Envision Blog

Showcasing learnings and experiences from the UBC Envision team

01 April 2022

1 min read

BIoT Presents Glow-in-the-Dark Project at MURC

On March 19th and 20th, UBC hosted the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC). MURC is an annual conference for UBC undergraduate students to showcase their research in front of their fellow UBC students, family, and friends.

16 May 2021

1 min read

Chem-E-Car News: May 2021

This spring, the UBC Chem-E-Car team Co-Captains hosted the 2021 Pacific Northwest Regional AIChE Conference virtually! The conference consisted of an industry panel, jeopardy competition, lab tour, research presentations and competitions, and of course, the Regional Chem-E-Car Competition itself. With only one month to build and test the Chem-E-Car due to in-person restrictions, the team managed to build a winning car!

20 March 2021

1 min read

Chem-E-Car Friendly Competition Update

On Saturday, March 13th, UBC Chem-E-Car had the opportunity to participate in a friendly competition with other Canadian Universities. In light of COVID-19, McGill University, Western University, and The University of British Columbia came together to ideate, plan and execute a friendly competition.

24 February 2021

2 mins read

BioT Sub-team Updates

With everything operating online this year, BioT has virtually connected with many local breweries such as Category 12, Granville Island Brewing, and Howe Sound Brewing. BioT has found a way to communicate with the whole team by conducting virtual project update sessions and presenting their work through zoom. Here are the sub-team updates from BioT throughout last term:

14 February 2021

1 min read

Chem-E-Car Mechanical Subteam Updates

The MECH team began working on improving our SOLIDWORKS skills learning the basic functionality of the different car parts we needed to design (battery stack, stopping mechanism and water containment). As a learning tool, we began by evaluating previous designs for the car components and collectively analyzed their strengths and weaknesses.

14 February 2021

2 mins read

Chem-E-Car Laboratory Subteam Updates

Throughout the first semester, our laboratory subteam has been hard at work at developing technical memos and completing research about potential reactions to use in future Chem-E-Cars. Below is a summary of the research and work they have completed throughout the term.

14 February 2021

2 mins read

Chem-E-Car Circuitry Subteam Updates

During the past term, the Circuity Sub-Team of Chem-E-Car has been working hard using an online simulator to work on their coding and circuit making skills. This is to prepare them for the arduino car project they are conducting over the majority of the upcoming term!

14 February 2021

2 mins read

Chem-E-Car Battery Subteam Updates

The battery team has been working on their technical report writing skills, and growing their knowledge with weekly lessons and ample literature research. Members of our team have been focusing on specific batteries.

25 January 2021

1 min read

Green Joule’s Interview with the Weather Network

UBC Green Joule had a great experience sharing their research goal in promoting sustainability of microalgae biofuels to the Weather Network. The Co-Captains of Green Joule, Montserrat del Toro (CHBE) and Daniel Ma (CIVIL), along with Dr. Gabriel Potvin from the Chemical and Biological Engineering department were interviewed in the lab by Mia Gordon, the videographer of the Weather Network.

08 September 2020

1 min read

Outlooks for the 2020 School Year

Here’s a warm welcome from UBC Envision to all students returning back to school. Due to the current pandemic, UBC will be operating very differently this year. With classes shifting online, all faculties and programs from arts and music to computer science and engineering have been affected. The student experience here at UBC will be entirely different, particularly with engineering design teams and projects. With an online format for meetings...

03 February 2020

4 mins read

UBC Chem-E-Car: February 2020 Update

The UBC Chem-E-Car team has been working hard to build two cars for the 2020 AIChE Chem-E-Car Regionals. Our returning members and new recruits have been testing batteries, developing stopping mechanisms and designing 3D CAD models. Read on to learn about what each sub-team is doing for our cars, Van Diesel and Lightning McCHBE!

01 September 2019

1 min read

2019 Recruitment

It’s that time of the year again! Recruitment for 2019-2020 is now open for all UBC students! If you’re passionate about science, innovation and technology, there’s bound to be a design team here for you. This year we are working on a range of fascinating projects: an autonomous agricultural robot, a shoe-box sized car, biofuel from algae, and beer brewing. For more details, check out the “projects” part of our...

29 August 2019

1 min read

Preparing for the upcoming year

With a collection of great ideas in mind, UBC Envision worked hard all summer in planning the upcoming academic year. The new admin team held general meetings every two weeks to ensure that everything ran smoothly and is on the right track for the fruitful year ahead.

05 January 2019

3 mins read

2018: A year in Review

The year of 2018 has been a big year of growth and development for Envision. During the year, we have further developed some of our projects with new branding and membership. Algae Bio-fuels has successfully rebranded to Green Joule and ChBeer has rebranded itself to BIoT, on the way to attracting even more members and gaining even more sponsorship support for this upcoming 2019. Envision has also given rise to...

01 December 2018

2 mins read

UBC wins first place in Chem-E-Car Poster Competiton 2018

From September 26th to 31st, the American Institute of Chemical Engineering hosted the Chem-E-Car National Competition in Pittsburgh, PA. The Chem-E-Car Competition consists of two components. The first component is the design competition, where the goal is to have a shoebox-sized car travel a target distance while carrying a given load of water. The car must be powered by a power source that is created entirely by the team. To...

10 November 2018

4 mins read

How Do We Grow the Algae?

C. Vulgaris needs what every plant needs to grow: food, light, CO2, and space. We are working to optimize these variables to achieve the maximum algae growth per unit volume- a key hurdle in commercializing algae biofuels.

14 October 2018

3 mins read

The Bubble-T Battery - Zn-Tapioca-Air

The Zinc-Air battery is the power source for the Vancruiser, UBC’s Chem-E-Car. Zinc-air batteries are similar to conventional cells as they generate power from a chemical reaction. In the case of the Vancruiser, the Zinc-Air battery powers 2 DC motors of a rating of 12V each.

13 October 2018

5 mins read

Setup a Raspberry Pi from Scratch [Part 3]

Setup a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or B+ from Scratch (For Stretch OS) [Part 3]

06 October 2018

1 min read

2018 and Beyond; The Current State of BIoT

2018 Kick-Off The BIoT team is kicking off the year strong, taking on 8 new recruits who are eager to put their skills to the test and create some kick-ass beer! Our first batch of the year was a success, we created another one of our specialty belgian blondes using Magnum, Mt. Hood, and Citra hops. After pitching the yeast we had some issues with it fully attenuating so we...

29 September 2018

15 mins read

Quick Data Analysis with Python

In this post we are going to talk about how to quickly and easily analyze data with Python. Specifically this will show you how to import and export data from CSV’s (comma seperated variables) into Python. Note that this post is a work in progress and information will continue to be updated.

29 September 2018

3 mins read

Possibilities in Improving Bioethanol Production from Microalgae

The demand for renewable energy has dramatically increased with the population outburst and need for motorized transportation. Microalgal biomass is a source of green fuel that is gaining momentum; it is also known as the third generation of biofuel. Microalgae are great alternatives to other renewable energy because of their capability to convert unusable energy in the environment to useful fuel in large fuel concentration to biomass ratio. In addition,...

09 September 2018

3 mins read

The Black Box

Learn out about the Junior Chem-E-Car team’s car from the 2018 AIChE Pacific Northwest Regional Conference at Montana State University!

25 August 2018

5 mins read

Working With Raspberry Pi [Part 2]

Setting Up a Raspberry Pi for the First Time. You will need a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, a MicroSD, an HDMI cord, a monitor (with an HDMI input), a keyboard and a mouse.

25 August 2018

2 mins read

Brandon Chen earns the AIChE Freshman Recognition Award

Brandon Chen earns the AIChE Freshman Recognition Award UBC Envision always looks forward to the moments when we can recognize members of our projects and teams, for their achievements in the various fields of work they pursue. Brandon Chen, a third-year student at the Chemical and Biological Engineering program in UBC, recently received the AIChE Freshmen Recognition Award at the 2018 Pacific Northwest Regional Conference. The Freshmen Recognition Award is...

20 August 2018

2 mins read

BioT: New Name, Same Aim

What’s brewing? How process control and the Internet of Things could spell large potential for biological processes.

11 August 2018

2 mins read

The Importance of Algae Biofuels

Learn about the motives and goals of the Green Joule project and how their work can potentially benefit the industry!

04 August 2018

5 mins read

Meet the Vancruiser

Learn out about the Senior Chem-E-Car team’s winning car from the 2018 AIChE Pacific Northwest Regional Conference at Montana State University!

13 April 2018

1 min read

Chem-E-Car takes the 2018 AIChE Regional Conference

Chem-E-Car takes the 2018 AIChE Regional Conference The Chem-E-Car team attended the annual Regional Student Conference in Montana State University from April 13 - 14. The conference events include the Regional Chem-E-Car Competition, Regional ChemE Jeopardy Competition and Regional Student Paper and Poster Competitions.

03 March 2018

3 mins read

Working With Raspberry Pi [Part 1]

How to work with Raspberry Pi’s and what an SoC is! This is Part 1 of a blog series where we will discuss working with Raspberry Pi’s and various types of sensors used in the CHBeer project.

20 February 2018

1 min read

Envision Sister Chapter: Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Hola, amigos! We are happy to announce that we are officially AIChE Sister Chapters with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC)!

31 January 2018

3 mins read

The Ins and Outs of Writing a Good Abstract

Introduction Creating a lab report can be an extremely arduous process; it requires patience, critical thinking, and varying degrees of technical skills. However, sometimes it can be one little 300-word paragraph that proves to be the most difficult part of this entire process. Yes, I am talking about the abstract. It’s not always easy providing such a concise summary for a research report that may be several pages long, and...

01 January 2018

2 mins read

2017: A Review

With 2018 ahead, we at Envision are taking time to look back at our achievements and give thanks for the support from our university, our sponsors and our brilliant team members for helping us achieve a spectacular inaugural year for the organization.

24 December 2017

8 mins read

BREW 101: An Introduction to Brewing

The semester is over and two successful batches have taken place; The Cassiopeia Pale Ale and the Electric Lady Belgium Blonde. This semester consisted of testing out our fermenter and getting familiar with brewing. We have set up the framework for our application and are taking temperature readings and posting them to a webpage. We have also incorporated a pH sensor into our board and will be testing it further...

12 December 2017

1 min read

Globe and Mail Visits CHBeer!

Globe and Mail Visits CHBeer On December 12th Globe and Mail reporter Ian Bailey and photographer Darryl Dyck visited the CHBeer team to learn a bit about the project.

02 December 2017

4 mins read

So You Think You Have a Good Idea, Now What? How We Started the Algae Project From Scratch

Introduction Last year November, members from Chem-E-Car presented a poster on using algal biomass to produce biofuels at the annual Generate conference hosted by Clean Energy BC. Fast forward to 6 months after, Chem-E-Car has rebranded to UBC Envision and the question is, do we want to keep the algae project? With continuous interest from members and support from the community, the obvious answer is yes. However, the topic of...

30 November 2017

7 mins read

Exploring Environment Canada Weather Data with Jupyter Notebooks, Part I: Data Extraction & Cleaning

Introduction Environment Canada provides reliable weather data for many locations across the country. The data can be accessed as either .CSV or .XML files.

27 November 2017

1 min read

Envision teams present at CleanEnergyBC's Generate conference

Presenting sustainable energy solutions. On November 27th, members of the flow cell team and algae team in Envision attended CleanEnergyBC’s Generate conference, to compete in the student poster competition. The conference focuses on clean energy sloutions and ideas, and gives opportunities for students to showcase their work to the clean energy industry.

25 November 2017

2 mins read

Algae -- Today’s Green Water, Tomorrow’s Fuel

My journey to discovering Algae Biofuel My name is Noor, and I am a second-year student at the chemical and biological engineering program in UBC, also a part of the Envision Algae Biofuel design team. Although my involvement with Envision has run only in the span of a term so far, the knowledge, technical practice and transferable skills I gained have been very valuable.

18 November 2017

1 min read

2017 UBC Engineering Open House

Opening up to the next generation of engineers. On Saturday, Envision showcased our projects to prospective engineering students at the 2017 UBC Engineering APSC Open House. The Open House introduces high school students to the academic and career opportunities present in UBC, from the Co-op internship program to engineering design teams.

31 October 2017

1 min read

Envision hosts brewing workshop at the AIChE 2017 Conference

What’s Brewing in Minneapolis? Shams El Nawawi, Siang Lim, Athanasios Kritharis and Joshua Donaldson attended the 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineering Conference from October 27th to November 1st where they presented a workshop on CHBeer, UBC Envision’s Automated brewing project.

28 October 2017

1 min read

2nd Place Award at CSChE

Oral Presentation at CSChE 2017 in Edmonton, AB Ngai To and Said presented the Open Chem-E initiative, at the 2017 CSChE conference in Edmonton, which strives to improve student learning through computational methods. Their oral presentation received second place and inspired other professors to follow this initiative.

01 October 2017

1 min read

1st Place Award for Chem-E-Quiz in Barcelona

10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering Thanos, Siang, Kyle, Mani, Ray and Ngai To competed in the Chem-E-Car competition for the 10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Barcelona.

03 May 2017

1 min read

Printing the Future of Therapeutics in 3D, International Research Roundtable.

Printing life’s building blocks. The University of British Columbia and the award-winning bioprinting company Aspect Biosystems successfully co-organized the first “Printing the Future of Therapeutics in 3D” International Research Roundtable.

24 April 2017

1 min read

First Junior Team Taking On AIChE Regionals!

Taking Off The Training Wheels After learning everything they could from their mentors, the junior team accompanyed the senior team to Oregon State University for the 2017 AIChE Regional Chem-E-Car competition. The rookies did very well for their first race and received silver for their poster, falling short to only the senior UBC team.

17 March 2017

3 mins read

Dancing Into an Admin Position

Background Hi! My name is Caitlin, I’m one of the mechanical leads for the junior Chem-E Car (CEC) team. I’m also the president of UBC Dance Horizons, part of a dance team, and helping to plan a case competition for the Oil and Gas initiative, on top of taking 7 courses. A question I get a lot is “How are you not dying?”. So here is my take on how...

28 February 2017

4 mins read

Powering The Future (Or just the Chem-E-Car)

Chem-E-Car’s New Fuel Cell Division While the chemical team is building clocks and electrical team is making a new stopping mechanism, the fuel cell team is here to ensure that the car has the power to move! This year, UBC Chem-E-Car’s Junior Battery team has expanded to incorporate a new fuel cell division. Several universities have had overwhelming success using fuel cells in their cars, and we’re hoping to cash...

12 February 2017

3 mins read

Do You Even Budget?

Backstory Last summer, we received an interesting e-mail from the UofT Chem-E-Car team. They’ve just officially launched as a design team and wanted to know more about our team’s financial structure. Here’s what we shared with them.

11 February 2017

2 mins read

Chem-E-Car Electrical System

Introduction In the “Chem-E-Car Reaction Mechanism” article, Jayg and Josh talk about the iodine clock reaction and how a light-dependent resistor (LDR) is part of the stopping mechanism. The LDR changes electrical resistance depending on how much light is hitting it; as light intensity increases, resistance drops, and vice versa. Theoretically, if we shone light on an LDR in an iodine solution as its colour went dark, light intensity as...

05 February 2017

4 mins read

What's Brewing* in The Lab?

Introduction As you may have read in part one, our team is working on an app to automate the brewing of craft beer. To understand the homebrewing process we made a batch of Pacific ESB, an ale that is light with a crisp bitter aftertaste. We made a few mistakes throughout the process (BURNT GRAINS) but learned from those mistakes to make the second batch better.

31 January 2017

2 mins read

2016 - A Year in Review

Reflections 2016 has been a very exciting year for the Chem-E-Car team. We have presented our work in more than 7 conferences, with topics ranging from the clean energy industry (Generate 2016) to chemical engineering innovation (CHBE Engineering Research Day). From these events, we have won 5 different awards. Notably, we placed 1st among 41 teams from all over the world for our poster presentation at the American Institute of...

27 January 2017

3 mins read

Chem-E-Car Reaction Mechanism

Introduction The Iodine Clock reaction is the official stopping mechanism for the 2016-2017 Junior Chem-E-Car design team. The reaction involves a color change with an Iodine indicator to signal the stopping mechanism, via a light dependent resistor. Through calibration, the reaction time can be determined by the ratio of Potassium Iodide and Sodium Thiosulfate. The correlation between time and ratio is linear; therefore, the Iodine Clock is a simple and...

19 January 2017

2 mins read

Biofuels Project

Prologue Casually during our regular weekday meeting, Siang and Thanos discussed the idea of having two teams from Chem-E-Car present posters at the annual Generate conference hosted by Clean Energy BC. We decided to be that second team. With less than a month away, we had to choose a topic, become experts in that topic and design a poster in hopes of winning the competition and $500 prize money. What...

12 January 2017

5 mins read

Beer Homebrew Project

Introduction With the Student AIChE/CACHE National Mobile Device APP Competition around the corner, our team has been working hard in exploring different ideas to showcase our creativity in a practical design. As part of our lab course field trips, many of us have visited local breweries to gain a general overview of how the general brewing process works. Keeping this in mind, we decided to try something that none of...

01 January 2017

3 mins read

Solder Fan System

Recently, I’ve been playing around with old computer power supplies. Naturally, that led me to other components of the computer, namely, the cooling fan. These fans are driven by a brushless DC motor system. This is to achieve a reduced sound and higher efficiency compared to a brushed DC motor system such as those you would see (or hear) in printers, air conditioners and RC cars.

24 December 2016

9 mins read

How To Create Dynamic Org Charts With Google Sheets and Javascript

Introduction The Google Chart library provides a convenient way of visualizing datasets using Javascript and embedding them in websites.

27 November 2016

1 min read

The Start of the Algae Project in Generate 2016

Kicking off the Algae Project The annual Clean Energy BC Generate Conference provides students an opportunity to present research projects on clean energy and gain public speaking experience. The junior team - Abhi, Shams, Victor and Said presented their research on algal biofuels. Their project examined the commercial viability of biofuels in comparison with fossil fuels and other renewable sources and investigated novel methods for algae production. This is the...

24 November 2016

3 mins read

The Importance of Trial and Error

Introduction Welcome everyone to the first of (hopefully) many blog posts for the UBC Chem-E-Car Team. The purpose of these posts is to give you, the reader insight into how our organization is run. Through this we hope to generate interest in our organization and to help get other students involved.