Perspectives Newsletter Winter 2014
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:37

Few Words From President Bernardo Predicala

bernardo-predicala “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted” - Einstein

By the time this newsletter comes out, we would have been about 243 days into the term of the current Council and about 128 days till the new Council takes over in July (taking into account the actual AGM dates). But why am I counting, given the above quote from Einstein? I guess this pre-disposition to quantify things comes from my regular day job, wherein we routinely measure (or count) things in order to know where we are at present and to map out a better way to move forward. I believe that spending some time to pause for a while and take stock of the current situation is necessary in order to move towards achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. 

Published in Editorial
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:36

2014 Call for Nomination

The Nominating Committee is seeking candidates for President-Elect of CSBE/SCGAB. The President-Elect serves for a total of three years: the first year (2014-2015) as President-Elect, the second year (2015-2016) as President, and the third year (2016-2017) as Past-President. The President-Elect assumes his/her duties immediately prior to adjournment of the annual meeting of the Society in July, 2014. The main duty of the President is to oversee the conduct of business of the Society, and details can be found in the Society Bylaws (http://csbe-scgab.ca/csbe/documentation/bylaws-letter-patent-and-operation-manual). Persons nominated shall be voting members in good standing.

Please submit your nomination before June 1, 2014 to the Chair of Nominating Committee:

Dr. Qiang Zhang
Department of Biosystems Engineering
E2-376 EITC
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Published in Notices to Members
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:35

Reminder regarding 2014 Student Awards

Be sure to check out the various Undergraduate and Graduate Student Competitions available through the Canadian Society for BioEngineering (CSBE/SCGAB) Foundation.

Information can be found on our website www.csbe-scgab.ca/members/students/awards-competitions-and-scholarships or by contacting Harry Huffman, Vice-President (Membership) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note that both a Masters and Doctorate Thesis Award are now available each year rather than in alternating years as in the past. 

Published in Notices to Members

Warren Blunt, Senthilkumar Thiruppathi, Chelladurai Vellaichamy (PhD students) have been awarded Edward R. Toporeck Graduate Fellowship for Excellence in Engineering. Chelladurai Vellaichamy (PhD student) has been awarded W.E. Muir Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Biosystems Engineering.

Congratulations to award winners!

Published in Manitoba Regional News
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:22

Honduras Project 2014

(Photo by: John Sherk)

Dr. Kris Dick, Associate Professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering just returned with his student group from working on a project in rural Honduras. This is an annual project that he leads with a group called Students For Sustainability. A total of 12 students from Biosystems, Civil, Nursing and Architecture worked at an elementary school on a rainwater collection system, water filtration system, irrigation for a school garden, teaching classes in health and other construction projects. Students stay with local families to gain some insight into life in Honduras. All elements of the project were designed by the students over the fall term on their own time working with Dr. Dick and his graduate student Garry Enns. They are already planning for next year's project. 


(Photos by: Jonathan van Leeuwen)

Published in Manitoba Regional News
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:15

New commitments for Dr. Digvir S. Jayas

Dr. Digvir S. Jayas was invited as a Chief Guest at the Applied Zoologist Research Association (AZRA) Silver Jubilee Conference at Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, India.  During his remarks he emphasized the importance of biosciences in alignment with the Conference theme “Probing Biosciences for Food Security and Environmental Safety”.  He also made a presentation entitled “Role of biotic factors in stored-grain ecosystems”.

Dr. Digvir S. Jayas has been reappointed as Vice-President (Research and International) effective July 1, 2014, for a five-year term ending June 30, 2019. Dr. Jayas has served the University of Manitoba with distinction as Vice-President (Research and International) since 2009, leading a research enterprise that annually attracts almost $160 million in sponsored research income.

Dr. Digvir S. Jayas has been appointed as a member of the council of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for three years beginning December 17, 2013. NSERC Council members represent the academic research and private sector communities in the natural sciences and engineering. The Council works to achieve the maximum strategic impact for Canada from the expenditure of public funds and to advance Canada’s research and development agenda.


Published in Manitoba Regional News

Dr. Suresh Neethirajan, Assistant Professor (Bioengineering) at the University of Guelph, and the VP-Technical of CSBE garnered the 2014 Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation for his work on the investigation of clinical wound biofilms using bionanotechnology.


Published in Ontario Regional News

Canada is committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020. To meet this target, Canada is supporting the development of next generation technologies including biofuels. At present, Canada is supplying approximately 3% of its total energy demand from biomass but this is expected to increase to 6-10% within the next decade. British Columbia has set a GHG reduction target of 33% by 2020. CHP systems with efficiencies more than 65% can play a major role in cleaning the environment and creating jobs. UBC-BRDF is an example of modern CHP systems made by Nexterra. Nexterra is developing and marketing state-of-the-art biomass gasification technologies in Canada and the U.S.

Gasification is a common thermochemical technology used for converting feedstock such as biomass into a combustible gas mixture (syngas) by partial oxidation under high temperature condition. The syngas may be burnt directly for heating or used as a fuel for gas engines and turbines. Syngas can also be used as feedstock for the production of chemicals. In gasifiers the partial combustion of solid fuel produces combustible gases such as H2, CO, and CH4. In contract, in complete combustion of biomass CO2, O2, N2, and water are produced. In gasification biomass is continuously converted to charcoal where carbon and steam are converted to CO and H2. In addition to combustible gasses tar and dust are the side products in gasification systems.

Nearly all types of biomass can be utilized in a gasifier to generate syngas. Variations in the physical, mechanical and chemical characteristics of the feedstock can impact the performance of the CHP system. When biomass is used as feedstock, the feedstock’s journey starts from the sources where the “unused” woody materials are generated. The biomass is then collected at the recycling yard for temporary storage and preprocessing. In the next step, the processed feedstock is shipped to UBC-BRDF for utilization. The solid fuel is fed into the facility and it goes through several stages before it’s been used. Variations in the physical, mechanical and chemical characteristics of the feedstock can impact the performance of the CHP system including the tar formation.

The UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (UBC-BRDF) consists of a biomass gasification system (Nexterra Systems Corp., Vancouver, BC) for combined heat and power production (CHP: 2 MW electricity and 3 metric tonnes of steam per hour). The estimated annual wood fuel requirement for the system is 28,000 metric tonnes (at 50% moisture content wet mass basis). The performance and the economic viability of the system rely upon the syngas quality. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014 08:23

2013 CSBE-SCGAB Award Winners

Several CSBE members were honored at the CSBE Annual Awards’ Banquet held during the Annual Meeting and Conference in Saskatoon last July, 2013. The Society is proud to recognize these individuals for their commitment and contribution to the engineering profession and society.


Doug Small

Clement Sankat


Neil McLaughlin


Hubert Landry


Nazim Cicek




Venkatesh Meda


Luc D’Amour


Peter Enright


Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba

Undergraduate Design Project Award: Tyler Whettell, Tyler Maes, Sam Symons, Victoria Munroe, Matt Stephens, Steven Murray, Calving Ngan, Jason Lam, Yiu Cho Cheng, Parker Williams, Kalen Kerr, David Lipinski, Ian Swintak, Chi Tu, Patricia Fabros and Xiaodong Xu for International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design

Undergraduate Thesis or Paper Award: Vanessa Krahn

Graduate Thesis Award (M.Sc.): Idris Adelakun

CSBE/SCGAB Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship: Grace Kankindi

Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University

Undergraduate Design Project Award: Oliver Beaudin and Bryan Wattie

Undergraduate Thesis or Paper Award: Kaitlin Lloyd, Kendell McBride, Christopher McGuire, and Brenda Moore

Graduate Thesis Award (Ph.D.): Felix Jaria

Graduate Thesis Award (M.Sc.): Shrikalaa Kannan

Undergraduate Team Competition Award: Martin Legault, Stephen McGuire, Antoine Pouliot, Trevor Stanhope, Mei Xiao, Sara Tawil, Quinn Burke Anderson, Sophie Lauzon, Frederic Rene-Laforest, Isabellie Cote-Laurin, Dzuy-Tam-Tran for ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition

CSBE/SCGAB Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship: Brenda Moore

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

Undergraduate Design Project Award: Jeff Pridmore, Devin Barros, and Lane Forster

Undergraduate Paper Award: Aubrey Worobetz and Carolyn Osborne

Graduate Thesis Award (M.Sc.): Alvin Alvarado

School of Engineering, University of Guelph

CSBE/SCGAB Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship: Evan Wright

Undergraduate Design Project Award: Alexis Wagner, Chris Geerts, and Neeti Sondi

CSBE/SCGAB Graduate Thesis Award (M.Sc.): Matthew DiCicco

The 2014 edition of the biennial conference of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT) will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan May 21 to 24, 2014. The Conference theme is: “Open Opportunities: Mentoring the Future”. Visit www.ccwestt2014.ca or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


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