Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bioland, a Lebanese agriculture company, in the presence of NDU President, Fr. Bechara Khoury, and Mr. Gilbert Khoury, President of Bioland, with an aim to promote mutual aid and collaborations between both institutions.
The terms of the MoU will allow Bioland to supply its resources and facilities to NDU’s chemical engineering (CHE) students, including access to the company’s farms in Majidiye, Lassa, Hbeline, and Sghar. Moreover, CHE students will be able to receive funding for specific research projects; with the support of Dr. Feghali, who is leading/supporting on the optimal design of the distillation plant of Sghar and the qualitative/quantitative chemical characterization of essential oils and hydrosols products for larger production, that is partially funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Conversely, Bioland will receive key support and contributions from NDU. CHE students are in line to start upscaling and optimizing Bioland’s distillation process, in addition to providing industrial consultancy regarding novel distillation techniques, essential oil and hydrosol extraction and processing, and their subsequent analyses.
Since the MoU’s signing, CHE students have attended a webinar hosted by Bioland showcasing the company’s history, various lands, and its present focus on aromatic herb plantations and their essential oil extraction. The webinar was followed by a field trip a few days later to Bioland’s premises, with 40 CHE students in attendance. The on-site experience allowed the students to witness the distillation processes first-hand, as well as discuss their roles in carrying out their projects and personal contributions to the company.
Future projects on the horizon include designing and enhancing Bioland’s farm in Sghar, with the involvement and consultancy of CHE students! The students are also set to update the company’s product portfolio and diversify its market. Other students still are looking forward to internships at Bioland this summer 2022, helping to implement the reviewed processes and product designs.