I always like to hear about the achievements of chemical engineering students around the world. IChemE has a long history of recognising such achievements and its a great way of encouraging and nurturing future talent.
The Macnab Lacey Prize was created when the McNab Medal for the best student design project and the Lacey Prize for environmental thinking were merged in 2011. It is open to final-year students from all IChemE-accredited universities, rewarding the project that best contributes to a sustainable world.
I am pleased to report that a student team from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has won this year’s MacNab Lacey Prize. And they must be doing something right at Monash, because their undergraduates have grabbed the Prize two years running.
Monash University’s winning entry was a conceptual design that determines the feasibility of using black liquor (a lignin rich co-product of wood pulp produced in paper production) as a renewable feed-stock for ammonia production.
I have explored in other blog posts solar technology innovations that will transform the way we live and use energy. But I was recently reminded of some of the truly innovative and practical ways solar power can be applied after seeing a University of Queensland ‘Sustainability Week’ event that involved enjoying sustainable food cooked on a solar powered barbeque.
For a bit of fun, I thought it was worth checking-out some of the more unconventional solar powered products that have been developed over the years – some very practical and others bordering on ridiculous.
The wackiest use of solar energy I have ever seen has to be the solar power bikini (iKini). This limited-edition bikini was created by a US designer and made from hand stitched photovoltaic film strips that can power small electronic gadgets such as iPods and cameras. Just don’t forget to unplug your devices before taking a dip!