Promotive Communications

Laboratory Focus July 2013

Laboratory Focus is Canada's leading editorial-based lab publication. Providing readers with the latest technology updates through application and tech notes, as well as covering new products and trends in laboratories across Canada.

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PHARMACEUTICAL CLINICAL CHEMICAL FOOD w w w. l a b o r a t o r y f o c u s . c a High quality screening of pharmacological chaperones for genetic diseases Page 7 ENVIRONMENT JULY 2013 Volume 17, Number 4 Using safe lock tubes in mass spectrometry Page 10 R&D News.......................... 1 Pharma Notes..................... 5 Appointments..................... 6 New Products................... 16 Calendar........................... 17 App Reviews...................... 18 RESEARCH SHOWS PROMISE FOR REDUCING GREENHOUSE GASES University of Calgary scientists are investigating how Alberta-grown biomass, such as straw and wood leftover from agricultural and forestry operations, could be used to clean up chemical contaminants in water from oilsands operations. "It's important to look at areas of synergy for these industries," says project lead David Layzell, a University of Calgary biological sciences professor affiliated with the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy. "We can get a bigger bang for the buck by getting our agriculture and forestry sectors to help the oil and gas sector solve some of its environmental problems." Alberta's oilsands mining industry currently uses about 123-millioncubic-metres of water annually that ends up in large tailings ponds. The organic compounds in this processed water are dominated by naphthenic acids, which are toxic and corrosive. In addition, microbes in the ponds convert these naphthenic acids to methane gas, which is emitted to the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that has about 25 times more warming potential in Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide. University of Calgary researchers are hoping to develop an activated biocarbon tailored for adsorbing these naphthenic acids thereby preventing the formation and release of methane greenhouse gasses. Publications Mail Registration Number: 40052410 L to R: University of Calgary's faculty researcher Josephine Hill, post-doctoral researcher Andrei Veksha and faculty researcher David Layzell. Photo by Mike Sturk. The spent biocarbon could be used either as a source of renewable energy to displace fossil fuels, or land-filled as a permanent carbon storage, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Layzell is currently collaborating with colleagues Josephine Hill, a chemical and petroleum engineer- ing professor in the Schulich School of Engineering, and Andrei Veksha, a post-doctoral researcher at the Schulich School of Engineering who has expertise in making activated carbons. They have successfully made small amounts of biocarbon from aspen residues using "slow pyrolysis," a relatively low-temperature process that 'burns' the biomass in the absence of oxygen. "We're looking for a cheaper process with lower energy input to make the activated biochar. This would minimize the cost per cubic metre of using it to treat oilsands water, while also maximizing the greenhouse gas benefit," Hill says. "Our preliminary results are promising." The team, which has held several meetings with industry experts, will need to show they can scale up their laboratory process and also do economic analysis to ensure their final products are cost-efficient for the oilsands industry. This research project received $57,500 from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC), through the Biological Greenhouse Gas Management Program. The program is managed on behalf of CCEMC by Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. To see this story online visit http://www.laboratoryfocus. ca/?p=1357

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