The CAPEC Annual Meeting 2008 took place on 9-11 June 2008 at Hotel Frederiksdal. Out of the 77 participants 31 were representatives of the members of the CAPEC Industrial Consortium, 12 were invited guests and the rest were CAPEC co-workers. Outdoors the Danish summer generously poured sunlight over the beautiful countryside location of the meeting, while indoors the programme focused on the latest research in computer-aided process and product engineering and featured invited speakers from industry and academia.
|The CAPEC Annual Meeting 2008 was held at Hotel Frederiksdal, Lyngby, Denmark |
In the invited sessions Per Falholt, Executive Vice President, Novozymes and CAPEC consortium member spoke about 'Opportunities and Challenges' and CAPEC consortium member Dr. David Bluck, Chief Technologist, Invensys SimSci-Esscor, USA, gave the lecture 'Characterization of bitumens and non-conventional heavy oils - challenges to the refining industry. The invited session was rounded off by Prof. John O’Connell, University of Virginia, US, whose lecture was called 'KT and Me: A Symbiotic Relationship of the Past, Present, and Future.'
Lars Wiebe, Scientific Director at Danisco A/S and chairman of the CAPEC Advisory Board, has attended the CAPEC Annual Meeting for several years and this year he was particularly on the lookout for models of lipids:
|Lars Wiebe, Scientific Director at Danisco A/S |
“Lipids are of great interest to my company as they play an essential role in the production of emulsifiers,” Lars Wiebe said in an interview between sessions, “Emulsifiers are of common and indispensable use in the food industry. Just consider the fact that 50 % of ice-lolly sticks in the world contain products from Danisco.”
As head of the CAPEC Advisory Board Lars Wiebe has a strong focus on conveying knowledge from CAPEC to new fields in the chemical industry:
“Computer-aided process-product engineering was first implemented in the petrochemical industry where it is used at all levels today," says Lars Wiebe, "but these methods are relevant to any company dealing with chemical production. With so many new things happening right now in for instance the food industry, there are obvious benefits when engineers engage in computer-aided process-product engineering methods: A modelling phase before projects are taken to the experimental level in the laboratory can increase the efficiency in product/process engineering dramatically. It saves both time and money."
Danisco A/S where Lars Wieber is Scientific Director has co-funded several master and PhD projects carried out within the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at DTU. In 2008 the company expanded its collaboration with the department by sponsoring a professorship connected to the activities of the Centre for Advanced Food Studies (LMC), research group working within the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, DTU.
Another participant who has been at the CAPEC annual meeting several times before was Martin Schiller, engineering consultant from the company DuPont. Martin Schiller supports process development and process design in almost all branches of the DuPont business. Asked about what role the CAPEC research plays in his daily work, Martin Schiller says:
|Martin Schiller, engineering consultant, DuPont |
“Basically there are two categories of information you need to have before you build a chemical plant: 1) Experimental data and 2) data from modelling. Both go hand in hand. This basic information is what CAPEC provides through this consortium, and a lot of it comes from computer simulation,” Martin Schiller explains, “what you do at the computer stage is very cheap and changes can be made quickly. It is much harder in the lab.” Strong network around CAPEC
DuPont has been a consortium member for 6 years. Though Martin Schiller attends the CAPEC annual meetings primarily for the professional input he also emphasizes the strong network effect:
“The 32 companies in the CAPEC consortium are not all doing the same but there are overlapping areas and at this meeting you get to know your peers from other companies. Of course we don’t discuss business details - we are sometimes direct competitors and are not allowed to do this - but we can talk generic things, and people are very open in this field,” says Martin Schiller and adds an example of benefit from the network effect:
“We had a case where I needed to do some work and I needed some important details so I went to the literature to find the relevant model. I found one related paper but something wasn’t right, so I sent an email to one of the authors - who I happened to have met at CAPEC. We exchanged a few emails and within a few days everything was clear. If I hadn’t known him I might never have gotten a reply. Clearly this was a networking benefit - and I saved a lot of time.”
The strong network effect around CAPEC and the CAPEC Consortium is also of great benefit to current and former students:
|Mario Richard Eden, Associate Professor at Auburn University |
“It has immense value to the students in CAPEC to have this opportunity to hang around some 40 top executives from our field gathered here for three days,” says Mario Richard Eden, Associate Professor at Auburn University, “there is no better place to apply for a job or get feedback from the very people who will one day be implementing your research.”
Mario Richard Eden finished his PhD at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, DTU, in 2003. After having spent months of his PhD project at Auburn University he was invited back to the USA as a visiting lecturer. After two semesters he was incited to apply for the full professorship - and he got the job.
“My background at CAPEC is one of the reasons I got that job. When I was a student at CAPEC I didn’t quite realize how many people know and respect the group and how many contacts you gain directly and indirectly via the group,” says Mario Richard Eden who gave a lecture at the annual meeting entitled 'A Systematic Method for Integrating Mixture Design and Molecular Synthesis'.
Loïc d’Anterroches, a former student at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, DTU, who started his own company last year, agrees with Mario Richard Eden:
|Loïc d’Anterroches, Ph.D. and Founder of Céondo Ltd. |
“CAPEC is an ideal platform for starting a company because the consortium has a lot of contacts with companies outside. That means you have an excellent network right from the beginning,” says Loïc d’Anterroches who came to the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at DTU in 2002 to do a PhD project, after having finished an MSc in France.
When his PhD was finished Loïc d’Anterroches was employed by the Danish company Atomistix and went on to start his own company, Céondo, which provides custom software development in process engineering.
Besides the petrochemical and food industries, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the fields where computer-aided process - product engineering finds many uses and is rapidly expanding to new areas.
“I work in making the ingredients that go into making the tablet,” explains Peter Crafts, Principal Process Engineer at AstraZeneca, “we use things like water and alcohol to dissolve the free agents before the purification. The quicker we can make those more effectively and environmentally sound, the better."
|Peter Crafts, Principal Process Engineer, AstraZeneca |
Peter Crafts points to pharmacokinetics – a research field dealing with how a drug moves around the body from injection to excretion – as a new area for computer simulation:
“You need to get the medication into the body in a concentration that is fine enough to make an effect. What we normally have is a drug molecule where you know the backbone of it which will lock into an enzyme and you know what shape it needs to be, but when you are looking to find the drug candidate you also need to put different materials onto that, to make it dissolve into the blood or get to the right part of the body and identifying which function groups you should add on. I think that will be an important new area,” says Peter Crafts.
The CAPEC Annual Meeting 2008 was rounded off by Director of CAPEC Professor Rafiqul Gani and Associate Professor Jens Abildskov, Deputy Director of CAPEC, who shed light on future projects and plans within CAPEC.
Responses to the questionnaire related to the meeting showed that the general level of satisfaction on almost all issues was very high.
The next CAPEC Annual Meeting will be held on 2-4 June 2009.
See the full program of the meeting here: http://kortlink.dk/5f7p
More photos from the meeting
Some PhD Presentations at the CAPEC Annual Meeting 2008:
|Latest research results: Rasmus Wedberg - Molecular modeling in computer-aided medium-engineering for biocatalysis |
|Latest research results, PhD projects: Elisa Conte - Development through a Model-based Systems Approach for Product-Process Design (1st year) |
|Short presentations of new PhD projects: Carlos Axel Díaz Tovar |
|Short presentations of new PhD projects: Martin E. Christensen |
|Short presentations of new PhD projects: Linfeng Yuan |