The Fiona & Nicholas Hawley Award for Environmental Engineering
08 July 2008
The 2008 winner of the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Award is Dr. John Robinson of Nottingham University.
Dr Robinsons’ paper on, ‘Microwave Treatment of Oil Contaminated Drill Cuttings.’ This provided a solution to the problem was how to remove the oil contamination from cuttings (small crushed rock fragments) discharged from the drilling mud used to lubricate and cool oil well drilling bits). Offshore drilling platforms face stringent environmental legislation whereby sea disposal of the cuttings is not permitted and shipping them ashore for processing is weather dependent and expensive. John’s team has demonstrated a technical solution that allows the cuttings to be heated by microwaves as they pass along a conveyor belt, steam from the cuttings carrying away the oil for separation, and allowing the rock remnants to be disposed safely at sea.
The presentation from Dr Robinson was an excellent demonstration of the practical combination of several engineering disciplines – microwave and electromagnetic engineering and materials handling - to overcome a significant environmental problem and to avoid large cost consequences. The solution has generated sufficient interest from the oil and gas industry for a pilot-scale system to be sponsored by BP and BG.
The prize of £5,000 will be used by Dr Robinson to attend Steven Bradshaws’ research group at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa to further develop his expertise in the design of industrial microwave heating systems
The Fiona & Nicholas Hawley Award was established in 2006 and is made annually to recognise excellence in environmental engineering by a resident of the UK, under 30 years of age at the date of submission, who holds a graduate or post graduate degree in engineering or science from a recognised UK university, or who is studying for a post graduate degree at such a university.
Applications for next years award will be invited in January 2009, and details are available from the Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Engineers.
The Fiona & Nicholas Hawley Award has been sponsored by a number of companies and individuals, and a list of donors follows.
Fiona & Nicholas Hawley Award - Sponsors
Deloitte & Touche plc
John Laing plc
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Dr Robert Hawley
Royal Society of Chemistry
Rutland Fund Management Ltd
Society of Environmental Eng
The Go-Ahead Group Plc
Carron Energy (Uskmouth Power Co Ltd)
Engineering & Technology Board
Institute of Marine Engineering
Aliis cum Humanitate
Nuclear Industry Association
Royal Academy of Engineering
The Weir Group plc
World Nuclear Association