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After Eight Years of Planning, the “Olympics of Filtration” is Within Sight! – A Message from Rahul Bharadwaj, Chair of the Board

Rahul BharadwajAs the new year dawns upon us at AFS, the biggest thing on our minds is the 13th World Filtration Congress (WFC 13), which is only a few months away. It feels dreamlike, as preparations for this event actually started eight years ago right after the 11th WFC in Graz, Austria, in 2012. It had just been announced that WFC 12 would be held in Taipei, Taiwan in 2016, and shortly thereafter the AFS formed a committee to explore a proposal to host WFC 13 in 2020. It’s hard to believe that this event, planning for which started eight years ago, is almost upon us.

The last time WFC was hosted by AFS in the U.S. was in 2004 in New Orleans. Once a country hosts the WFC, it must wait at least 16 years before hosting it again. And while the AFS was eligible to host WFC again in 2020, eligibility alone is not enough to receive hosting honors – after all, the WFC is known as the Olympics of Filtration! There is a bidding war during every WFC,  in which International Delegation on Filtration (INDEFI) organizations from its 12 member countries (Austria, Australia, China, Chinese Taiwan, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Nordics, UK and U.S.) present their proposals to host the next WFC. Following the presentations, INDEFI members hold a vote, with every country getting one vote. INDEFI members are usually representatives from filtration societies from their countries.

Proposals must be quite detailed, and for four years, the core AFS team worked very hard on our proposal. In addition to myself, our team included Chris Wallace, Christine Sun, Klaas De Waal, Lyn Sholl, Wallace Leung, Wu Chen, Rob Bender, Mark Willingham (AFS Treasurer), Todd Furbee and Wenping Li.  We presented at WFC 12 during the INDEFI meeting, along with strong proposals from other countries. I’m remembering with great fondness the moment when it was announced that the American Filtration and Separations Society, representing the United States, would be hosting WFC 13 in San Diego, CA in April 2020. The team was delighted and excited, and it’s not an overstatement to say that every conversation we had with each other after the announcement was about one aspect or another of WFC 13 planning.

WFC CommitteeThe AFS WFC proposal team at WFC 12, just after receiving the announcement that we had been selected to host WFC 13: Chris Wallace, Rahul Bharadwaj, Christine Sun, Klaas De Waal, Lyn Sholl, Wallace Leung, Wu Chen and Wenping Li.

Since then we have met face to face and on conference calls, spent hours forming multiple committees, planned sessions, reviewed abstracts, communicated endlessly and built a five-day event that will attract thousands of filtration professionals from all over the world for our industry’s most important gathering. It has been a long journey, and it surely has been a rewarding one. I want to thank the WFC Programs Chair Prof. Wallace Leung, our operations chair Dr. Christine Sun, the conference committee, WFC scientific committee, AFS Executive committee, AFS Executive Director Lyn Sholl and the entire Oak Ridge team, and last but not the least our dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard and helped us every step of the way.

I cannot wait to see the fruition of so much work, and I genuinely hope to see all my colleagues from our industry there. You can learn more at www.wfc13.com.

A very Happy New Year to the entire filtration and separations industry!

Dr. Rahul Bharadwaj, Chair of American Filtration and Separations Society (AFS), has more than 13 years of experience in research and development in filter media and filter design. He has been actively involved with AFS since 2006. He currently works for Lydall Performance Materials as Senior Applications Engineering Manager. Prior to this he worked at AAF Flanders (American Air Filter) in their Global R&D as Product Development Manager, leading a product development team of engineers and technicians developing new products and technologies.

Dr. Bharadwaj has been a member of the AFS Scientific Committee and the Editorial Advisory Board of International Filtration News. He is on the 13th World Filtration Congress (WFC) Steering Committee and Scientific Committee. He is also involved with several technical standards and research committees at ASHRAE, SAE and ISO. He has over 15 publications and proceedings in the field of filtration. He won the AFS Senior Scientist Award for 2018.

Dr. Bharadwaj received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron (Ohio, USA), an MBA from the Institute of Technology and Management (New Delhi, India), and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University (Belgaum Karnataka, India).

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