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Two UWA scientists awarded for clean energy production research

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A University of Western Australia (UWA) School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics researcher, Professor Eric May, has been awarded WA Scientist of the Year at the 2021 Premier’s Science Awards for his work on cleaner, sustainable energy production. 

May is an internationally recognised leader in the areas of fluid science, thermodynamics, metrology and natural gas engineering. He understands gas and liquid behaviour and has developed a measurement technology to help reduce liquefied natural gas production costs and environmental impacts. 

His research has also been applied to produce real-world outcomes, such as decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines and optimising air conditioning cycles based on new, environmentally friendly refrigerants. 

May is also the Chevron chair in Gas Processing Engineering and an Australian Research Council fellow, who leads the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre. He described the award as a “great recognition” for his team. 

“Awards like WA Scientist of the Year are important because they inspire young people at the beginning of their careers to pathways that will help them reach their full potential,” May said. 

“Getting that new talent into the pipeline builds on the work we are doing and will help us reach the targets we’re aiming for.” 

Also recognised at the awards was the Australian Centre for LNG Futures Forrest and Fulbright postdoctoral fellow, Dr Arman Siavashi. He was awarded the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year. 

Siahvashi’s goal as a chemical engineer is developing technologies to reduce costs and eliminate safety hazards associated with clean energy production such as liquid hydrogen. This work has led to collaborations with NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory on liquid hydrogen as a rocket fuel. 

UWA’s vice-chancellor Professor Amit Chakma praised the researchers’ contributions. 

“The new knowledge created by UWA’s award winning scientists has led to solutions to the many global challenges faced by humanity, expanding our understanding of ourselves and the world around us,” Chakma said. 

“UWA’s winning scientists, and indeed all those nominated in the Premier’s Science Awards, have contributed to major scientific advancements, and we hope their work will continue to inspire the next generation of researchers.” 

The awards are a Western Australian government initiative, established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of WA’s science and innovation community. 

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