Doing it better: Engineering professor receives the 2013 Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice for making our world a more sustainable one
Dr. Kelly Hawboldt, a process engineering professor at Memorial, received the 2013 Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice for her major contributions to the field of contaminant removal from gas streams, biofuel from processing waste and emissions from offshore oil and gas operations.
Dr. Faisal Khan, head of process engineering at Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science nominated Dr. Hawboldt for the award and is thrilled that she was selected.
“Kelly is a prolific researcher who is actively engaged in exploring ideas beyond borders in terms of processing concepts and, more importantly, process design and testing. Her recent involvement with a green processing initiative and exploring the potential of bio-diesel from local waste is one example of her creative thinking and pursuing research to benefit the community. For her passion to work on real life issues that help achieve sustainability and improve community engagement, she is very deserving of this award, said Dr. Khan.
Not only has much of Dr. Hawboldt’s career focused on the sustainable processing of natural resources, but she has made significant contributions in processing natural resources sustainably and utilizing the products in remote and harsh environments where infrastructure and the use of traditional processes are limited. This has had a huge impact on the forestry industry.
Dr. Hawboldt and her team work in the area of green processing of natural resources, specifically in developing processes and/or products. The focus of the work has been in areas where location and/or infrastructure limit the use of traditional processing and management approaches to maximize products from natural resources, such as forestry, fish processing and offshore/Arctic oil and gas.
Current research areas include converting forestry residues/wastes from sawmills to fuels and adsorbents through pyrolysis – a high-temperature reactor. The development of a mobile pyrolysis processing system capable of converting woody biomass from a variety of feedstocks, such as sawdust, saw chips and weathered material, to both bio-oil for use as a fuel and biochar for use as an industrial adsorbent will help to ensure the economic viability of small communities and industries. This is also the goal of her work in the extraction of oil from fish processing wastes. A number of technologies have been investigated from methods to extract the oil (supercritical extraction) to conversion of the oil to a biodiesel via enzyme transesterification.
“It is important to me that the work I do has a tangible outcome, even if it is years away. Also, I want to develop processes and products that are sustainable in nature and have minimal impact on the environment in both the production and use to enhance sustainability of regions. This award is important to me as it is a recognition that I am heading in the right direction and hopefully highlights the connection between research and development and industrial application,” said Dr. Hawboldt.
The Bantrel Award recognizes innovative design or production activities accomplished in Canada. The activities may have resulted in a significant achievement in product or process design, small or large company innovation or multidisciplinary design-directed research or production. The achievement will relate to the practice of chemical engineering and/or industrial chemistry whether in research and development, process implementation, entrepreneurialism, innovation, production or some combination of these. It may be via a well-known, long-standing reputation for translating chemical engineering principles into design and industrial practice which contributes to the profession as a whole.