyst layers (CLs) made of Platinum catalyst on carbon support (Pt/C) bound together by proton-conducting polymer or ionomer. To overcome the challenges of high cost of Platinum catalyst ad corrosion of carbon support, alternative materials for catalyst and catalyst support are being considered. The interaction of ionomer with catalyst and its support materials controls two factors that profoundly affects the CL performance -(i) the micro-scale structure of the CL and (ii) ionomer properties in the catalyst layer.

Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide in a trickle-bed reactor

The Ph.D. intern will be involved in the research and development of improved CO2 electroreduction catalysts aimed at enhancing the commercial feasibility of a novel Canadian technology proprietary to the partner organization, Mantra Energy Alternatives Ltd. The ultimate goal is to convert CO2 emissions from industrial sources into value-added products (e.g. formate) using Mantra’s trickle-bed electrochemical reactor.

Bunsen Reaction study as a key step of H2S Splitting cycle in Corning Advanced Flow Reactor

Currently, microreaction technology was applied to Bunsen reaction, a key step of H2S splitting cycle, to improve process capability by overcoming mass transfer limitations. This was achieved by using low-flow advanced reactor (LF-AFR) made by Corning Inc., the smallest model, in our research lab at University of Saskatchewan. Compared to normal scale reactors, microreactors provide an increase in surface to volume ratio, fast and reliable process development, lower environmental impact, and increased safety.

Mathematical Modelling of Coke Formation in Thermal Cracking Units

Thermal cracking of ethane (from natural gas) is used to make ethylene, a chemical used for producing plastics. Thermal cracking occurs in metal tubes that pass through a furnace, where heat generated in the combustion chamber outside of the tubes makes the cracking reactions inside the tubes occur at high rates. Coke is an undesirable side product that deposits on the inner surface of the tubes during ethane cracking, influencing rates of chemical reactions and the distribution of chemical products that emerge from the reactor.