All Systems Go for Launch of STAR Tech Conference, Nov. 12-14, Houston

New AIChE event explores chemical and biological technologies for space travel and earth-bound applications
October 26, 2018

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is launching STAR Tech — Space Travel: Adaptive Research and Technologies from biological and chemical engineering — a conference emphasizing non-traditional technologies applicable to space exploration and other ventures. The conference is set for November 12–14, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Houston, in Houston, TX.

Chaired by Al Sacco, Jr. (Dean of the College of Engineering at Texas Tech University, and a former Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia), and Robyn Gatens (Deputy Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s [NASA’s] International Space Station Division), STAR Tech is aimed at expanding thinking and applications related to sustaining life in harsh environments. This includes technologies for outer space travel, but also extends to the development of longevity for terrestrial products such as materials, food, clean water, and medicines.

Professionals from industry, government agencies, and academia will present research and  perspectives on pertinent technologies in materials engineering, chemical engineering, and biological engineering. Sessions will incorporate discussions of applicable topics in artificial intelligence, artificial photosynthesis, biomanufacturing of waste, biopolymers, energy storage, food production, sensors, and more.

Jason Crusan, NASA’s Director of Advanced Exploration Systems, is scheduled to set the stage for the conference with a keynote address on Monday, November 12.

As part of STAR Tech, AIChE’s Rapid Advancement on Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute will conduct a brainstorming session to identify the potential role of modular chemical and process intensification (MCPI) in space habitation. MCPI technologies can bring significant reduction in equipment size and improvement in energy efficiency — both key targets for space habitation.

Learn more about STAR Tech and all of AIChE’s conference at

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at