In this blog series, which is part of our recently launched Sustainability Hub, we’re speaking to chemical engineers across the world making a difference to make sustainable practices and products a reality and more accessible to all for the wider benefit of our society and globe.
To mark Earth Day today (22 April 2022) in this blog, Dr Mauro Luberti explains the two different gas separation processes he’s using and explains the specialised laboratory equipment he’s developed to predict separation performance of adsorption processes. He’s also looking at ways to capture carbon dioxide more efficiently from power and hydrogen plants, and the importance of decarbonising these industrial sectors.
Chemical engineering is everywhere. Research plays an integral part in the development of solutions to help society.
IChemE’s recently formed Research and Innovation Community of Practice (R&I CoP) aims to identify and promote key areas of research and innovation in chemical engineering, as well as champion chemical engineering research through input into policy work and via materials that demonstrate the importance of chemical engineering research to everyday life.
But are there preconceived ideas about chemical engineering research? And how do the researchers themselves define their work, activities and contributions to society?
These are ideas that Owen Jones-Salkey from the R&I CoP’s Challenging Perceptions of Chemical Engineering Research Working Group wanted to dig deeper into. In this blog, he explains more on a survey conducted on this, the key findings and what’s next.
As green leaves appearing on trees signal the start of spring in the UK, it’s also the time for a new role for IChemE member Chris Dodds; bringing a fresh perspective to the future of chemical engineering education and research.
“This technology is about storing energy in the form of heat, which is important because over 50% of global energy is used as heat, which emits carbon dioxide. So, this [process] helps to turn a renewable into heat.”
Congratulations to the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage, University of Birmingham and Jinhe Energy. They took home the Energy, Research Project and Outstanding Achievement Awards at the IChemE Global Awards 2019 for their project, ‘The NexGen-TEST Project’.
An Imperial College London PhD student turned co-founder of sustainable solutions company Chrysalix Technologies, chemical engineer Florence Gschwend is passionate about creating a clean future for all.
It’s her company’s initiative the BioFlex Process – a process that turns thousands of tonnes of unused biomass material, including agricultural residues, energy crops and waste construction wood, into new raw material – that won her the Young Researcher Award at the IChemE Global Awards 2019.
To mark World Environment Day today (5 June), we’re sharing Florence’s story. In this video Florence explains more about how she and her colleagues are scaling up this sustainable technology and why she was delighted to be crowned the category winner at the IChemE Global Awards.
Do you know a young researcher who is using their technical knowledge to help address important economic, environmental or social issues?
Why not nominate them for the Young Researcher Award. Nominations are open now. The deadline for entries has been extended until 10 July 2020.
Perseverance paid off for the Clean Energy Processes Lab at Imperial College. After 10 years of challenging research to find a renewable energy solution through solar power, using a combination of both heat and electricity, they did it.
And for this successful project, the team won the Research Project Award at the IChemE Global Awards 2018.
They developed a novel integrated PV and solar-thermal (PVT) hybrid panel technology, that harnesses both heat and electricity to provide a form of renewable energy.
Christos Markides explains more on the project and how he feels to be an IChemE Global Award winner, in this video:
If you have a research project that you’d like to enter for the IChemE Global Awards 2019 visit: www.icheme.org/awards
Earlier this week representatives from IChemE attended the UK’s annual Parliamentary Links Day (#LinksDay19), bringing together scientists, engineers and policymakers to discuss the future of science, at the Palace of Westminster.
Three researchers at the University of Birmingham are battling it out to be crowned the winner of the university’s Philanthropic Research Project 2018.
The university has announced the finalists of its research project competition – selecting three that have the potential to change lives. Birmingham has committed to fundraising for the chosen winner over the next year, helping to drive their research forward to potential commercialisation opportunities – ultimately providing benefit to more people.
One of the finalists is Dr Sophie Cox from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her project, Engineering new medical systems to fight antimicrobial resistance, is focused on combating antibiotic resistance, which is predicted to kill more people than cancer in a few years’ time.
Read on to find out more about her project, and how you can help her chances of winning the competition.
Science and engineering research is key to innovation as society evolves. Breakthroughs are happening every day, all over the world, in laboratories and in field research.
Assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, evaluating its impact to ensure world-class, dynamic and responsive studies are maintained, and providing accountability for public investment is a big job – and one carried out by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
It’s Friday, and the final stage of our IChemE Global Awards winners round-up. We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week, and learnt a little more about each of our winners.
Today we are shining a light on the research superstars of the Awards. IChemE has always maintained strong ties with the academic community, supporting the host of ChemEngDayUK each year and accrediting courses. We also do proactive work with our UK Research Committee, who last night launched ten chemical engineering research case studies that have had a significant impact on the UK economy. Read all about the research event, held in Parliament, here.
So, on to the winners and the final three IChemE Global Awards videos, produced in association with Morgan Sindall. All these winners have demonstrated fantastic research capability, but most importantly their studies have a real-world application that can really make a difference.
Enjoy these final three videos, and season’s greetings to all our members worldwide.
Recently we announced the finalists for the IChemE Global Awards 2016. The ceremony takes place on 3 November in Manchester, UK – and we can’t quite believe how quickly Awards season has come round again!
Each year our Awards judges have the tough task of narrowing down the hundreds of excellent entries to a select group of exceptional finalists for each category. We have seen some fantastic projects over the years, and 2015 was really special. 16 well-deserved winners were handed trophies at the Global Awards evening, which took place on 5 November 2015 in Birmingham, UK.
Read on to find out what some of our 2015 finalists have been up to since the ceremony, and re-cap some of the best moments of the night.
1. Ohio State University congratulated by President Obama
Bharat Bhushan and Philip Brown from Ohio State University, US were awarded the Water Management and Supply Award in 2015. To win the award they developed a special mesh which uses a unique coating and tiny holes to separate oil from water. The ground-breaking work, designed to help clean up oil spills, was even noticed by the President of US, Barack Obama, who sent the researchers a congratulatory note.
This week’s heatwave has reminded us all in the UK that summer is finally here, and for many students this means one thing – final projects have been handed in, last exams have been sat, and the ceremonial end to University is in sight – graduation.
If you are a final year chemical engineering student you may have already had your graduation, if not it’s just around the corner. This is a time to celebrate all your hard work and thank those who have helped you make it this far.
It may be the end of an era, but don’t panic about what comes next. You are about to begin your journey to become a professional chemical engineer.
But where to start? Here’s our ten top things to do after graduation:
ChemEngDay UK, the UK’s annual chemical engineering conference for the research community, came to a successful close last week. Hosted this year by the University of Bath, it welcomed over 250 delegates to Bath from across the UK and beyond.
ChemEngDay UK was begun to facilitate networking between chemical engineers across UK universities. Attended predominantly by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and academics, together with delegates from industry, it is the only chemical engineering conference in the UK for the academic community.
IChemE’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an essential way for our members to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives, which are of significance to their sector.
Today is World Water Day, and our Water SIG is a hugely important part of providing expert advice and consultation to the innovations that could change our world. Water is essential to life, it must be sustainable or we cannot survive. Chemical engineers are an important part of making sure water provision is sufficient, clean, economical, and environmentally-friendly.
Chris Short, Chair of the IChemE Water SIG, explores in more detail the current challenges for the water sector in today’s blog post. Read on to hear his thoughts, and feel free to join the conversation on Twitter using #WorldWaterDay or by leaving a comment below:
Name: Chris Short Job: Consultant and Chartered Chemical Engineer Company: Chris Short Water Quality (previously Yorkshire Water) Special Interest Group: Water, Chairman
Today is World Water Day, and I’ll be attending a conference in Leeds, UK, on Innovations in Wastewater Treatment. The focus will be on the recovery of value from wastewater and I expect to hear how leading-edge technologies are performing and what new processes are being evaluated by researchers.
Two weeks ago, on 22 February 2016, IChemE invited chemical engineers to Stand Up and Speak Out for Chemical Engineering. Over 60 chemical engineers crowded in the basement room of The Albany pub on Great Portland Street, London, to discuss advocacy for the profession, how to get chemical engineering stories in the media, and discuss the challenges and opportunities that face us when doing so.
The event welcomed a plethora of talent to its expert panel – and saw Jonathan Webb, BBC, Jason Palmer, The Economist, Colin Smith, Imperial College London, Ellie Chambers, British Science Association and Yasmin Ali, E-ON. As well as giving a traditional panel discussion, answering questions from the floor, the experts also got on their soapboxes (literally) and were given four minutes to give their own experiences of engineering and the media.
The evening ended with attendees pledging to ‘Stand Up and Speak Out’. All who pledged will become involved with the IChemE Media Envoy programme, which helps members to tell their stories through the media and give expert comment on current issues.
Today, Yasmin Ali – one of the evening’s expert panelists – gives her feedback on the event, and looks forward to the next steps for chemical engineering and public engagement.
It took me four years of studying chemical engineering, then a few years of work, to realise the magnitude of our reliance on engineers. They beaver away quietly, meeting our daily living expectations and demands. Despite this, we moan and groan on the odd occasion that our train is late, if the internet connection slows down, or when the water from the washing machine in the apartment above decides to pour through the ceiling into the kitchen.
So to kick-start our new ChemEng blog, the blog elves thought it only appropriate to welcome back blog-elf-in-chief and ChemEng365 blogger, Geoff Maitland, to pick his top five blogs from the past year.
Name: Geoff Maitland Job: Professor of Energy Engineering Course: Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK Graduated: 1969 Employer: Imperial College London, UK
Last month saw my last ever ChemEng365 blog posted online. It was both a sad and happy day for me. Sad that my time as IChemE president and blogger was over, but happy that we have managed to achieve so much and reach so many people in just 365 days.
Research is an important part of chemical engineering, and chemical engineers going on to further study and completing a PhD make up part of that picture. The importance of chemical engineering research in being at the forefront of tackling many of the world’s tough challenges is also emphasised in IChemE’s technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters.
In the UK, it is encouraging to see that more graduates are going on to further study within chemical engineering (see graph) than the other engineering disciplines.
So, what is is like to go into further study and start a career in academia nowadays?
I can certainly tell you what it was like back in the 1970s when I started, but I think that it’s probably for the best that I hand the reigns over to a chemical engineer completing their PhD in the present day for today’s guest blog.
I did, however, blog about one of the short-listed entries, preventing blindness with a sleep mask, before the event and I’m happy to report that they won the Innovative Product of the Year Award on the night – so congratulations to Polyphotonix!
Another winner on the night was by Huntsman Pigments, based at their Greatham site in Hartlepool, UK, for their innovative project which improves titanium dioxide efficiency in the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigments.
They bagged the Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award sponsored by Sellafield Ltd.
When I meet with up and coming chemical engineers – and via this blog – I often get asked for advice on what career route they should take.
My guidance is always to look at all the options; do your research; talk to family and friends; gain work experience if possible; and analyse your own strengths and weaknesses. In some cases you may even seek professional careers advice.
But, importantly, the decision must be yours, especially as it may prove to be the most dominant and consistent feature of your life for 50 years or more.
However, one of the options is a career in academia and I hope you find this information useful background to any decision you make.
Relatively few chemical engineering graduates continue on into further study; for example in the UK, 33.1 per cent of chemistry graduates carry out postgraduate study compared with 16.5 per cent of chemical engineering graduates.
One of the biggest frustrations that many scientists and engineers face, both in academia and industry, is short-termism. For issues like sustainability it’s problematic.
Investors and politicians can be nervous about taking the long-term view. Business likes quick wins; figures it can report quarterly and give annual performance targets.
By contrast, the journey to sustainability is often gradual, steady and long-term. For many of us it is a continual process of improvement – a step-by-step process of finding ways to use less energy, reduce waste and generally improve.