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Australia finds success at IChemE Awards

Chemical engineers from Australia and New Zealand celebrated success at the recent Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) 2012 international awards event with blood, salt and sustainability at the heart of winning entries.

The trophy haul was Australasia’s largest in the 19-year history of the IChemE Awards.

[Pictured alongside are (l-r) Colin Murray (host), Aurecon's Brent Dingle (winner) and Richard Greenwood (from award sponsor Birmingham University)]

Queensland’s SUSOP (SUStainable OPerations) won the Sustainable Technology Award and chemical engineers from Monash University lifted the Chemical Engineering Innovation for Resource-Poor People Award.

New Zealand’s multi-disciplinary engineering services organisation, Aurecon, won the Food & Drink Award.

SUSOP’s winning entry was based upon the organisation’s new sustainability principles technique, a systematic and rigorous framework to identify and evaluate sustainability opportunities and risks.

IChemE: SUSOP  (Colin Murray (host), SUSOP representatives in the middle (Glenn Corder and Stevan Green) and Neil Blackhall (General Manager ABB Consulting – Award sponsor)

Pictured above are (l-r) Colin Murray (host); SUSOP representatives Glenn Corder and Stevan Green; and Neil Blackhall, General Manager ABB Consulting (award sponsor).

Somewhat analogous to HAZOP (Hazard and operational studies), the technique is a guiding procedural framework that enables a proper contribution to sustainability by the industrial facilities being studied, designed, built or operated.

Monash University was recognised for the development of a bio-active paper blood test that can distinguish blood-types in some of the world’s poorest countries.

IChemE: Monash University (Colin Murray – host, Monash University’s Wei Shen and IChemE CEO David Brown)[Pictured alongside (l-r) are Colin Murray (host); Monash University’s Wei Shen and IChemE CEO David Brown.]

The technology was partly inspired by the Harry Potter film series and the award winners received a US$10,000 donation to help further the successful project.

As part of Aurecon’s Dominion Salt Vacuum Plant Upgrade, employees identified, designed, engineered and project managed the installation of an innovative process to cost effectively and continuously manufacture an additional 20,000 t/y or more of pharmaceutical and food grade salt at the company’s Mount Maunganui site.

GlaxoSmithKline clinched this year’s top prize in recognition of its radical change in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.

The organisation won the Outstanding Achievement in Chemical Engineering Award alongside project partners GEA, Siemens, Sagentia and the Universities of Newcastle, Warwick and Surrey.

The winning entry, which also earned the Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award, demonstrated that tablet production can change from stepwise and time-consuming batch processing with intermediate material transfer steps and frequent testing.

The outcome was a fully integrated and closely controlled process that ensures consistency, reducing costs by 20%, the process equipment footprint by a factor of ten and the capital cost by a factor of three.

IChemE CEO David Brown says the range of award winners highlight the diversity of the profession: “Chemical engineers are working all over the world on innovative projects and finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society today – a growing demand for secure and sustainable energy, access to clean and plentiful water supplies, food and nutrition and societal health and wellbeing.

More than 500 chemical engineers and invited guests from around the world attended the event in Manchester, UK.

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