Banner Image

< back to Project Lists

2008-2009 Project List

Project 1) Shell Canada - Calgary

{Note this project has been split into two projects - 1a and 1b. Please bid on 1a or 1b. If you don't mind which of the two projects you're on, then just bid as project 1}

BIOMASS Gasification and Conversion

Shell is asking TEAM to perform a technical, business and legal/policy analysis of utilizing the Choren gasification technology to reduce CO2 emissions. A base case will be evaluated against two options (see details below).

Base Case 
Part A - Purchased diesel fuel for the Mine Fleet. 
As part of mine development, Shell must clear large tracts of forested land. This operation is staged over the life of the mine. A small part of the forest is harvested for wood products, but the majority is burned. This releases forest sequestered CO2 without any benefit.

The Shell mine truck fleet uses diesel fuel, contributing to operating costs and CO2 emissions.

Part B - Natural Gas 
Natural gas is used as a fuel to provide extraction plant heat as well as power requirements for the mine/extraction operation. This represents a major cost as well as attendant CO2 emissions.

Project 1a: - Step Out Case One; 
Examine the use of a renewable source of diesel fuel to displace some or all of the purchased fossil sourced mine fleet diesel fuel.

Use the technology from Choren to gasify mining related biomass production (excluding logged mass) along with Fischer Tropsch technology to produce diesel fuel for the mine fleet. In contrast with the Mountain Pine Beetle (TEAM 2006/2007 Project) bio-mass supply scenario, transportation issues, logistics and costs should be less important. If Shell owned leases do not provide enough bio-mass we could consider taking forest waste from industry peers in the region.

Project 1b : - Step Out Case Two 
Use the Choren gasification technology with Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) material. Gasify the material locally (in BC) and include a methanator (methane production step) to produce synthetic natural gas. Shell, or a third party operator, would sell and then inject that bio-mass derived synthetic natural gas into local natural gas pipelines and take the bio-mass credit at the mine along with a share of the sales gas revenue . Natural gas would still be purchased and used at the mine, but costs would be partially offset by the synthetic natural gas revenue stream . A bio-mass CO2 credit would be used to partially offset the mine natural gas GHG emissioin costs. The logistics and costs associated with transporting MPB material would be largely avoided.

Both Projects:

The project would involve evaluating all three cases and then looking at the relative merits of Case One vs. Case Two. The cases are not mutually exclusive. In a world of limited human and financial resources, is one case clearly more attractive than the other? Are neither of them viable? What would the price of carbon, diesel fuel and natural gas have to be to make them both lucrative investments? What are the policy and legal hurdles to injecting bio methane into the natural gas infrastructure?

discipline mix: all

Project 2) Nova Chemicals - Sarnia -

C2 Splitter Process Simulation Case Studies

Nova Chemicals has a model predictive controller (MPC) implemented on the C2 splitter in their olefins recovery unit in Sarnia, Ontario. The control application for this high-purity distillation process occasionally underperforms during transitions or when targeting even higher purities.

An important control objective is to minimize product slip while maintaining product specifications. Other control objectives include targeting a side-draw quality and managing material balances. Inaccuracies in steady-state model information through different operating regions can lead to inappropriate control action. This can cause upsets to the material balance and product purities, and can therefore negatively impact tower economics and downstream unit operation. There is a desire to improve on the current control application’s ability to manoeuvre through transitions and gain a wider operating range on purity targets. An existing C2 splitter Aspen Plus model would most conveniently provide insight to the tower’s operation.

This project involves:

• Becoming familiar with the C2 splitter distillation tower and its existing MPC scheme.
• Becoming familiar with the C2 splitter Aspen Plus steady-state process simulation and validating the process model against plant data.
• Performing several case studies to identify the impact of key operating parameters on the tower’s controlled variables, so as to validate or refute current steady-state information.
• Performing simulations to determine a key location for instrumentation with regards to improved product purity control during transitions.
• Identifying nonlinear steady state behaviour.
• Implementing certain recommendations for validation.

discipline mix (CHEE, MECH)


Project 3) Bantrel – Toronto -

Improve Bantrel's ability to hire, integrate and retain the new generation of employees

As a world class Project Management, Engineering, Procurement and Construction service provider, Bantrel's ability to hire, integrate and retain the best people is of paramount importance. Project demands often dictate that the company quickly hire experienced individuals who can "hit the ground running". These experienced individuals are greatly valued, however, it is critically important for the long term sustainability of the corporation that Bantrel bring in high performing junior employees and recent graduates as well and grow them with the company. This investigation will include:

1. Evaluating Bantrel's offering to the new generation of employees and recent graduates with respect to the competition

2. Evaluating short term business demands and recommending ways to effectively integrate new graduates into the organization.

3. Recommending methods to retain the new generation of employees beyond the first two years.

discipline mix: all

Project 4)

(discipline mix: )

Project 5) Smart Technologies (website)

Supply Chain Project

In today’s environment, it is no longer the competition between a company versus another but the competition between a Supply Chain versus another Supply Chain. The scope of the project is to effectively design SMART’s Supply Chain. The project team will analyze SMART Technologies’ end to end lead time process from customer orders release to actual shipping of finished goods with an emphasis on internal and external capacity. The scope includes planning, procurement, warehousing, and logistics activities in a worldwide setting. Managing the chain of events between and within each activity is critical to deliver our innovative products in a timely and cost effective manner.

This project will involve balancing the supply and demand of all assigned inventory items, planning/scheduling production, ordering materials, working with suppliers, and interfacing with customer service and sales, while taking into consideration both transportation and inventory carrying costs. The scope of this project will involve working with a variety of team members in both Calgary and Ottawa, and will report to the Director, Supply Chain Management.

Key Elements:

• Speed (lead time to execute each supply chain event)
• Capacity (quantity that each event can manage)
• Flexibility (ability to react to change in demand)
Ultimately, we are looking at accelerating information and product flow as well as creating an adaptive structure that can respond to an ever changing environment.

Key Deliverables:

• Model the current LT and Supply Chain agility
• Explain the effect of each element of the supply chain to one another
• Assess the how efficiently the Supply Chain can adapt to its changing environment.
• Compare different best practices in the industry
• Recommendations

discipline mix (CHEE, MECH, COMM, LAW)

Project 6) DuPont Canada - Kingston

High Oleic Vegetable Oil in Polyols

DuPont has developed a new high oleic vegetable that results in vegetable oil with unique properties. This oil has the potential to improve performance characteristics in industrial applications, further extending the use of renewable materials. Currently, regular vegetable oil is used commercially in polyols for production of polyurethane. Polyols are typically produced from vegetable oil by a two-step process. The first step involves epoxidation of the vegetable oil using a two phase aqueous-organic reaction system. The second step involves alcoholysis to open the 3-membered ring and produce the polyol.

TEAM will research/determine properties of high oleic oils and novel methods for the synthesis of polyols. TEAM will investigate and evaluate preferred production processes for conversion of the vegetable oil into polyols. The evaluation should consider the economic viability of using the new polyols for polyurethane and other applications.

In parallel, a CHEM 417 student will be using samples of high oleic vegetable oil from DuPont to make polyols and will compare the properties of these polyols with polyols produced using regular vegetable oil and other high oleic oils, such as canola or sunflower. TEAM will look for opportunities for coordination and synergy between the two projects.

discipline mix (all)


Project 7) Honda Canada - Alliston

Painting Process Optimization

Honda of Canada Mfg. is one of Honda’s premier manufacturing facilities in the world. Located in Alliston, Ontario about 1 hour north of Toronto the facility currently produces the Honda Civic (4 door and 2 door models), the Honda Ridgeline, the Acura CSX and the Acura MDX.

To maintain a competitive stance in today’s market it is important to ensure that we continually strive to improve quality and efficiency. HCM is investigating process optimization alternatives for an automotive painting process. The ideal result would be a range of operating conditions that produce the highest quality parts at the lowest financial and environmental cost.

Students should expect to make at least 2 visits to the production plant throughout this process. By the end of the fall term, initial investigations should have resulted in a completed trial performed on-site using existing industrial equipment to produce parts for early analysis. More details of the scope of this investigation will follow once the project begins.

discipline mix ()


Project 8) Baylis Medical - Mississauga -

Applications and Products for New Bayliss Technology

Baylis Medical Company is a leading supplier of high-technology cardiology, pain management, and radiology products. The following project description is intentionally vague to provide client confidentiality. Further details will be provided during class.

Currently in medicine, lasers are used in vascular structure to remove tissue, de-bulk the plaque etc. Bayliss is developing products based on an alternate energy source. Bayliss is interested in looking at other applications for this technology. For example, look at current applications, medical literature, other publicly available literature and assess how the new energy source may add value. This work would involve business (market size, market penetration, introduction of new technology), engineering to asses how the energy can supplement existing technology, and legal (IP). The project will also involve providing preliminary design concepts of the Teams’ ideas for products.

discipline mix () 

Project 9) ExxonMobil - Toronto

Options for Utilization or Disposition of Petroleum Coke in Central Canada

Petroleum coke is the byproduct of the coking process used to upgrade very heavy oil to lighter fuel products. Coking is also one of the primary methods for upgrading of oil-sands bitumen to synthetic crude oil. As the proportion of heavy crudes and bitumen produced in Canada increases relative to light crudes, the amount of coke produced is expected to increase significantly. At the same time, tighter environmental regulations on NOx, SOx, and CO2 emissions are likely to limit the amount of coke that can be burned as fuel. The proposed project would examine the medium to long term options for utilization or disposal of coke, including an assessment of the market (supply/demand), the effect of coking process technology (fluid-bed vs. delayed coking), potential end uses of coke, and the technology required to meet environmental regulations.

discipline mix (all)

Project 10) Lafarge North America - Bath Ontario (link)

Project Title: Land Use Assessment and Feedstock Design, Biomass Energy Farm


Lafarge's Bath plant, located about 30 minutes drive West of Kingston, produces cement using coal and petroleum coke as primary fuels. Replacing fossil fuels with biomass is a recognized means of reducing net CO2 emissions. One method of supplying biomass, that is being assessed in an "Energy Farm" project located on the plant's 1080 Hectare property, is to grow various grasses and woods - and then to harvest these crops for fuel.
Unlike other biomass strategies, early estimates are that this approach reduces net CO2 emissions from fuel by up to 90%. Key to the economic success of this approach is to use modern breeding technology to optimize crops for maximum fuel per hectare of land and on land that is less suitable for food production. To this end, a central partner in the "Energy Farm" project is Performance Plants of Kingston. Other partners include Queen's Sustainable Bioeconomy Centre and the University of Guelph, Kemptville Campus.

TEAM Project Description:

The team is asked to identify plant lands that can be used for a variety of test plots and to rank their suitability according to a number of criteria that they will develop in consultation with the Energy Farm partners. The team is also asked to design a process to take harvested biomass from land plots and process the raw material into a fuel suitable for use in a cement kiln. The land use and associated economic models as well as the process design should consider the three key elements of sustainability: social factors, economics, and environment - what is commonly referred to as the triple bottom line.

discipline mix (all)


Project 11) PnuVax - Kingston -

Fermentation / Extraction of S. Pneumoniae Polysacchride

PnuVax Incorporated is a start-up pharmaceutical company located both in Kingston and Singapore. Its goal is the manufacture a vaccine for adult pneumonia for international sale.

The project will be to help design and optimize a process for manufacturing this vaccine based on current methods. Updating the methods and optimizing equipment selection in order to minimize waste and capital cost requirements will be the focal point.

To do this PnuVax Inc. is interested in a computer model of the process from a 'before and after' standpoint to see what process gains can be achieved.

The project contains questions relating to polysaccharide chemistry for bio/chemistry students.

Legal analysis will be required to see if any of the suggested process improvements are novel enough to warrant patent, and to see if current patents overlap with the project goals."

discipline mix (CHEE, BIO)


Project 12) The International Group - Toronto - (website)

Corrugated Recovery by Supercritical Fluid Extraction

Historically, waxed corrugated boxes have served as effective containers for fruits, vegetables, and meats. However, because they contain up to 20% of petroleum wax, they are difficult to recycle in a conventional paper mill.

Supercritical Fluid Extraction has experimentally shown to be a promising and environmentally low- impact technology for recovering the paper fibre and wax from these containers.

The goal of this project is to provide an initial estimate of the cost of this process and determine the business feasibility of this process for recycling these containers.

discipline mix (business, mech, chem)


Project 13)

{this project is an idea put forward by professor Barrie Jackson. It awaits formal industrial sponsorship before it can proceed.}

Lifecycle analysis of Biodiesel Manufacture

This project is a collaborative project with a team of students from the University of Guelph.

The purpose is to develop a scenario analysis of the all in cost of biodiesel from oil seed. This will take into consideration the agricultural issues such as land use, irrigation, fertilizer and fuel required to produce seed oil delivered to a Transesterification Unit. The TEAM will have the responsibility to develop several plant designs and generate operating costs and capital costs for these designs.

The TEAM will have available a recent version of PRO/II which will permit modeling of biochemical processes with a fair degree of rigour.
The deliverable from this project will be a paper suitable for publication.
The project will be challenging since it will be necessary to manage the inputs from two Universities as well as develop familiarity with new software. Participants will take away an in depth understanding of an economic assessment of this nature.

We also hope to have an engineering Chemist carry out some bench scale analysis of the process in support of the design exercise.

discipline mix ()


Project 14) Cangene - Winnipeg - website

{only one of the two projects will be done by TEAM. The project selected will be chosen by popular demand}

Project 1) Aseptic Filling Plant

Provide an engineering report and feasibility study for the construction of a new, single line aseptic liquid filling plant for small volume parenteral pharmaceutical dosage forms.

The project shall cover the design, outline specification and major equipment selection of the filling line, associated filling support equipment, the required utilities and the facility. The design must encompass the requirements for pharmaceutical products to be made for Canadian, U.S. and European markets. The report should address recent advances in aseptic processing technologies, their advantages, disadvantages and suitability to Cangene’s operational goals for the filling line.

discipline mix (all)

Project 2) Water for Injection System Design

Provide an engineering design and feasibility study for the installation of a new water for injection (WFI) generation system and the retrofit / re-design of the WFI distribution loop system within an existing, operating pharmaceutical plant. The WFI generation portion of the project shall cover the design, sizing and outline specification for a new WFI generation system to support current and future planned activities in the plant. The retrofit / re-design of the WFI distribution loops shall encompass the fluid flow and usage modeling to ensure turbulent flow is maintained at all times. As well, point of use cooling and water reheating options should be explored to minimize energy usage, while meeting user needs. The redesign and retrofit should consider minimizing the interruption to on-going operations by limiting down time for construction.

discipline mix (mech, chee, ...)


Project 15) Ontario Power Generation - Toronto - Project 1


As part of its plan to develop additional hydroelectric capacity, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is considering development of the Little Jackfish (LJF) river in northern Ontario.  The development will consist of a 22 MW generating station at an upper site and a 63 MW generating station roughly 13 kilometres downstream. 


Hydroelectric facilities have the potential to affect fish and fishery resources as a result of the addition of structures and changes to the flows and levels in the river in certain areas.  This may affect fish habitat connectivity through barriers to upstream and downstream fish migration and passage.  Furthermore, entrainment of young fish through water intakes and turbines may further impact their survival.  Impacts can be reduced through compensation flows to maintain fish habitat and through engineered by pass structures.  OPG wishes to proceed with this hydroelectric development in such a way as to preserve healthy and productive aquatic habitat.

TEAM Opportunity:

The project for the Queens TEAM is to assist OPG in modifying the design of the proposed LJF river generating stations in order to be more “fish friendly” and/or to design some other means of compensating for losses in the productive capacity of fish habitat.  This will include evaluating state of the art engineered and non-engineered solutions that may include nature-mimicking designs, such as:  fishway/by-pass structures; habitat creation; capture facilities; or modified water intakes and turbines.

The Queens TEAM would also be asked to consider the legislative requirements and economics of the preferred solution.  OPG encourages students in engineering, biology, environmental science/study, law and commerce to collaborate on this project.


The LJF river flows south from Ogoki Reservoir/Mojikit Lake into Ombabika Bay at Lake Nipigon, approximately 200 km north-northeast of Thunder Bay. The length of the river is about 56 kilometres. There is no existing hydroelectric development but there are two existing control structures which regulate the flows in the LJF river.  These control structures are part of the works built in 1943 as part of the Ogoki diversion which diverted waters that ran into the arctic watershed into the Great Lakes to increase availability of water for power generation in the south.  The original river was more of a creek with a maximum flow of 5 m3/s (cms).  Since the diversion was constructed, the long term average flows have increased to around 128 cms with maximum flows above 283 cms.

While historically, the LJF river was not likely significant to the Lake Nipigon fishery, the current river sustains a diverse population of fish including walleye, sturgeon and several other valued species.  At the same time, the fishery in Lake Nipigon has been put under significant pressure through over-fishing and other factors, and therefore the current day contribution of the LJF river to recruitment may be more important.  The fishery is valued by area First Nations and other hunting and fishing outfitters.

discipline mix ()

Project 16) Ontario Power Generation - Toronto - Project #2


As part of the lower Mattagami river development, the Adam Creek Spillway operates as an emergency spillway to divert flood flows around a complex of 4 generating stations during spring and fall freshets and in case of emergency.  The structure consists of 8 bottom draw gates which can pass a maximum of 600 cubic metres per second (cms) each. 


Lake Sturgeon are listed as a species of special interest and, as bottom dwelling fish, are highly susceptible to entrainment and stranding when the control structure stops spilling.  Every year sturgeon stranded below the spillway are rescued from deep pools and returned to the reservoir. OPG has a long standing commitment to try to mitigate against further sturgeon entrainment.

The Adam Creek Spillway situated at the Little Long generating station complex has historically been known to entrain fish species during the high volume spring flows. Lake Sturgeon has been the species of greatest interest as they become trapped in pools downstream of Adam Creek. When the spill stops there is minimal flow down Adams Creek and the fish may become stranded in small pools and need to be relocated. This has been OPG's task for now more than 15 years. Although many attempts were made at fish entrainment prevention the problem has not been resolved. Additional gates at the Adam Creek Control Structure are being planned as one of the options considered as part of dam upgrade measures. OPG needs to consider designs which can decrease the entrainment of sturgeon.

TEAM Opportunity:

Much like the previous proposal the project for the Queens TEAM would be to assist OPG in the modification of design of the hydroelectric facilities in order to be more “fish friendly” and/or to design some other means of deterring fish losses and looking for opportunities to enhance the productive capacity of fish habitat for sturgeon.  This will include evaluating state of the art engineered and non-engineered solutions, including behavioural and nature-mimicking designs that may include, but are not limited to: fish attractant/deterrent devices, new gate design (top draw) fishway/bypass facilities, habitat restoration/enhancement, capture facilities or a hatchery and also the use of fish friendly water intakes and turbines.  The Queens TEAM would also be asked to consider the economics of a preferred design in the assessment.  OPG encourages students in engineering, biology, environmental science/study, and commerce to collaborate on this project.  Consideration of regulatory requirements for new designs may be of interest to law students.

discipline mix ()

Project 17) Monteco - Mississauga (website)

Sorbtive Manufacturing Plant

Imbrium Systems, a member of the Monteco family of companies, has a new stormwater treatment product. This product, Sorbtive, is a engineered media capable of removing dissolved phosphorous from storm water. The material also provides filtration of particulates. Imbrium is currently in the process of scaling up the manufacture of this material.

The TEAM Group will research and design an industrial scale coating process for making Sorbtive. The substrate is pumice and the coating is a metal salt. The basic unit operations are: sieving, soaking, high temperature drying, rinsing and low temperature drying. The substrate is friable and fines are considered a loss so handling the material will be a major issue.

Other operations to consider include: re-use/disposal of fines from sieving and water from rinsing, maintaining the concentration of the soaking bath and handling acidic fumes from the high temperature drying.

The Scope of the Project is:

-Design a continuous process capable of producing 1 ton/hour. 
-Choose the appropriate equipment for the process. 
-Prepare mass and energy balances.
-Provide a process flow diagram and a P&ID.
-Outline the process economics.

The client will provide:
-physical & chemical data for the raw materials.
-names of some equipment manufacturers
-a preliminary cost worksheet.

discipline mix (CHEE, Mech, COMM, ...)


Project 18) Provident Energy - (website)

Power Generation from Pressure Drops

Currently there are opportunities to generate power, or recover energy, from excess pressure drops in the Redwater fractionation facility. We would like TEAM to examine the process and determine the best locations and whether there is an economical incentive to recover this energy.


-Review the plant process and identify locations for energy recovery / generation due to pressure drop.
-Identify the right technologies, and work with vendors to provide an initial design.
-Ensure all hazards (low temp, hydration, fire) are properly mitigated . 
-Perform an economic analysis.
-Determine the environmental benefits (i.e. reduced carbon dioxide emissions).

discipline mix (CHEE, MECH, COMM)


Project 19) Covidien - Montreal - website

Plant Greening

TEAM will perform an energy audit of the plant and develop recommendations for greening the building and reducing its carbon footprint.

discipline mix (CHEE, MECH, ...)


Project 20) Queen's - Physical Plant Services - Kingston

{one or two projects from the list will be selected based on popular vote by TEAM participants}

20 -1) Geothermal Heating and Cooling

20 -2) Grey Water Use

20 -3) Myth Busters

20 -4) One Card System

20 -5) Green and Sustainable

20 -6) Absorption Chillers for Air Conditioning - Dave M says this looks like an interesting project because of the technology and the tie-in to the Queen's Cogen facility.

20 -7) To be announced

20 -8) To be announced

discipline mix (chem, mech)

discipline mix ()

Project 21) Canadian Chemical Producers' Association (CCPA) - Ottawa - website

The Control of Major Accident Hazards in Canada

Canada, unlike most other industrialized countries, does not have specific regulations on the control of major accident hazards at fixed sites, such as large toxic gas releases or the recent explosion of a propane depot in Toronto. Instead, after the 1984 Bhopal accident a voluntary multistakeholder approach emerged. This, the Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada (MIACC), appeared to be a model others could learn from until its sudden dissolution for reasons unrelated to its mandate in 1999.

Since that time, the national leadership in how to control major accident hazards was taken over by the Process Safety Management Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada-Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, working in conjunction with and with the strong support of the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association. However, this has not been an easy task, and it is likely to become even more of a challenge in the near future, despite the apparent vulnerability to Canadian society.

This high-level project will draw on a range of skills as it examines the broad engineering, business, legal, and public policy issues behind this situation and potential approaches. These include:
• Why is Canada’s situation so different from that in other industrialized countries?
• What roles should be played by the organizations operating hazardous facilities and those representing their industry sectors?
• What roles should be played by the competent authorities at the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal levels?
• What other actors should be involved and what should be their roles?
• What models exist in other jurisdictions for the broad issue of control of major accident hazards?
• What are the factors that influence how the lessons from elsewhere could be applied or adapted here?
• What is the best way for the relevant actors to address this issue, rather than waiting for a catastrophic incident to act as a driver?

An orientation will be provided, together with reference materials for the initial background and suggested paths for follow-up. The work will then consist of research, interviews by telephone and by visit and other appropriate means as the project team examines various aspects of this issue, consulting technical experts, regulators, senior executives, policymakers, academics and other stakeholders to form a comprehensive, consistent summary of the answers to the above and other relevant questions, to guide and assist future work on this important issue for Canadian society. 

discipline mix (Chem, 2x law, others)


Project 22 - Cameco Corporation - Port Hope (website)

Feasibility Assessment for the Recovery of By-product Hydrogen Gas

Introduction: Cameco Corporation’s fuel conversion facility in Port Hope produces uranium hexafluoride, UF6, as an intermediate product in the nuclear fuel cycle. The production of UF6 requires the elemental fluorine for the conversion of uranium tetrafluoride, UF4, to UF6. Elemental fluorine is produced at the conversion facility through an electrochemical process and the by-product of that process is hydrogen. Currently the by-product hydrogen is scrubbed and vented to the atmosphere.

The Challenge: The TEAM is being asked to determine the technical and economic feasibility of recovering the hydrogen and reusing it at the conversion facility as a fuel. The hydrogen by-product is contaminated with anhydrous hydrogen fluoride, AHF. AHF is a feed material for the production of elemental fluorine. Therefore, during the treatment of the hydrogen gas stream, it would be advantageous to recover the AHF and return it to the process.

1 Options for how the fuel can best be reused should be explored. For example, can it be used to power a fleet of vehicles on site? What technologies are required?
2 The environmental benefits of reusing the by-product hydrogen should be considered and commented on, i.e. burning hydrogen will produce water and therefore reduce the sites green house gas emissions.
3 TEAM should be aware of hydrogen, building and fire code compliance issues.
4 Are the hydrogen and AHF recovery technologies that are proposed novel? Should they be patented? 
5 Conclusions and recommendations should be based on the technical, economic and environmental assessments.

Potential Disciplines: Chemical engineering, cost engineering, environmental science/engineering, project management, legal (licensing technologies, code compliance, regulatory issues)

Project 23) Alphora Research - (website)

Chromatography Use In Manufacturing

Alphora Research Inc. is a contract research, development and manufacturing organization in the fields of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API’s). Our services pertain to process technology development to allow for successful scale-up of small molecules from milligrams to kilograms. The company has extensive capabilities in synthetic organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, kilo laboratories and pilot plant facilities as well as a strong culture in current Good Manufacturing Practices. The company is focused on niche products that are very difficult to manufacture. As part of this strategy the need for fractional chromatography for industrial manufacturing has become an issue.

The current project entails the design of a chromatography unit that would allow for successful integration in our manufacturing strategy. The unit would also include a solvent distillation unit to separate the product from the organic volatiles. A successful project would include a feasibility study, a number of options and an economic analysis.

discipline mix () - Ideally, chemical engineering students with an interest in commerce and chromatography. A biology student with exposure to other types of chromatography would be well suited.

Project 24) Dynaplas Ltd.(website)

Real Time Moisture Control

We would like to improve our ability to monitor and control the moisture in the plastic pellets before they are fed into the moulding machine screw. Many of the plastic pellets are hydroscopic and can absorb up to a couple % moisture from the air. During the moulding process when the material is heated by a combination of frictional heat during screw rotation and resistance heating surrounding the barrels the resin can heat up to ~ 600F.

This heat, when coupled with the moisture in the resin pellets can actually “crack” the long molecule into smaller molecules through a process called “chain scission”. Plastics generally get their strength from the molecules length. This reduction in molecular length can have drastic consequences on the plastics physical properties. A part can now fail at ½ its’ normal tensile strength which can be catastrophic in use.

The addition of moisture also will decrease the materials apparent viscosity which can affect the quality of parts produced. Dimensional issues will probably result as well as causing the vents in the mould to get flashed over and filled in.

We generally try to dry nylons from about 0.15 – 0.2 down to about 0.06% by weight H2O. Some materials (PET) need to be controlled down to 0.005%. We do this by filling a large hopper full of plastic pellets and blowing in hot, very dry air into the bottom of the hopper and allowing the air to percolate up through the resin bed where it picks up moisture from the pellets. This wet air is then returned to the regenerative dryer to be passed through a dessicant bed where the air gives up its’ moisture. The air is then heated and returned to the bottom of the dryer with a dewpoint of ~ -40F.

We try to control the moisture content of the pellets entering the moulding machine screw by calculating the resin’s normal starting moisture content, the shot size in grams, the cycle time, the specific gravity of the resin, and the volume of the hopper. With these parameters we can calculate the average residence time of a pellet.

With this knowledge and looking at the characteristic curves for each specific resin we can determine at what drying temperature for average residence time in the hopper how much moisture decrease we will achieve from the starting moisture content.

We normally verify the moisture content with sampling the material out of the bottom of the hopper. We place a small sample into a device called a thermo-gravimetric analyzer. It basically takes the staring sample weight, heats up the sample and monitors the weight change. When the weight stops changing after a period of time the test is over. The device then calculates weight change and displays the moisture percent of the sample.

We would like to measure the moisture in realtime as pellets exit the hopper and also to actively control the heated air temperature as well as air flowrate through the resin bed to automatically control the moisture content to a specific range. The starting moisture content would also need to be automatically measured.


25) Parteq - Kingston

Green Chemistry Commercialization Centre Scale Up Facility (Kingston)

Within the Chemical and Material Science sector, demonstrating the value associated with a breakthrough discovery is challenging. Chemical innovations borne out of university laboratories typically manifest themselves as milliliters of liquid, milligrams of crystalline powder or some polymeric fibers at the end of a spatula. While the features of these technologies can be ascertained at this early stage, whether these features translate into market and application specific benefits requires further development and validation. The Green Chemistry Commercialization Centre (GCCC) at Queen’s University addresses a long-overdue need to overcome these commercialization hurdles. The GCCC will work in concert with its industry partners to de-risk promising Green Chemistry discoveries, advancing them closer to market. The most crucial step in this commercialization process involves getting samples of these new materials to potential customers for testing and validation. First stage customer testing programs typically require between 1 and 10 kg of material. While small from an industrial perspective, it is extremely challenging (if not impossible) to prepare this amount of material in an academic lab. The GCCC will house a flexible scale-up facility which will be able to prepare between 1 and 10 kg of evaluation samples to support commercialization activities. The challenge is to design this facility with flexibility, safety, and efficiency in mind. The scale up facilities will need to:

1. accommodate a broad range homogeneous and heterogeneous chemical reactions
2. be modular and easily configurable
3. be able to accommodate testing of new reactor prototypes.

Working with potential Industrial and academic users of the facility, TEAM members will define the funcational requirements and then design the facility with Safety, regulatory compliance, and efficiency in mind. A full 3D virtual model will be required, and the project team may be paired up with an engineering consulting group in the later stages of the project. The GCCC’s scale up facility will be the first-of-its-kind in Canada. It will bridge the development gap between academic and industrial R&D, and ultimately maximize the positive societal impact arising from Canadian Green Chemistry discoveries.

discipline (CHEE, MECH, LAW, ..)


26) Shorewood Packaging – (Smiths Falls)

Process Control of Flame Sealing Soap Cartons Background:

In the fall of 2007 Shorewood converted the carton gluer from a traditional cold glue sealing application to a flame sealing application for soap boxes for a major customer. The goal of this conversion was to eliminate a major cause of downtime and waste within the customer’s facility. While the new method for “gluing” the cartons has resulted in less waste and downtime for both the customer and Shorewood, we have yet to establish process controls on key variables that would deliver more consistent results.

Objective: Identify key variables within the flame sealing process, design and implement a data collection system that relates to the quality of the flame sealing operation and to recommend / develop / implement automatic process controls as time permits.

Notes: Available to the students is a Shoplogix Plantnode that is capable of collecting real-time data that can be configured for just about any type of sensor available. The unit has it’s own web page where current and historical data can be viewed. The unit can be configured to generate alarms, emails, etc based on the parameters set.

discipline (CHEE, MECH)

< back to Project Lists