22 October 2015

Big night for the National University of Singapore at chemical engineering awards

IChemE Singapore Awards 2015 - Winners

The National University of Singapore (NUS) ran out clear winners in three categories at tonight’s Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) awards dinner in Singapore. The event forms part of IChemE's Global Awards programme, which celebrates excellence and innovation in chemical engineering.

IChemE’s deputy chief executive, Justin Blades, was on hand to host the evening and announce the winner of the Research Project of the Year award from a shortlist of nine. A team from NUS received the trophy for their work: Carbon capture using innovative adsorbents. The project also went on to win in the Sustainable Technology category later in the evening.

Dr Han Gang from NUS was named best Young Chemical Engineer in Research. After narrowly missing out on the award in 2014, his latest work on cleaner water and energy production has generated considerable excitement among the membrane science community. This impressed the judges who scored Dr Gang highest from a shortlist of five.

Singapore Polytechnic was the clear winner in the Education and Training category with their entry: Innovative Teaching of Chemical Process Safety. The trophy was presented by the former chairman of IChemE’s Singapore Board, Steve Puckett.

Glaxo Wellcome Manufacturing took the Process Safety award, sponsored by ABB Consulting, for their first venture into continuous manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. The project delivers a significant reduction in the number of process steps and improved safety performance. The Singapore based operation, is part of the multinational pharmaceutical company GSK.

IChemE’s Singapore board chair Joe Eades, expressed his satisfaction at the quality of the entries. He said, “Singapore is home to nearly 600 IChemE member and we are proud of their success stories in industry and academia. Our awards dinner provides a platform to recognise and celebrate these achievements, clearly demonstrating that chemical engineering matters in Singapore.”

Eades presented two other accolades during the dinner. Professor Neal Tai-Shung Chung received IChemE's new Underwood medal; and Modec’s technical safety engineer, Ahmad Firman Masudi, was presented with a certificate confirming his new status as IChemE's first Associate Member (Process Safety) in Singapore.

The IChemE Singapore Awards 2015 were held at the Shangri-La Hotel on 22 October 2015.

All of the national IChemE Singapore Awards 2015 winners will automatically be shortlisted for the IChemE Global Awards, which take place in Birmingham, UK on 5 November.

Official winners of the IChemE Singapore Awards 2015
Research Project of the Year Award (Singapore) sponsored by Johnson Matthey

Winner: ‘Carbon capture using innovative adsorbents’, National University of Singapore
Highly commended: ‘Clean water and renewable energy production’, National University of Singapore

Summary of winning entry: CO2 is one of the major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that contributes to global warming and anthropogenic climate change. In recent years, worldwide effort has been made to reduce its emissions. Among various technologies, CO2 capture, storage and utilization (CSU) has been given the most attention, in which solid CO2 sorbents play an important role. We have developed innovative solid porous CO2 adsorbents out of waste biomass that are cost-effective and show high adsorption capacity as well as high selectivity. Additionally, these adsorbents can easily be regenerated for their repeated use under different conditions as part of industrial applications

Education and Training Award (Singapore) sponsored by the IChemE Education & Training Special Interest Group

Winner: ‘Innovative teaching of chemical process safety’, Singapore Polytechnic

Summary of winning entry: The module Plant Safety and Loss Prevention was completely redesigned so that students will learn chemical process safety in an integrative, holistic manner. A model of chemical plant lifecycle depicting presence of hazards at all stages and use of various safety strategies and techniques is used for the teaching. Case studies of past accidents are analysed based on presence or absence of certain safety strategy the hazards present, with emphasis made on management of change especially with regards to unintended consequences. Efforts are made to link lessons learnt in earlier case studies to latter cases, especially inherently safer design.

Process Safety Award (Singapore) sponsored by ABB

Winner: ‘Continuous API manufacturing project’, Glaxo Wellcome Manufacturing Pte Ltd
Highly commended: ‘SJI goal zero: no leaks journey’, Shell Jurong Island

Summary of winning entry: This is GSK's first continuous API manufacturing project, and will significantly transform the way APIs are developed and manufactured. The project will deliver an integrated and intensified process where the number of discrete stages is reduced from 6 to 3. This will help reduce inventory hold cost and will enable GSK to respond faster to fluctuations in product demand. The process will be inherently safer and greener with reduced factory foot-print. The smaller factory foot print coupled with the modular design plug and play concept will allow future plants to be built faster and at a lower capital expenditure. The facility will incorporate process analytical technology and an enhanced data integration platform enabling real time monitoring of plant/process performance and quicker detection of issues.

Sustainable Technology Award (Singapore) sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline

Winner: ‘Carbon capture using innovative adsorbents’, National University of Singapore
Highly commended: ‘Marine ballast water treatment system’, Coldharbour Marine

Summary of winning entry: CO2 is one of the major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that contributes to global warming and anthropogenic climate change. In recent years, worldwide effort has been made to reduce its emissions. Among various technologies, CO2 capture, storage and utilization (CSU) has been given the most attention, in which solid CO2 sorbents play an important role. We have developed innovative solid porous CO2 adsorbents out of waste biomass that are cost-effective and show high adsorption capacity as well as high selectivity. Additionally, these adsorbents can easily be regenerated for their repeated use under different conditions as part of industrial applications

Young Chemical Engineer in Research Award (Singapore) sponsored by Shell

Winner: Han Gang, National University of Singapore
Highly commended: Aghayeva Nazilya, Sumgait State University and Jinsong He, National University of Singapore

Summary of winning entry: Growing global population combined with environmental issues is putting water and energy supplies under pressure. Novel sustainable membrane technologies might become a potential solution for the world’s most challenging problems of clean water and energy scarcity by utilizing alternative resources. Dr Han Gang's research activities are pertaining to the fabrication of high performance polymeric membranes and development of novel osmotically driven membrane processes for water reuse and renewable salinity-gradient energy production. The momentum that the fruits of his research bring to the field of membrane science and technology for clean water and clean energy production merits his receipt of the IChemE award.

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