CHBE Alumnus Kevin Kung Revolutionizes Air Quality with Eco-Friendly Solution

photo of trees on a mountain with a cloudy sky
Photo by Paul Summers on Unsplash

Vancouver native Kevin Kung, an alumnus from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UBC, is leading a global mission to improve air quality. Through his company, Takachar, Kung has developed a portable system that converts crop and forest residues into higher-value bioproducts, providing an eco-friendly alternative to open-air burning. For his innovative work, he received the Mitacs Environmental Entrepreneur Award, including $5,000 in recognition of his efforts to impact Canadians’ lives positively.

Takachar’s breakthrough came when they realized they could avoid logistical challenges by taking the technology directly to the forests and fields using their novel system. The mobile converter, attachable to tractors or pickup trucks, enables the production of biofuels, fertilizers, and specialty chemicals on-site from the collected residues. The startup is collaborating with UBC and several First Nations communities in B.C. to test multiple prototypes, aiming to benefit rural communities and boost their livelihood through the emerging bio-economy.

Mitacs’ support has been instrumental in Takachar’s growth, facilitating collaboration with leading-edge universities like UBC and exploring market potential beyond Canada. According to Mitacs CEO John Hepburn, entrepreneurs like Kung are crucial to fostering an innovative economy in Canada, driving research from ideation to commercialization and pushing boundaries to create positive change.

Read more about Kevin’s project. Read about Kevin’s invention that won nearly $2M prize in 2021.