The Journey towards a Green Earth

Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
- Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Niloofar Abdehagh

Leaving in a more sustainable, green world! Is it still possible? For Niloofar Abdehagh, the answer is a definitive YES. This uOttawa PhD student in Chemical and Biological Engineering has dedicated her research project to finding the answer for a more sustainable Earth. Lately, her commitment towards this green dream has earned her a prestigious AIChE award, which increased her motivation to pursue further academic investigations in science and cutting-edge technologies.

Abdehagh is currently working on the replacement of gasoline with biofuels produced from sustainable resources. Biofuels like bio-butanol stand out as one of the alternative to oil because of their clean combustion properties and environmental benefits. Besides, biofuels are largely considered as a more viable source of energy, which will be in high demand in the near future. Therefore, the team, composed of different MEng, masters and PhD students working on different parts of the project under the supervision of Professors F. Handan Tezel and Jules Thibault, is conducting more fundamental investigations.

In November 2013, I was one of the winners in the Sustainable Biorefineries Poster Session contest in AIChE 2013 held in San Francisco, CA, which had record numbers of academic and industrial scholars presenting their work in numerous oral and poster sessions.  The Sustainable Biorefineries Poster Session had 58 registered posters and six judges selected the top posters. My poster, titled “Bio-Butanol Separation by Adsorption: Adsorbent Screening and Breakthrough Experiments” represented one of the several parts of my PhD project”, said Abdehagh.

Today, this talented and committed student is trying to find a balance between her studies and her personal life; she frankly admitted that it “might be a little bit difficult, but with improving the time managing ability it would be easily doable”, while explaining how much her profession matters to her.

Near the end of her studies, this scholar is reflecting on her career choices, cautious about the impact of a decision that will affect the rest of her life. However, there is one thing she knows, “I would like to build my career to succeed, a profession that will satisfy me, challenge me, and bring me joy”. Abdehagh is also looking forward to a career where she could discover or improve products or procedures, especially in the field of biofuel production.

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