Student Keynote and Welcome

Sunday, October 20, 2019
Ballroom B2

David Beckman, President of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, will welcome students and open the student program. The student organizing committee will provide a summary of the 2019 conference student program.

The keynote lecture will be given by Roberto Armenta, Chief Scientist and Director of Research Development of Mara Renewables Corporation

The target audience for this session is undergraduate students. However, all conference attendees are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Keynote Lecture

Speaker Bio: Roberto Armenta

Roberto Armenta is the Chief Scientist and Director of Research & Development of Mara Renewables Corporation. Armenta leads the most advanced R&D program of algae fermentation to produce renewable oils in Canada, which have led to the development of one of the top most competitive microbial oil technologies worldwide. Armenta has worked extensively in academic, government and industrial sectors. His work includes R&D on industrial biochemical processes, and his research has been crucial in developing novel processes for the development of microbial bio-products. With over 15 years' experience, Armenta's tenures have included his role as Natural Product Biochemist with the Prince Edward Island government, and as Senior Scientist, Director of R&D for Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited (ONC)'s Fermentation and Metabolic Engineering Group. He is a prolific inventor, with over a dozen commercially relevant patents and many of his developed technologies have been implemented at industrial scale. Armenta has also authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, and have presented at multiple international conferences. He’s an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Sciences at Dalhousie University. He’s also a member of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology and the American Oil Chemists’ Society. He works, and lives happily with his family, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.


From Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy to the World: Renewables Oils

Wild fish stocks are in trouble due to unsustainable fishing. Oceans are under enormous pressure to produce enough fish to satisfy human consumption and use in animal nutrition. In 2014, for the first time, fish produced by aquaculture surpassed fish captured from the sea. However, aquaculture often uses fish meal and oil from wild fish. As part of a solution to alleviate the fish oil sustainability problem, a technology was born and developed in Nova Scotia. The story started over 10 years ago with a unique strain of oil-producing microalgae found in the Bay of Fundy. This Nova Scotian microalgae was grown in a lab’s tiny beakers, and after years of innovation to improve its efficiency and its scalability at commercial scale, became a successful source of a commercial oil rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. For this to happen, help from many undergraduate and recent graduates was needed, and this story describes moments where these new scientists helped at addressing the challenges of making fish oil without fish. A sustainability circle was closed by making renewable oils that began in the ocean and ended by helping the very ocean they came from.