05 November 2015

Low impact fracking fluid on top at IChemE Global Awards

IChemE Global Awards 2015

Public concern over the environmental impact of shale gas extraction is driving innovation amongst chemical engineers searching for ways to improve the hydraulic fracturing process. A novel fracturing fluid designed to make fracking greener was named the overall winner at the Institution of Chemical Engineer’s (IChemE) Global Awards 2015 in Birmingham, UK, last night.

Researchers based at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland Washington, US, have come up with a new fluid, which significantly reduces the pumping pressures required to stimulate shale gas production. Their work was chosen by judges from a list of over 100 shortlisted entries.

The Pacific Northwest team had triumphed earlier in the evening by seeing off stiff competition from global names including PETRONAS and Costain to pick up the Oil & Gas Award. They then went on to win the night’s blue riband Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering.

It was a successful night all round for entries from the USA. Lehigh Technologies claimed the Sustainable Technology Award for their micronized powder manufactured from used industrial rubber. Ohio State University claimed the Water Management and Supply Award, and California based lubricants producer, Novvi, were presented with the Best Business Start-Up Award – a new category for 2015.

Individual winners on the night included Worley Parson’s Christopher Jansen, who was named best Young Chemical Engineer in Industry. He narrowly beat Malaysian winner Ezmal b Ab Rashid, and James Perrin from New Zealand’s Lion brewery.

Dr Ho Wai Shin was presented with the global award for best Young Chemical Engineer in Research. The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer also won in the same category at last week’s IChemE Malaysia Awards.

Stuart Campbell triumphed in the Industry Leader category. A new category, the award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and motivational skills in the chemical engineering profession. Stuart is a project director at Costain who also won the Industry Project of the Year Award.

Higher education in the UK was well represented with three out of 16 awards taken home by UK Universities. The Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research in Newcastle was presented with the Dhirubhai Ambani Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Innovation for the Resource-Poor. Their novel technology uses waste heat for drying, chilling and preserving foods.

The University of Liverpool picked up the Energy Award, for their solar power project. Cardiff University took the Innovative Product of the Year prize – a joint win with Johnson Matthey for their work with gold catalysts. And the Cork Institute of Technology, walked away with the Education and Training Award, for their project with Pfizer Ireland.

Other winners during the evening included a team from Lion’s Auckland brewery ‘The Pride’ who claimed the Food and Drink Award, for their sustainability credentials. Laurentian University in Canada took home the Research Project of the Year Award. Senscient, GexCon and Suncor Energy collected the Process Safety Award for their joint collaboration on laser-based alarm sensors.

IChemE’s president, Andrew Jamieson, extended his congratulations to the winners and he said: “IChemE is a truly international institution and tonight’s diverse range of winners from industry and academia is a compelling illustration of our commitment to recognise and advance chemical engineering worldwide."

The IChemE Global Awards, held in partnership with Aramco, celebrate and recognise excellence in chemical engineering worldwide.  This year’s awards show was hosted by BBC business journalist, Steph McGovern, at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham, UK on 5 November 2015.

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