06 November 2014

Awards triumph for cyanide production technology

IChemE Awards

New technology which enables the on-site production of cyanide used in the mining industries was the overall winner at this year’s Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards 2014.

Cyanide, and the process of cyanidation, is the most efficient method for extracting gold and silver from low grade ore. However, it is highly toxic and its manufacture, transport and handling pose major safety and environmental challenges.

Australia-based Synergen Met Pty Ltd, in collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ), beat over 60 other entries to the Overall Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering in 2014 for their process plant that manufactures cyanide on location at the mine site1.

The development reduces costs by up to 50 per cent and avoids the need to transport, store and handle large volumes of hazardous solid and liquid sodium cyanide.

In addition to collecting the top prize, the Synergen Met and UQ entry, called "Modular On-site Cyanide Production Unit", was also presented with the Core Chemical Engineering Award.

Other organisations to succeed at the IChemE Global Awards 2014 included: BP (Bioprocessing Award); Sellafield Ltd, National Nuclear Laboratory and De Dietrich Process Systems Ltd (Nuclear Creativity Award); Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies (Sustainable Technology Award); United Utilities and KMI Plus (Water Management and Supply Award); Huntsman Pigments (Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award); Global Water Engineering (Energy Award); BP Exploration Company (Education and Training Award); PolyPhotonix Ltd and The Centre for Process Innovation − CPI (Innovative Product of the Year Award); Redeemer's University (The Dhirubhai Ambani Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Innovation for Resource-Poor People), BP Australia, WorleyParsons, MNS (Telstra) Team and Sage Automation (Process Safety Award).

Individual winners included Costain duo Adrian Finn (Innovator of the Year Award) and Ijeoma Ifedi (Young Chemical Engineer of the Year in Industry Award), and University College London’s Paul Shearing (Young Chemical Engineer of the Year in Academia Award).

Christopher Dunks, managing director at Synergen Met Pty Ltd, said: "This award validates the importance of our site based cyanide production unit and the paradigm shift it generates for the supply of cyanide to the global mining community.

"It also validates the important impact it will have on communities affected by mines and the impact of removing cyanide from transport networks.”

"IChemE president, Professor Geoff Maitland, said: "Few professions have the power globally to shape and improve the future. Chemical engineers have this privilege and this year's IChemE Global Awards illustrate how our profession is setting new standards in healthcare, energy, water, safety and a more sustainable planet, including supporting some of the poorest people in the world.

“The IChemE Global Awards − with the generous support of our sponsors − represent the hard work, inventiveness and achievements of thousands of chemical engineers across the world, and we are proud to host them on behalf of the profession.

"Congratulations to all of the shortlisted entries for this year’s IChemE Awards, and especially the winners, who have shown that chemical engineering really does matter."

The Awards – which celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical and process industries – were hosted by BBC News’ Kate Silverton and held in association with Saudi Aramco at Cheltenham Racecourse on 6 November 2014.

OFFICIAL LIST OF IChemE GLOBAL AWARD WINNERS AND HIGHLY COMMENDED ENTRIES – 2014

Education and Training Award sponsored by Costain

Winner

  • ‘PowerPoint laid to rest by Jenga’: BP Exploration Company – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Embedding sustainability into chemical engineering degrees’: James Cook University – Australia.
  • 'Helping young people into engineering': PM Group – UK.

Young Chemical Engineer in Industry Award sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline

Winner

  • Ijeoma Ifedi, senior process engineer, Costain – UK.

Young Chemical Engineer in Academia Award sponsored by Bouygues Energies & Services

Winner

  • Paul Shearing, senior lecturer in chemical engineering, UCL Chemical Engineering – UK.

Innovator of the Year Award sponsored by NES Global Talent

Winner 

  • Adrian Finn, FES technology and business development manager, Costain – UK.

Bioprocessing Award sponsored by Newcastle University, UK

Winner

  • ‘BP Hummingbird (bio)ethanol to ethylene process’: BP – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Wairakei Bioreactor’: Beca Ltd and Contact Energy Ltd – New Zealand.
  • ‘MCC: a step into the future’: FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies – UK.

Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award sponsored by Sellafield Ltd

Winner

  • ‘Improved ore yield in pigment manufacture’: Huntsman Pigments, Greatham – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Nitrogen for enhanced gas recovery’: Air Products Plc; Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV (NAM) – UK/The Netherlands. 
  • ‘MCC: a step into the future’: FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies – UK. 
  • ‘BP Hummingbird (bio)ethanol to ethylene process’: BP – UK.

Energy Award sponsored by PM Group

Winner

  • ‘GWE chok chai starch raptor’: Global Water Engineering – Hong Kong, China.

Highly commended

  • ‘Greener fuel’: London South Bank University – UK.

Nuclear Creativity Award sponsored by Rolls-Royce

Winner

  • ‘Dust scrubber rebuild safeguards environmental protection‘: Sellafield Ltd; National Nuclear Laboratory; De Dietrich Process Systems Ltd – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Thermal imaging for radioactive material characterisation’: National Nuclear Laboratory; Sellafield Ltd – UK.

Sustainable Technology Award sponsored by ABB Consulting

Winner 

  • ‘Biodiesel from waste oils’: Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Sustainable and efficient rare earth separation’: Xiamen Institute of Rare Earth Materials – China. 
  • ‘Integrated distributed energy application software (IDEAS)’: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia – Malaysia.

Water Management and Supply Award sponsored by Genesis Oil and Gas

Winner

  • ‘Innovative modular steel rapid gravity filters’: United Utilities; KMI Plus – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Clay-papaya combo adsorbent for water treatment’: Redeemer's University – Nigeria.

Core Chemical Engineering Award sponsored by Simon Carves Engineering

Winner

  • ‘Modular on-site cyanide production unit’: Synergen Met Pty Ltd; University of Queensland – Australia.

Highly commended

  • ‘Decision support for sustainable process design’: BASF SE; Fraunhofer-Institut für Techno- und Wirtschaftsmathematik Kaiserslautern (ITWM); Laboratory of Engineering Thermodynamics, University of Kaiserslautern.
  • ‘Improved ore yield in pigment manufacture’: Huntsman Pigments, Greatham – UK.

Process Safety Award sponsored by Shell

Winner

  • ‘No to overflow’: BP Australia; WorleyParsons; MNS (Telstra) Team, Denver; Sage Automation – Australia.

Highly commended

  • ‘Bringing new life to process safety’: E.ON Global Unit Generation; CGE Risk Management Solutions B.V. – UK/The Netherlands. 
  • ‘Process safety continuous improvement’: Cristal Pigment UK Ltd – UK.

Innovative Product of the Year Award sponsored by AstraZeneca

Winner

  • ‘Noctura 400® Sleep Mask’: PolyPhotonix Ltd; The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – UK.

Highly commended

  • ‘Perfume microcapsules in detergents’: University of Birmingham; Procter & Gamble – UK/Belgium. 
  • ‘Single-use final filling of drug products’: FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies – UK.

The Dhirubhai Ambani Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Innovation for the Resource-Poor People sponsored by Reliance Industries

Winner and the recipient of $10,000

  • ‘Clay-papaya combo adsorbent for water treatment’: Redeemer's University – Nigeria.

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering

Winner

  • ‘Modular on-site cyanide production unit’: Synergen Met Pty Ltd; University of Queensland – Australia. 

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