Curtin Sarawak receives IChemE Award for Innovation and Excellence

Dr Mesfin (right) accepting the award from Sazali Hamzah, Chief Executive Officer of Petronas Chemicals Group.

Dr Mesfin (right) accepting the award from Sazali Hamzah, Chief Executive Officer of Petronas Chemicals Group.

Miri – 31 October 2014 – Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) clinched an IChemE Award for Innovation and Excellence at the second Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Malaysia Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2014 ceremony held at the Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur recently.

The IChemE Awards is part of an exclusive series of events worldwide to celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the oil, gas, water, food and pharmaceutical industries. Similar ceremonies were also held in Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Curtin Sarawak won the award under the Petrochemical Processing category for its ‘Optimal Design and Operation of Gas Processing Plant (GPP) Under Uncertain Upstream Conditions’ submission.

The research team comprises Curtin Sarawak’s Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ir. Yudi Samyudia and lecturer of chemical engineering Dr. Mesfin Getu Woldetensay. The research is also carried out in collaboration with Associate Professor Dr Shuhaimi Mahadzir from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and Professor Moonyong Lee and Dr Mohd Shariq Khan from Yeungnam University, South Korea.

Present to accept the award at the ceremony was Dr. Mesfin. The award, which was sponsored by Petronas, recognises an individual or team that best demonstrates the invention or development of a novel, cost-effective and environmentally benign petrochemical process or processes.

Curtin Sarawak’s submission helps solve gas processing plant problems, both from the design and operational aspects.

It addresses the handling of continuous variations of upstream conditions such as feed flow rate, compositions, ambient temperature and pipeline pressure that propagate throughout the downstream gas processing plant and affect its normal operations.

Furthermore, decision-making for optimal process conditions of an in-operating plant is a complex problem and can be exacerbated with changing product specifications and utility requirements.

Other notable winners in the various categories were Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Monash University Malaysia, University of Nottingham Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Malaya.

The IChemE is the global professional membership organisation for individuals with relevant experience or interest in chemical engineering. It promotes competence and a commitment to best practice, advances the discipline for the benefit of society, encourages young people in science and engineering, and supports the professional development of its members.

The IChemE Award for Innovation and Excellence follows a string of awards and achievements attained by students and academics of the School of Engineering and Science’s Department of Chemical Engineering through the years.

In 2007, four of its students won the IChemE, United Kingdom’s prestigious William McNab Medal, giving Curtin Sarawak the distinction of being the only university in Malaysia to receive the award.

The McNab Medal is presented to individuals who meet the criteria for excellence in design in the IChemE Individual Design Project established in 1935.

The award assessors from academia and industry concluded that Curtin Sarawak’s ‘Floating Gas to Liquid Technology’ submission was an excellent design project and worthy of the internationally-recognised award.

Earlier this year, the department’s Associate Professor Michael K. Danquah, who is also Associate Dean of Research and Development, was elected a Fellow of the IChemE, United Kingdom. IChemE Fellowships are awarded based on the individual’s ability to illustrate a significant contribution to the chemical engineering profession, and effectively demonstrate a combination of technical excellence and leadership of their peers.

In 2013, Associate Professor Danquah and Dr. Woldetensay were nominated by IChemE Malaysia for the IChemE Awards in the Innovator of the Year Award and Petrochemical Processing Award categories, respectively.

The Innovator of the Year Award recognises the individual who best demonstrates achievements and tangible applications of chemical, biochemical and/or process engineering skills to address important economic, environmental or social issues, while the Petrochemical Processing Award recognises the individual who best demonstrates invention or development of a novel, cost effective and environmentally friendly petrochemical process or other similar processes.

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