Australia's most innovative engineers 2019
Engineers Australia has released its list of Australia’s most innovative engineers for 2019.
Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers is an annual program run by create magazine, the publication of Engineers Australia. Now in its fourth year, the listing seeks to recognise engineers and raise the profile of the profession within the wider community by showcasing the important role engineers play in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.
“Engineering innovation plays a critical role in facilitating a bright future for our communities, our nation and the world,” said Peter Mclntyre, CEO of Engineers Australia. “The Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers list showcases the creativity and ingenuity of Australian engineers and celebrates their remarkable achievements. The judging panel was overwhelmed by the high calibre of entrants, and we congratulate the winners on their selection.”
Each year, create celebrates 30 of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers, organised into 10 categories from a cross-section of the profession. Applicants had to explain what their project was, the problem it solved, the benefits it offered, why it was innovative and the role they played individually on the project.
Judge Claude D’Cruz FIEAust CPEng said the annual list shows Australia’s proud history of innovation across numerous different sectors and fields of practice.
“The quality and calibre of entries was outstanding and the type of entries confirmed that we as engineers are striving to innovate in many different areas,” D’Cruz said.
This year saw a record number of women nominated to the list, with 25% of the winners being female engineers. This year’s listing also found more engineers are working on projects that involve educating the wider community about what engineers do and the important role they play in society. “I was impressed with so many engineers committed to solving the world’s problems through their creativity and hard work in domains ranging from energy to materials to biotechnology,” said Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers judge Stephanie Moroz CPEng.
Among the 30 recognised engineers, below is a snapshot of those that may be of interest to ProcessOnline readers.
Dominic De Gioia, Director, EWFW Consulting Engineers: Beer with an Engineer podcast
Beer with an Engineer is a podcast created to increase the profile of engineers in society and to help remind engineers they have a very special and important role to play in our past, present and future.
Lt Harry Hubbert, Robotics Engineer, Royal Australian Navy: Marine autonomous fleets
Over the past year, Harry Hubbert has developed and deployed robotics projects for the Royal Australian Navy under his own initiative, using a completely self-taught skillset. One such project involved the development and deployment of an unmanned surface vessel (USV). He designed the electronics and software for the USV, which was sent to sea as a communications gateway with autonomous underwater vehicles. His breakthrough was in the advancement of field robotics towards the goal of multiplatform fleet autonomy.
Dr Sina Naficy, Research Fellow, University of Sydney: Flexible food sensors
Dr Sina Naficy developed an entirely new class of 3D-printed electrical gas sensors that detect gases generated by bacteria in packaged food. The technology can be produced at near-zero cost and exploits the hygroscopic properties of cellulose, which absorbs large amounts of water. This enables the use of wet chemistry for sensing water-soluble gases in flexible cellulosic substrates such as paper. Naficy conceptualised and executed a method for 3D printing these sensors on a large scale while enhancing their sensing selectivity.
Dr Raj Kurup, CEO, Environmental Engineers International Pty Ltd: The SPORE solution
Refining bauxite to produce alumina generates sodium oxalate waste (SOW), which can affect product quality and cause challenges for environmental management. Dr Kurup led the development of the Smart Priming Oxalate Removal Enabler (SPORE), which enables legacy SOW storage lagoons to be converted into anaerobic reactors that produce valuable by-products, including sodium carbonate and methane.
Matthew Dahms, Associate Mechanical Engineer, Aurecon: Shiploader conveyor bridge
Matthew Dahms’ design for the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) shiploader boom conveyor system adopted an unconventional conveyor belt specification and looked beyond established designs, to replace the fixed material transfer chute at the machine’s boom pivot point with a simple articulated bridging frame. This resulted in fewer moving parts and wear items, a reduction in the shiploader and jetty conveyor lift height and further resulted in a potential 700 MWh reduction in annual power consumption.
Arman Siahvashi, PhD Candidate, University of Western Australia: Cryosolids apparatus
A key risk to Australia’s growing LNG production is the formation of solids in a processing plant’s high-pressure cryogenic heat exchanger, which can lead to blockages and necessitate expensive plant shutdowns. The severity of the financial loss — around $70 million per missing LNG cargo — is significant, as is the associated environmental damage.
Arman Siahvashi has developed an innovative apparatus that can visually measure the thermodynamic freeze-out of the hydrocarbons responsible for the shutdowns. The exceptional accuracy, control and stability at cryogenic temperatures — down to minus 190ºC — of the apparatus have made it a novel and powerful alternative to conventional blind measurement methods such as calorimetry.
Steve Wilson, Principal Power Generation Engineer, Aurecon: Battery storage integration
In addition to highly technical battery project innovations, Steve Wilson has contributed to the innovative delivery of such systems by supporting a reliable transition to increasing levels of renewable energy generation. He was Lead Technical Adviser to the South Australian Government in the development and execution of the Hornsdale Power Reserve, a 100 MW battery project.
South Australia’s battery is unique not just because it is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery system or because it was conceived and constructed in record-breaking time. It also addresses specific technical and market needs in the South Australian network, providing a targeted contribution to the state’s objective of ensuring reliable, affordable and clean power for South Australian consumers.
Dr Ben McGarry, Associate (Future Energy), Aurecon: Enhancing SA grid resilience
The opportunities and risks in distributed grid generation are enormous, and as Technical and Specialist Adviser to the South Australian Government, Dr Ben McGarry spearheaded the performance requirements supporting a future virtual power plant (VPP) that is to be distributed across thousands of homes to enhance grid resilience.
McGarry was stirred by a request from the South Australian Government to support its ambitions to bring about a VPP as a key part of its energy plan. His engineering breakthrough was to broker agreement from this broad range of stakeholders that would support a complex distributed energy system that doesn’t yet exist, accommodating a range of battery configurations from dozens of potential competing technology providers.
The full Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers list can be viewed at: https://www.createdigital.org.au/innovativeengineers/.
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