Tackling big chemical engineering projects #ichemeawards

14th December 2016

We are now midway through our round up of this year's IChemE Global Awards 2016 winners. Produced in association with Morgan Sindall, we have got a special interview video for every single winner.

So far we have seen some life-changing products that will make a difference all over the world, as well as chemical engineering projects designed to benefit resource-poor communities in developing countries.

Today we go to the big projects in chemical engineering that require strategy, innovation and teamwork. These winners are demonstrating great chemical engineering in its purest form. All of the projects below have demonstrated a key chemical engineering skill, systems thinking, and a drive for achieving the best results.

Take a look at their work below and don't forget to leave a comment.

Johnson Matthey re-design steam processing and scoop the top prize

Johnson Matthey walked away with two trophies on the night, one of which was IChemE's 'Outstanding Achievement' Award - presented to the best entry of all our winners.

They have made the energy intensive process of steam reforming more efficient, thanks to over 20 years of research. The result is a scaled-up a gas heated reformer to use in a world-scale methanol flowsheet.

The process now has the potential to be much more environmentally efficient, because the gas heated reformer can incorporate renewable electricity into a methanol flowsheet. This has dramatically reduced the amount of natural gas used, capital costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

So how did it feel to win an Award after 20 years of work? Johnson Matthey's Mark Linthwaite says:

"The technology has been developed over a long, long time. This Award shows people have acknowledged the complexity of the challenges, and that what we've achieved is special."

Watch their reaction to a double-win below:


Find out more about the project from Senior Process Engineer Alan Ingham, here.

Alex Kelly breaks records at BP

Alex Kelly has an impressive resume, with a string of awards already under his belt. His IChemE accolade was down to a 50/50 vote between our esteemed judges and our Chartered Members and Fellows.

Alex is a chemical engineer at BP, and even at the oil and gas giant he has made his mark. Currently he looks at the modelling, design and deployment of their petrochemicals plants. Through his management of assets, he achieved a record production rate, and 10 year low feedstock and utility usage.

But he's not one to boast. On winning the Award he said:

"It's really quite special, in terms of that recognition from peers."

Watch his interview in the clip below:

Find out more about Alex and his early career here.

Sellafield saves the taxpayer £1.5 billion

Those working in the nuclear industry will be familiar with Sellafield's Magnox facility. Legacy waste from the 1950's and 1960's makes the retrievable, conditioning and disposal process complex and costly.

Working with the National Nuclear Laboratory, the team have designed a process that incorporates a better understanding of waste behaviour, resulting in a reduced timescale and a complete rethink of the UK's nuclear waste strategy.

So, does chemical engineering matter? John Bradshaw says definitely:

"We've accelerated risk reduction by at least four years and we're saving to the tune of £1-1.5 billion to the tax payer. So yes, it really really does matter."

Watch them give a little more detail in their interview below:

Find out more about the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo project here.

Centrica, Amec Foster Wheeler, Seajacks and Emerson combine skills to supply gas to UK homes

The huge team from Centrica, Amec Foster Wheeler, Seajacks and Emerson burst on to the stage to collect their Award last month. They came to the interview enthusiastic and with a great sense of teamwork which gave a clear insight into why they won Team of the Year.

The Centrica North Morecambe platform is unmanned and located in the East Irish Sea. It was up to this team to design and install a 70 tonne walkway, to increase the supply of gas to UK customers.

Using a collaborative approach, a single information management system, and with safety at the forefront, the project was delivered on time and within budget. The platform now provides enough gas to sustain 100,000 UK homes.

There is no doubt the oil and gas sector has hit hard times in recent years, but the positivity in this team is incredible. Centrica's Ronak Patel says:

"It goes to show that even in the low price commodity environment, we can still deliver good projects in oil and gas."

It most certainly does. Watch them celebrate their win below:

Find out how everyone on the DPPA eductor and metering project team made a difference here.

Join us tomorrow as we showcase sustainability projects from our amazing Award winners.

Thinking about attending, sponsoring, or entering the IChemE Global Awards 2017? Register your interest here and we'll keep you posted with all the latest news and developments.