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1 November 2022

Swinburne Sarawak Chemical Engineering students bag IChemE POPSIG Best Final Year Design Award 2022

KUCHING – A group of undergraduate Chemical Engineering students from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus has been selected as the winner of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group (POPSIG) Best Final Year Design Award 2022.

Every year since 2019, IChemE POPSIG awards the Best Final Year Design Award to a group of final-year students whose final-year project design revolves around palm oil processing.

The selection of the prestigious national award is based on a palm oil processing design which reflects efficiency, values inherent safety, mitigates environmental impacts and demonstrates project viability to the palm oil industry. Experts consisting of academicians and industrials evaluate the selection of the award winner.

Members and supervisor of the winning team from Swinburne Sarawak.

Members and supervisor of the winning team from Swinburne Sarawak.

This year, a six-member team from Swinburne Sarawak – comprising Abdulqader Mohammed Alawi bin Sahl (team leader), Thuppahimudalige Chandeepa Lakshith Fernando, Bong Zhang Ying, Tharindu Dayan Buddhika Siyambalapitiya, Osob Abdullahi Mohamud and Shaffaf Thajudheen – won the award for their project titled ‘Sustainable Production of Palm Oil-Derived Biodiesel’.

Their design project presented a sustainable approach to produce palm-biodiesel where the energy recovery system is optimised with the aid of a novel software that is capable of synthesising n-best heat exchanger networks.

The team was supervised by Ir Dr How Bing Shen, Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer at Swinburne Sarawak, and the award was sponsored by Desmet Ballestra (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

The winning group was invited to present their Final Year Design Project to POPSIG, Desmet Ballestra and other stakeholders at Bangi Resort Hotel, Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor on 26 September 2022. Ir Dr How and team member Bong represented the team in receiving the award at the IChemE POPSIG Research and Design Showcase 2022.

Other members of the winning team virtually attend the IChemE POPSIG Research and Design Showcase 2022 prize-giving ceremony.

Other members of the winning team virtually attend the IChemE POPSIG Research and Design Showcase 2022 prize-giving ceremony.

“I was elated to find out that our final year design project had been recognised as the winner of the POPSIG Best Final Year Design Award for 2022. This wouldn’t have been possible without the team’s efforts and all the support and guidance from our supervisor and the Swinburne Chemical Engineering team,” said Abdulqader.

“We appreciate this award as it recognises our efforts throughout the year. We want to show our gratitude to the Swinburne Chemical Engineering lecturers that have supported us through our design and IChemE POPSIG for giving us this invaluable opportunity,” said the other team members.

In their project, the team applied a novel heat exchanger network synthesis tool, P-HENS, to further optimise both the energy recovery and economic viability simultaneously. The tool was originally designed for research purposes, which generates multiple heat exchanger network designs to aid decision-making. Ir Dr How then incorporated it into the Year 4 Process Plant Design units with the aim of exposing students to state-of-the-art application research. This success demonstrates the importance of integrating research elements into the design project.

The design project also included several sustainable design elements that demonstrated that being green does not necessarily have to reduce economic value, but rather it may retain or even increase profit.

“Research and design should never be treated as individual silos but instead complement each other to enable greater impacts and outcomes,” said Ir Dr How.

For more information on Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website (www.swinburne.edu.my), Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).

Media Enquiries

Tania Lam
Officer (Communication and Events)


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