Novel nitrogen removal technology wins the IChemE Global Awards 2021

Institution of Chemical Engineers

Friday, 22 October, 2021

Novel nitrogen removal technology wins the IChemE Global Awards 2021

A wastewater treatment technology using bacteria encapsulated in plastic lenses to remove nitrogen compounds and make safer drinking water has won the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards 2021.

Australian water treatment solutions provider, Clean TeQ Water, was commended for chemical engineering excellence for their project Innovative Biological Technology for Nitrogen Removal. It won the Biochemical Engineering Award and was runner-up in the Innovative Project category before receiving the top prize, the Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering Award.

Its patent-pending BIONEX and BIOCLENS technologies provide a fundamental shift in how bacteria are applied in water treatment. Together, these consistently remove nitrate to very low concentrations, which both reduces the negative impact of nitrate for human health and wildlife and is a key enabler for recycled water use.

Compared to conventional methods to address excess levels of nitrogen, these technologies are more effective and cost-efficient, meaning the future implications for global wastewater treatment and for the environment really are significant. Following many pilot plant tests, this combined technology is now being commercialised in a plant in China.

This year’s awards showcased incredible achievements across 15 categories, with the winners announced in a series of webinars from 5–15 October 2021 where finalists presented their projects and took questions from the online audience.

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia scooped awards in both the Oil & Gas and Sustainability categories for its Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Demonstration Project.

The project is the first of its kind in the Middle East in scale and operation, and one of the largest in the world. It captures approximately 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is compressed, piped and injected into a depleted oil reservoir, stopping it from being emitted into the atmosphere.

It included several novel, world-first technologies being developed and implemented to help monitor the process, such as carbon dioxide leaks, seismic activity and a suite of advanced logging techniques (including resistivity and pulsed neutron tools) implemented in a time-lapse manner. The judging panel commended Saudi Aramco for its risk in the investment of taking a demonstration project to commercial scale.

Imperial College London, University College London and University of Oxford, UK took the Team Award for their project UK Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hubs. During a pandemic, and in record time, the organisations supported two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including the licensed AstraZeneca vaccine being designed, trialled and approved for emergency use in less than 12 months, potentially saving millions of lives.

Researchers from the organisations continue this work to develop vaccines for variants and support vaccine manufacturers in developing countries, including for Hepatitis E, SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus.

Wood plc won the Diversity & Inclusion Award for its impressive range of initiatives increasing employee engagement and knowledge-sharing worldwide, supporting STEM skill development and diversifying the way talent is identified and recruited. These include its new global mentoring app, partnering with American universities to offer scholarships to underrepresented communities, and teaming with a Scottish charity to offer Arctic expeditions with secondary school-aged students to support skills development and find climate change solutions.

“The IChemE Global Awards bring together chemical and process engineers from around the world to recognise their peers’ significant achievements in tackling global challenges and developing solutions that will have a real impact on all our futures,” said IChemE President Jane Cutler. “The wide spectrum of technologies winning this year’s awards demonstrates the importance of chemical engineering to so many aspects of the health and wellbeing of the global population and how the discipline is adapting to provide solutions to the evolving issues in health and the environment.

“Congratulations to all of our winners. We hope their achievements inspire organisations to make further advances and for talented young people choosing a career in chemical engineering to help continue the vital, positive contributions for the next generation.”

Watch the webinars to find out about all the finalists’ and winners’ projects at www.youtube.com/icheme.

For more information on the IChemE Global Awards visit www.icheme.org/globalawards.

Image: ©stock.adobe.com/au/tuastockphoto

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