The 13th World Filtration Congress (WFC13) was held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, CA, USA, October 5 to 9, 2022. The world congress was held typically every four years rotating among member countries that belong to the International Delegation on Filtration (INDEFI). Currently, there are 9 member countries in the INDEFI membership with activities in filtration and separations. The American Filtration and Separations Society (AFS), which represents USA, has secured the right in 2016 to host the WFC13, which was originally scheduled to be held April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WFC13 was postponed twice until October 5 to 9, 2022.
WFC has 48 years of history with the first congress, WFC1, held in Paris in 1974. AFS has hosted WFC3 (1982) in Downingtown, PA, USA, chaired by the AFS founder, the late Mr. Wells Shoemaker, and WFC9 (2004) in New Orleans, LA, USA, chaired by Prof. Wallace Leung, who also chaired this present WFC, WFC13 (2022).
There were three key activities in WFC13 - technical program, exposition, and short courses. On Day 1 (October 5, 2022), there were 12 short courses, each offered for four hours covering general topics on filtration and separation, such as solid-gas filtration, solid-liquid separation, membrane separation, to specific topics, such as nanofiber filter technologies for removal of submicron and nanoaerosols and centrifugal separation for biopharmaceutical applications.
Day 2 (October 6, 2022) was the first day of the technical program presentations with four traditional tracks of solid-gas filtration, solid-liquid separation, membrane separation, and filter media, respectively. In addition, three symposia each with two-day duration were kicked off concurrently with the four traditional tracks. Unlike the traditional four tracks focusing on specific filtration/separation technologies, the three symposia were thematic, focusing on environmental, energy, and health, respectively. The environmental symposium covered Days 2 and 3, the energy symposium covered Days 3 and 4, while the health symposium covered Days 4 and 5.
Each symposium has two plenary speakers, with exception of the health symposium which has three plenary speakers. The plenary speaker for environmental symposium (liquid), Prof. Eric Hoek, covered in his lecture various innovative approaches of developing novel membrane with superior filtration characteristics for water purification. The second plenary speaker for environmental symposium (air), Prof. David Pui, covered in his lecture various innovative technologies on air filtration. The plenary speaker for energy symposium, Mr. Val Hollingsworth, gave a talk on public awareness of the energy benefits of filtration, while the other plenary speaker, Dr. Martin Lehmann, delivered a presentation on filtration for mobility applications. The plenary speaker for health symposium, Mr. Geoff Crosby, gave a general talk relating health and filtration. The second plenary speaker of the health symposium, Prof. Andrew Zydney, presented membrane technology for the production of biopharmaceuticals. The third plenary speaker, Prof. Wallace Leung, delivered a presentation on nanofiber technologies for combating airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In addition to the seven plenary talks, there were 28 keynote speeches presented for all four tracks and three symposia by experts in the field. These keynotes were interweaved in the technical program and all these seven concurrent events were color-coded for ease of reference for the audience. Of worthy to note is that there were two keynotes in the health symposium delivered respectively by a medical doctor from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a professor from University of California San Francisco (UCSF) on the artificial kidney project. These two interesting keynote presentations further highlighted the importance of filtration and separation in non-traditional filtration applications.
There were 56 technical breakout sessions presented by 240 speakers who came from 24 countries around the globe highlighting the congress truly international. At any given time, there were as many as seven concurrent sessions. Again, all four tracks and three symposia spanned for the entire period of the congress, from Day 2 to Day 5. In addition, there were 30 student posters presented on Day 2 (16 posters) and Day 3 (14 posters), respectively. Concurrently, there was also an Industry Poster with 14 posters presented on these two days. There was a competition among all the students presenting at the student posters. Independently, poster awards were given to the industry presenters at the industry poster sessions. Awards were presented to the winners of the student poster and industry poster at the gala dinner, which was held in the evening of Day 4. The gala dinner and the reception held earlier on Day 2 evening provided great opportunity to make new friends and networking.
In addition to the technical program, the exposition starting Day 2 and ending Day 4 was extremely well arranged with 100 companies exhibiting their latest technologies and solutions for filtration and separations. There were plenty of time where congress delegates not only attended the technical sessions but have ample time to walk through the exposition and discuss with the exhibitors.
WFC13 came to an end on Day 5 with an announcement of the next WFC14 which will be held in Bordeaux, France, June 30 to July 4, 2025. On behalf of the organizer, AFS, Wallace Leung thanked all the attendees, including exhibitors, speakers, moderators, track chairs, short course lecturers and participants. Following the tradition, the immediate past WFC13 Chair, Wallace Leung, passed the “WFC Book” recording all past 13 world filtration congresses since 1974 to the new Chair of the INDEFI and WFC14, Dr. PY Pontalier.
There was a total of 910 participants in the five-day WFC13, approximately split between the technical program and the exposition. The total number also includes over 60 participants taking the short courses. The WFC13, which was the largest filtration event in the world with 320 presentations, 100 companies exhibiting, and 12 short courses, was held successfully despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and two-year delay; much gratitude goes to all the people around the world who were involved. Special thanks also go to the WFC13 Secretariat, Ms. Lyn Sholl.