Engineering Now .: Volume 4 - Edition 3 .: November 2007

Federal Environment Minister John Baird visits Western Engineering

L - R: Ron Golden, Environment Minister John Baird, Dean Franco Berruti, Eglin-Middlesex-London MP Joe Preston

With the current global focus on environmental issues and sustainability, the Canadian Federal government is looking to leading researchers for new ideas. Many of those researchers are right here on Western’s campus.

On Thursday, November 8, John Baird, Federal Minister of the Environment with the current Conservative government, visited The University of Western Ontario and toured engineering and biotron facilities where cutting-edge environmental research is being done.

Engineering Dean Franco Berruti and research collaborator Cedric Briens took Minister Baird, as well as local Conservative MP Joe Preston, on a tour of their laboratory facilities, and provided a demonstration of the Agritherm Mobile Unit adjacent to the Thompson Engineering building. They came for a first-hand look at the technology of tomorrow, which politicians have become increasingly interested in, in this era of environmental awareness.

Baird had the opportunity to hear about the research, ask questions and meet undergraduate and graduate students working in the labs. After the tour, he expressed optimism about the immediate future of environmental research.

“We had a great visit to Western, and there’s lots of really exciting initiatives on biofuels, climate change, adaptation, mitigation. It’s really world-leading and it was exciting to learn more about it. We hope we can do more partnerships with them in the future,” said Baird.

Dean Berruti’s and Dr. Briens’ research deals with renewable energy technology. They are working on methods to transform waste products – primarily agricultural waste – into bio-oils. The bio-oils created from waste products could then have wide application in areas like pharmaceuticals, alternative fuels and even in food preparation.

Earlier in the day, Minister Baird was given an inside look at the new Biotron Institute for Experimental Climate Change Research Facility on campus. The Biotron is a state-of-the-art facility which, once fully completed, will house multi-disciplinary research projects dealing with issues like climate change and the effect of extreme environments on plants and organisms.

Western has become a leader in interdisciplinary research, and this strength is very evident in the local environmental research being done, and in the diverse group of facilities and partnerships across campus.


Also from this web page:


.: Becky Blue
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808