Chris Van Tighem – Senior Director, Natural Resources Research Strategy and Clean Innovation Office, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, Government of Alberta

Chris Van Tighem is the Senior Director responsible for Natural Resource Research Strategy and the Clean Innovation Office in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism in the Government of Alberta. Chris has over 20 years of experience with the Alberta Public Service where he has held a number of positions that have a relied on his liaison, integration and coordination skills as well as his knowledge of natural resource management. Chris has also worked in the forest industry in both Alberta and Saskatchewan and has developed resources to train teachers on how to educate children about issues related to forest and fire management. Born and raised in Alberta, Chris has both a Bachelor’s of Education and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Alberta.

Chris Tindal – Assistant Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)

Chris Tindal is the Assistant Director for the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) whose goal is to promote the development and commercialization of alternative jet fuel options that offer equivalent levels of safety and compare favorably on cost with petroleum based jet fuel, while also offering environmental improvement and security of energy supply for aviation.  He helps to manage the coalition of CAAFI stakeholders and provide leadership and strategic guidance to CAAFI’s Work Teams, Federal government interagency initiatives, State and Regional programs, airport authorities, and International initiatives consistent with CAAFI priorities.

Chris is an Adjunct Professor on the faculty of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Queensland.  In that role, Professor Tindal assists in exploring research and development opportunities for QUT, as well as investigating potential opportunities to establish commercial-scale biorefineries in the State of Queensland.

Chris received an appointment as the Strategic Biofutures Advisor to the State of Queensland.  He provides a direct in-market connection between the Queensland Government and key industry stakeholders, both globally and domestically, but particularly within North America with a view to helping cement business relationships and projects for Queensland.  The role was created to help identify and target strategic opportunities for North American-based biofutures organizations to establish operations in Queensland.

Chris is also a member of the Board of Directors for Advanced Biofuels USA, a nonprofit educational organization that advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, military flexibility, economic development and climate change mitigation/pollution control solution.  Advanced Biofuels USA encourages public understanding, acceptance, and use of advanced biofuels by promoting research, development and improvement of advanced biofuels technologies.

Chris retired as the Director for Operational Energy underneath the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Navy for Energy, where he was in charge of setting energy policy and direction for the Department of the Navy and promoting the adoption of alternative fuels and renewable energy resources.  Additionally, he developed intergovernmental, international, and industry relationships throughout the energy field.  He was the Navy leader of the pioneering U.S. Department of Agriculture/ U.S. Department of Energy/ U.S. Navy Alternative Fuels Initiative which developed programs to launch the advanced biofuels industry.  In his role, Chris successfully led the Great Green Fleet effort, in which the U.S. Navy acquired and used 77 million gallons of F-76 alternative fuel blend for their ships in the Great Green Fleet deployment in 2016.

He has had the honor to be named in the peer-selected competition for the “Top 100 People in the Bioeconomy” Awards by the Biofuels Digest from 2013 through 2017.

Chris Tindal was a Navy man for over 40 years.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and served on Active Duty on two ships in Charleston, South Carolina.  He retired as a Captain in the Navy Reserves in 2010.  Chris is a Professional Engineer and a Certified Energy Manager.  Originally from Alabama, Chris currently lives in South Carolina.

Jack Saddler – Professor, Forest Products Biotechnology/Bioenergy, University of British Columbia

John (Jack) Saddler is the endowed Professor of Forest Products Biotechnology/Bioenergy (originally an NSERC Industry Chair) and Dean Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has received other awards such as the 2016 Linneborn award from the European Bioenergy Organization, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO’s) Scientific Achievement Award, the Charles D. Scott award for contributions to the field of “Biotechnology for fuels and Chemicals”, the British Columbia Life Sciences Leadership award and the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s (CRFA’s) Green Fuels Industry Award, presented to an individual for outstanding dedication to the advancement of renewable fuels in Canada. His work is highly cited (H-index of 90, almost 30,000 citations), he has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, several books, holds several patents and is a regular reviewer/advisor for agencies such as the US Dept. of Energy, USDA, NSERC, World Bank, etc. He has aided organizations such as Vinnova in Sweden with their Vinnvaxt “cluster” program and is on the advisory board of the Finnish Luke Stakeholder Advisory Board (StAB) for the Boreal Green Bioeconomy ( He has trained/supervised more than 99 graduate students/Post Docs and Research Associates, many of whom are currently employed in senior positions in industry, government and academia. He currently leads a research group of about 15 Research Associates, Post Docs and graduate students. Outside of the research setting her has advised policy-makers at national and international levels. He is the Co-Task Leader of the Liquid Biofuels network of IEA Bioenergy and was recently on sabbatical at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris where he was based in the Renewable Energy Division. He is a member of the Markus Wallenberg Prize selection committee, the forest sectors Nobel Prize.

Lars Rehmann – Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Western University

Dr. Rehmann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario as well as a Visiting Professor at the RWTH Aachen, Germany and a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is an accomplished and heavily cited early-career researcher in the field of biochemical and environmental engineering. His research has resulted in over 60 peer-reviewed articles published in leading journals in his field, as well as three patent applications, and the foundation of a spin-off company. Since his appointment at Western (May 2009) he has attracted over $4Mio in funding and has established research facilities centered around highly automated bio-processing from the micro- scale to pilot scale; infrastructure unique in Canada. His research largely focuses on the fermentative production of platform chemicals and fuels from waste biomass, as well as recombinant protein production.

Dr. Rehmann obtained this PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2007 at Queen’s University after completing his undergraduate degree at the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany and his Masters work at Tottori University in Japan. He completed an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Manchester, UK (2007-2009) holding a Canada/UK Millennium Research Award.

He supervises an active and successful research group averaging around 10-15 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and international visitors. The lab has attracted considerable international attention, recently hosting visiting professors from Germany and Ecuador, while research students have been exchanged with leading universities in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Colombia and China. The international outlook of the team provides graduate students with excellent opportunities to conduct work abroad and ensures that the techniques and skills used in the lab are always at the forefront globally. Students who were trained in the lab now hold positions in industry, at national research centers as well as academic positions at national and international universities (University of Waterloo, MIT, Twente University).

Ian O’Hara – Principal Research Fellow, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Ian O’Hara is a Principal Research Fellow specialising in bioenergy, biofuels and biorefining at Queensland University of Technology. Ian’s research interests includes biofuels and bioenergy, biorefining and bioproducts, process engineering, scale-up and techno-economic assessment of new technologies.  In 2016, Ian was appointed by the Queensland Government as the Queensland Biofutures Industry Envoy. As the Envoy, Ian provides strategic advice to government and assists in securing domestic and international investment within the Biofutures sector.  Ian is a Director of Bioenergy Australia.

M. Anne Naeth – Professor, Land Reclamation and Restoration Ecology, University of Alberta

Dr. M. Anne Naeth is a Professor of Land Reclamation and Restoration Ecology and Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta. She is Director of the Land Reclamation International Graduate School (LRIGS), Director of the Energy Systems Signature Area, Director of Future Energy Systems Research Program, and a Vargo Distinguished Teaching Chair. She has worked in government and industry and served on the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board for 14 years. Anne has served on the executives of numerous professional organizations, editorial boards and expert advisory boards. She holds a BSc in biology; a double MSc (soil science, plant science) and PhD in land reclamation. Her research focuses on land reclamation and restoration ecology and she has supervised over 75 graduate students. Anne has received numerous awards recognizing her outstanding scholarship, teaching and community service, including the CLRA Noranda Land Reclamation Award, Mentors of the Millenium (Alberta Women’s Science Network), Award of Excellence (University of Alberta Alumni Association), Killam Professorship and Distinguished Agrologist, 17 Faculty Teacher of the Year Awards and the prestigious 3M Fellowship (top 10 teachers in Canada) and University Cup.

Christine Murray – Science, Technology and Innovation Leader

Dr. Christine Murray completed her BSc. Agriculture, from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, now the Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture, then went on to complete her Ph.D. in the Dept. of Horticulture, University of Guelph.

She is the former Director of Agricultural Technologies with Alberta Innovates and former Co-lead of the Clean Technology Development program, part of the Climate Change Innovation Technology Framework (CCITF) within Alberta Innovates.

Previously, at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Murray was the leader of the researchers, staff and the infrastructure at both the Crop Diversification Centre South, in Brooks and Bioindustrial Crop Research Branch, in Edmonton.  Research with strong industry collaboration was focused on a range of agronomy questions, best management practices for water and nutrients, crop improvement, in field and greenhouse production and on a number of crops including: barley, wheat, canola, triticale, chickpeas, lentils, potatoes, vegetables, nursery and medicinal crops.

Warren Mabee – Professor and Head, Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University

Dr. Warren Mabee (Ph.D. 2001, Toronto) is Professor and Head of the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University.  He holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation, and is cross appointed to the School of Policy Studies and the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s.  His international research programme focuses on the interface between policy and technology in the area of renewable energy and fuels, addressing issues that bridge the gap between researchers and decision-makers using tools such as life cycle assessment, geographic information systems and agent-based logistical models.  His past work experiences include stints at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

David Lynch – General Manager, Research and Development, Enerkem

At Enerkem, Mr. Lynch manages pilot integration and testing that has provided data-driven support for Enerkem’s commercial process design.  Mr. Lynch orchestrated the bench scale development of Enerkem’s methanol-to-ethanol process and has established pilot and laboratory facilities in Edmonton, AB.

Mr. Lynch is an Energy Futures Lab Fellow building on more than 20 years of industry experience, where he advanced development and scale up of various new products and manufacturing processes.

He holds a Master of Science degree in Management of Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Fairfield University.

Michael Kerr – Manager, Technology Development Advisors (South), Alberta Innovates

Michael Kerr is a Technology Development Advisor for at Alberta Innovates located in Calgary. As a Technology Development Advisor, Michael provides assistance to companies innovating with either new products or processes (from patents, prototype development, process improvement or business advice). For newer firms, support includes one-on-one expertise for both technical help and business strategy, including managing cash flow. He is able to help firms access funding support to develop their ideas.

Michael’s background includes a degree in Chemistry, Master’s in Business Administration and most recently attained his Certified Management Consulting designation. He spent several years involved in chemical processing as well as 22 years in advising innovative SMEs for the Federal and now Provincial Governments.

Michael has also been a part time instructor at 3 post-secondary institutions, teaching at the undergraduate and Master’s level in marketing, operations, entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and process control math. He has just started as a part time instructor at Mount Royal University for New Ventures Course.