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news / events

About February 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering News & Events in February 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2013 is the previous archive.

April 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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February 2013 Archives

February 12, 2013

Seminar: Dr. Wayne Curtis (Penn State) Mon. 2/18, 12pm

Dr. Wayne Curtis
Professor, Chemical Engineering
Pennsylvania State University

Date: Monday, February 18, 2013
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: ITE 456

Green (and Red) Engineering: Bioreactors to Biofuels

"Where our lab has historically focused on applied plant biotechnology, this seminar will describe the transition to a breadth of biotechnology projects that includes transplanting a hydrocarbon biosynthesis pathway from algae into a autotrophic organism that consumes H2, O2 and CO2 to produce biofuels. Our work in plant biotechnology has combined temporary immersion bioreactor systems with the delivery of embryogenic transcription factors using Agrobacterium auxotrophs toward the development of large scale plant propagation of species that are recalcitrant to somatic embryogensis (including chocolate tree). Our thin film algae bioreactors have achieved cell concentrations in excess of 20 grams per liter operating for months, and demonstrating that under light-limited conditions, algae growth is photon flux limited, and the advantage of using 'fast growing' algae is lost. Similarly, we show that for biofuel production using autotrophic growth, the energy use under non-growing conditions (maintenance energy) that is critically important for economic feasibility (not rapid growth). Our progress in genetic engineering the hydrocarbon synthesis pathway of the algae Botryococcus braunii into the autotrophic organism Rhodobacter capsulatus will be presented. Efforts to develop low-cost, low operating conditions bioreactors for biofuels will be presented along with progress on an 'engineered symbiosis' for cellulosic biofuels that combines cellulolytic capability of a obligate anaerobic organism protected by a yeast which produces fuel in exchange for oxidative protection under controlled oxygen transport rates. A few snapshots will be presented to illustrate the critical role of undergraduate research in supporting ongoing projects as well as developing new research ideas."

Lecture: Dr. Desmond Lawler (UT Austin) Mon. 2/25, 1pm

Dr. Desmond Lawler
Nassir I. Al-Rashid Chair in Civil Engineering
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Date: Monday, February 25, 2013
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Lecture Hall 3 (101 Admin)

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
2013 Distinguished Lecture

Particles, Particles, and More Particles

"Particle treatment processes are at the heart of both (surface) drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment. Many contaminants in water and wastewater are particles, are made into particles, or are removed by attaching to particles. Throughout my career, I have been pursuing the links between fundamental particle properties (particularly size distributions, but also shape, surface charge, and adsorbed materials such as natural organic matter) and the optimal design and operation of particle processes. Current work includes considering the fate of nanoparticles in conventional particle processes. Flocculation, precipitation, gravity removal processes (sedimentation, flotation, thickening), granular media filtration, and dewatering have all been the focus of my work with various Master’s and Ph.D. students. In addition, we have studied the linkages of these processes to one another in conventional water treatment plants. A few of the key insights from this work include the relative insignificance of the velocity gradient in determining the success of flocculation, the importance of flow patterns in open tanks such as flocculation and sedimentation reactors, the role of detachment in the effluent water quality from granular media filters, and a design methodology for granular media filters that could save piloting costs."

Light reception to follow

For more information contact:

Event co hosted by: University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park, Johns Hopkins University, and Howard University

PDF Flyer

February 15, 2013

Seminar: Engineers Without Borders Kenya Trip (Wed. 2/20, 11am)

When: Wed. February 20, 11 am
Where: ITE 233

Engineers Without Borders - UMBC is holding a seminar on our January 2013 trip to an orphanage in Isongo, Kenya. The orphanage currently has no source for safe drinking water. On the assessment trip, the travel team collected data on the community's needs and land and water quality to help design and construct a water sanitation system.

Contact for more information. We hope to see you there!

February 18, 2013

CBEE travels to Isongo, Kenya for a clean water project with EWB-UMBC

In January 2013, the UMBC chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UMBC) successfully completed an assessment trip to Isongo, Kenya for a clean water project. Students, Chris Mullen (Mechanical Engineering, ‘14) and Dalton Hughes (Chemical Engineering, ‘14), travelled with CBEE professor, Lee Blaney, and professional engineer, Duane Wilding, of the Maryland Environmental Service. The principal goal of this assessment trip was to establish a relationship with the Isongo community and to collect data on the water source currently being used by over 500 villagers. With the help of several community members, the team conducted basic topological surveys, chemical & bacteriological analysis, and household interviews over the weeklong trip.

In partnership with Simiyu House Kenya, a non-profit organization, EWB-UMBC will design and implement a clean and safe water supply for the community of Isongo. Having reliable access to clean water will reduce the incidence of waterborne disease and improve the overall living conditions of the villagers. Currently, the EWB-UMBC chapter is beginning the design phase of the project and raising funds to implement a safe water system in January 2014. The chapter expects to take 5-7 students on the implementation trip.

EWB-UMBC is a student-run organization that seeks to complete sustainable engineering projects in the developing world. All majors and backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to join. More information can be found at

If you would like to join the group, please email Madison Bondoc at

If you would like to donate to the EWB-UMBC project, please follow this link:

Some of the EWB-UMBC team’s helpers.

The EWB-UMBC team (minus Duane Wilding) with community leaders in Isongo.

Dalton Hughes, Chris Mullen, and Duane Wilding conducting water quality testing.

Thumbs-up all around at the end of a successful day!