Meeting our Canadian friends and the grand challenges (Day 135)

Canadian flagIt is now over five years since one of my presidential predecessors, Ian Shott, signed an agreement with the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) to explore a closer relationship between the two organisations.

At the time, Ian said: “Global challenges require global solutions and chemical engineers must work together across national boundaries in order to tackle pressing issues such as energy security, sustainable food production and the transition to a low carbon economy.

“This agreement will enable us to work together on collaborative projects that will highlight the role of the chemical engineer in delivering sustainable solutions.”

These issues, and our commitment to our Canadian friends, are still relevant today and IChemE, in the form of our director of policy – Andy Furlong – will be attending the 64th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Niagara Falls on between 19-22 October 2014.

Andy will be hosting a session on 20 October to talk about chemical engineering matters and share our collective latest news with each other.

On the Canadian theme, I also wanted to share with you a nice chemically engineered innovation, which has just been given a grant from Grand Challenges Canada – an organisation dedicated to supporting ‘Bold Ideas with Big Impact®’ in global health.

Seyed Nourbakhsh

Seyed Nourbakhsh – CEO and Founder of Toronto-based Formarum, which has developed the world’s first self-powered automated water disinfection system.

The innovation is a self-powered automated water disinfection system called ‘Dive’ developed by a Toronto-based company called Formarum.

Dive requires no outside power source. Instead it incorporates a small turbine generator that produces electricity internally from the water flowing through the device.

The electricity powers Dive’s automated copper–silver ionization process, which treats the water as it flows. The system also automatically adjusts the disinfection rate based on water flow rate. Once connected to a pipeline, the device functions without technical expertise or a dedicated power supply.

The innovation is being deployed in Uganda where the majority of the country’s rural people live in dry regions that make obtaining adequate clean water a perpetual challenge.

The inventor of ‘Dive’ is Seyed Nourbakhsh, who describes himself as a ‘passionate chemical engineer’, and is a graduate of Ryerson University with a bachelors in chemical engineering.

Seyed learnt his trade in the pool and spa disinfection industry. However, he’s managed to apply this knowledge to make a contribution to solving one of the world’s grand challenges – making sure everyone has access to clean and safe water.

His team at Formarum also includes Amir Yaraghi, who has worked as a process engineer in industrial environments and as a biochemical researcher in academia.

Aptly, Amir’s work has been recognised by the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers.

Take a look at this video to find out more and if you’re attending the conference in Niagara Falls, have a great time.