14 June 2016

Algae to fuel project wins top chemical engineering prize

2016 Pratt Prize winners - The University of Melbourne

Chemical engineering students at the University of Melbourne have won this year’s coveted Pratt Prize, for their project which converts microalgae into biodiesel.

The winning project, Microalgae biodiesel production facility, demonstrated the teams understanding of sustainable chemical engineering practices based on the current local economy.

The team comprised of Robert Murray, Yonathan Christianto, Huixuan Yu, Chen-Yu Tsai, Lachlan Henderson and Suya He. They will share a prize pool of AU$1,500.

The Pratt Prize is named in honour of Australian chemical engineering luminary, professor Clive Pratt, and is hosted by the Joint Victorian Chemical Engineering Committee.

The prize is awarded annually to the best chemical engineering design project from final year students at Victorian universities. Entries are assessed by a judging panel representing a broad a range of industries against set criteria. All teams present their entries before an audience of industry, academia, peers and family.

This year’s Pratt Prize co-ordinator, Andrea Hosey, said: “Of all the years I have been involved with this prize, 2016 was the most collaborative – and one of the closest judging decisions to date.

“However, the University of Melbourne’s professionally crafted feasibility study, comprehensive detailed design, and high level project planning, gave them the winning edge.”

-up prizes were presented to RMIT University for their entry, Ecopetrol refinery project, and to Monash University for their project titled, L-Arginine Production Plant.

The University of Melbourne team will receive automatic entry into this year’s KBR Student Design Prize, awarded at Chemeca 2016 on 25-28 September in Adelaide, South Australia. 

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