CEAS UG student nominated for the IChemE Young Chemical Engineer in Industry Award

Ciara O'Keeffe O'Donovan has been shortlisted for the IChemE Young Chemical Engineer in Industry Award for the work she did during her industrial placement at Cargill. Students in the MEng in Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience undertake challenging projects while working at a company during their 3rd year of the course. During her placement year at Cargill, Ciara, 23, has played a pivotal role in a simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) optimisation exercise resulting in regained revenue of £2.2m and a reduction in operating costs of £155,000 in year one. Ciara’s role included training the operators with scientific theory behind the changes made.

Other achievements included the day-to-day running of the plant; excellent leadership during plant shut-down; becoming an active member of the plant’s steering committee implementing and executing the removal of barriers to safe behaviour; and undertaking a study into the water consumption in the Ethanol Plant resulting in water savings using a total organic carbon (TOC) inline analyser to monitor and minimise effluent volumes. Here efforts led to savings of £60,000 per year. This is an excellent example of what students can achieve during their placement.

Also shortlisted is one of our alumni, Kirsty Donovan, 27, who graduated in 2009 (MEng Chem Eng w/BM). Her early career achievements included a successful Student Technical Experience Programme at the Anglo Coal, Goedehoop Colliery in South Africa. Her work led to the implementation of a more efficient method to reduce the fines in the tailings.

As part of Sellafield’s Fuel Drying Project, Kirsty assumed a high level of responsibility delivering the underpinning for specific technical and safety case aspects of the project. Her role included leading workshops with the Site Technical team and actively raising the safety standards.

She has also taken part in an initiative called the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) retrievals project. The approach had previously been deemed as untenable in both cost and time of execution. Kirsty quickly established her presence with her clear thoughts and logic, robustly challenging the retrieval concept as it evolved. She led a team of Process Engineers through the Design Services Alliance at Cavendish Nuclear to deliver a suite of supporting documents to a challenging short time-scale.

The winners will be announced at the IChemE Global Awards on 6 November 2014 at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, UK.

We wish both of them all the best.

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