August 2015 AICHE North Bay Meeting

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 5:30pm-8:30pm PDT
Event format: 
In-Person / Local
Posted by Dylan Webster
5885 Hollis Street
3rd Floor
Emeryville, CA 94608
United States

Dr. Ranil Wickramasinghe

 Tuesday, Aug 25th


5885 Hollis Street, 3rd Floor  Emeryville CA 

Join us for great presentations and guided site tour
Special thanks to our speakers and ABPDU for hosting this event 

As chemical engineers perhaps the best known membrane based separation process is reverse osmosis for desalination of salt water to produce drinking water. However membranes find many other applications including

  • cleaning produced water from fracking operations
  • treating water from farming operations
  • catalytic membranes for biomass hydrolysis
  • purification of pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals
  • removing endocrine disruptors from wastewater
  • blood oxygenation
  • kidney dialysis
  • membrane chromatography

Membrane separations are commercially attractive for the following reasons.

  • They often cost less to operate
  • They are environmentally benign
  • They are easy to scale up
  • They fill niche applications

As the drive to develop more sustainable manufacturing processes increases, many new membrane based processes are being developed. The aims of this presentation are threefold.

(a)    Highlight the great breadth of commercialized membrane based separation processes.

(b)   Introduce some potential new membrane based separation processes e.g. for treating hydraulic fracturing flow back waters; producing fuels and chemicals from biomass

(c)    Highlight some of the challenges facing designers of new membranes for future separations.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Todd Pray

Dr. Todd Pray is currently Program Head at the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where his role is to supervise the team and develop and execute on R&D projects with our clients and collaborators.  The ABPDU's mission is to partner with industry, other National Labs, and academia to develop and scale processes for biofuel, biochemical and other bioproduct technologies. 
Throughout his career Todd has been committed to developing bioscience technologies that improve human health and environmental sustainability across a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical, food science and renewable fuel and chemical product R&D programs. Prior to the ABPDU Todd spent a year at Impossible Food, Inc., a cutting-edge Bay Area start up in the emerging food biotech space, as Sr. Director of Product Development.  Before his time there, Todd progressed through several roles at Amyris, Inc., most recently as Sr. Director of Product Management.  Todd helped direct strategic collaborations for bio-based fuel and chemical product development and scale-up with the US Department of Energy and as a Steering Committee member for Amyris' commercial partnerships with Total New Energies and Beta Renewables. Before entering the renewable fuel and chemical industry Todd was a scientist and project leader at a number of Bay Area pharma/biotech companies such as Rigel, Exelixis and Acumen Pharmaceuticals.  In this role he developed pre-clinical and clinical products in therapeutic indications as diverse as oncology, Hepatitis C virus, and Alzheimer's disease.  
After earning his BS in Biological Chemistry from the University of Chicago, Todd earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics from UCSF and received an MBA degree from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.   

Prof. Ranil Wickramasinghe, University of Arkansas  

Ranil Wickramasinghe has been active in AIChE for many years. He is a past-Chair and a current member of the Career and Education Operating Council (CEOC). He was the Meeting Program Chair of the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Francisco which was the largest annual meeting to date. He was very active in the Boston Local Section holding many positions including vice-president of the section and was on the General Arrangements Committee of the last AIChE summer meeting. He is a member of the AIChE Licensing and Professional Development Committee, and is a member Chemical Exam Committee of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the committee that writes questions for the Chemical Engineering PE Exam. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the North American Membrane Society.

Ranil Wickramasinghe's research interests are in membrane science and technology. Typical unit operations include: microfiltration, ultrafiltration, virus filtration, nanofiltration, membrane extraction etc. His group is actively developing responsive membranes which change their physical properties in response to changed environmental conditions. A second research focus is the development of catalytic membranes for biomass hydrolysis by grafting catalytic groups to the membrane surface.

Prof Wickramasinghe, obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, all in Chemical Engineering. He is a licensed chemical engineer. He worked for 5 years in the biotechnology/biomedical industry in the Boston area before joining the Department of Chemical Engineering at Colorado State University. He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas in 2011 where he holds the Ross E Martin Chair in Emerging Technologies. He has published over 120 peer reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and is co-editor of a book on responsive membrane and materials.


Program consists of:

5:30-6:30 pm Networking & Refreshments (Sponsored by ABPDU)
6:30 -6:45 pm Dr. Todd Pray 
6:45-7:30 pm Prof Ranil Wickramasinghe Presentation
7:30-8:00 pm ABPDU Site Tour
8:00-8:30 pm Questions and Wrap Up


Special thanks to our host ABPDU for providing meeting location, refreshments and site tour

Please note: No open-toed shoes will be allowed for facility tour. 

RSVP is required to provide attendee list in advance for site access permissions.