Chemical engineers do good


Winning entry: A scaled-down model of an industrial plant which is part of the Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) project that won the Training and Development Award.

PETRONAS was victorious in four out of eight categories at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Malaysia Awards 2020.

During the organisation’s first ever virtual Malaysia Awards ceremony, held on Oct 19, the oil and gas giant also secured four highly commended entries.

Petronas Research, Deakin University and University of Adelaide, Australia, clinched the Oil and Gas Award for their Metal Organic Framework as Self-healing Catalyst project. They developed a novel self-healing epoxy that delivers a highly robust and reliable performance when added to the interior of steel pipes in oil field operations. It ensures the integrity of the materials during operation, which enhances the life of the system and could reduce total maintenance costs by up to 80%.

Meanwhile, Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) won the Process Safety Award for its “Smart Ratchet for Preventing Sample Spills” project. This special spanner, which locks onto and tightens the needle valves, has resulted in RM7.3m worth of savings in terms of needle valve replacements and employee hours in fixing the issue as well as decreased sampling time by 62%. Ultimately, the product enables a safer means to handle the product, while reducing waste.

Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) also picked up the Training and Development Award for their interactive educational centre that is positively contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal, Quality Education. The interactive auditorium includes the Tunnel of Lessons Learnt reflecting on past incidents, its confined space simulator and mini plant sharing good practice in health, safety, security and environment. All these aim to improve competency for employees, contractors and university students, and awareness within the local community.

The Sustainability Award also went to Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) for significantly optimising plant steam usage, saving 58,256 GJ of fuel (equivalent to RM1.94m) and producing less carbon emissions.

The remaining four categories were won by Xiamen University Malaysia, Sumwin Solutions and the Malaysian Refining Company. Xiamen University Malaysia’s impressive student-led outreach programme saw it scoop the Student Chapter Award.

The university saw further success at the awards when its lecturer Chew Kit Wayne won the Young Researcher Award for his leading research in bioprocess engineering design and renewable energy.

Sumwin Solutions triumphed in the Palm Oil category for their new patented technology and process to reduce the levels of a potentially harmful chemical compound from palm oil to fully meet European standards.

Muhammad Faiz Omar, a distillation technologist at the Malaysian Refining Company, won the Young Industrialist Award for his commitment and problem-solving skills that help optimise energy and crude oil production in a sustainable and economical way.

During the online ceremony, a message from the royal patron of IChemE Malaysia, Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, was shown to finalists.

The message read: “The 2020 IChemE Malaysia Awards ceremony takes place in the most unusual of circumstances. This year is proving to be one of the most trying times the world has faced in recent history. In spite of this, the ceremony carries on and I express my sincere thanks to the organising committee for their dedication and hard work to make it happen. It will indeed be an occasion to remember.

“To the finalists and winners of this prestigious IChemE Malaysia Awards, the stars of tonight – my congratulations! You bring credit to the profession. Continue your show of strength in times of adversity and keep up the good work.”

IChemE’s Malaysian Board chairperson Law Chung Lim said: “Congratulations to all of our winners tonight. This is recognition by your peers of the work you are doing day in, day out that demonstrates how you are helping to solve worldwide issues to advance chemical engineering’s contribution for the benefit of society.

“Since its inception in July 2006, we have seen growing participation from various industries in the IChemE Malaysia Awards. We hope to see that trend continue in the coming years.”

Winners of the IChemE Malaysia Awards will automatically enter into corresponding categories at the IChemE Global Awards, which will be delivered virtually through a series of webinars this month. Winners of the Global Awards are eligible for the overall award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering.

For details, visit icheme.org/malaysiaawards.

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