Women in Engineering: Celebrating Sustainability on INWED
Sana Kazilbash posted on June 26, 2020 |
Chemical engineers were amongst those recognized for green energy efforts.

(Image courtesy of Associated Engineering.)
(Image courtesy of Associated Engineering.)

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is an international awareness campaign held annually on June 23 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). INWED showcases the outstanding achievements of women engineers around the world and focuses attention on exciting career opportunities available to females in the industry.

This year’s theme was ‘Shape the World’, and efforts in support of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Net Zero Carbon Program were celebrated. The Chemical Engineer had the opportunity to interview six chemical engineers who were recognized among the Top 50 Women in Engineering: Yasmin Ali, Rachel Gomes, Caireen Hargreaves, Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Mi Tian and Valeska Ting.

(Image courtesy of Society of Women Engineers.)
(Image courtesy of Society of Women Engineers.)

Yasmin Ali is employed as an energy innovation project manager at the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. “My job is to manage government funding for energy technologies that will help us to reach the 2050 net zero target. I’m focusing on low-carbon hydrogen production at the moment. This is something that the committee on climate change and others have highlighted as key to enabling the UK reach net zero. I have spent the last 10 years in the energy sector, and my work contributes to secure the energy supply that all of us rely on. My work on energy innovation now is helping to shape the world by paving the way for a more sustainable energy future.”

Rachel Gomes is an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of Nottingham. “My research is about delivering resilient and secure resources by enabling resource reuse in process environments and value recovery from waste streams. I have a particular interest in wastewater, which is a bit of a misnomer, because there is no such thing as ‘waste’ water. Water in all forms has value, and ‘wastewater’ actually contains many materials that once processed are valuable. Resource resilience is embedded throughout the UN SDGs and I look at technology development and analytics to remediate pollutants in wastewater treatment and rivers through to intelligent resource use in process manufacturing environments.”

Caireen Hargreaves works as the associate director of product sustainability at AstraZeneca. “Working in AstraZeneca’s Global Sustainability team, I am leading various aspects of our program that support the UN SDGs. In particular, for SDG12—Responsible Consumption and Production—I led the development of a resource efficiency target, inspiring scientists and engineers to consider sustainability as they develop future commercial manufacturing processes. I coordinated AstraZeneca’s industry-leading safe pharmaceutical discharge program for internal/external manufacturing sites and ensured the inclusion of associated KPIs within the AstraZeneca Annual Report. I advocated for and co-developed a program within the company’s external sourcing function to drive improvement in environmental performance with third-party suppliers. As a chemical engineer, I have always tried to ensure a whole systems thinking approach and support the recently announced AstraZeneca Zero Carbon Strategy. This work becomes even more critical to understand carbon emissions across pharmaceutical value chains and highlight priority areas for urgent action.”

Mercedes Maroto-Valer is a champion at the UK’s Industrial Decarbonization Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), which is based at Heriot-Watt University. “Over the last 25 years, I have built my leadership in engineering and sustainability across higher education institutions in the UK and US. My research focuses on addressing global challenges to ensure the sustainability of resources and energy. My team has recently received the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 2019 Transport Innovation Award, and we were also British Airways BA 2119: Future of Fuels challenge finalist for our work to develop sustainable aviation fuels to power long-haul flights. Our unique process can produce 2.4M t/y of fuel for aviation, and it is estimated that this would be the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars a year off the road. We have demonstrated a ground-breaking process to recover waste heat energy from data centers and convert into zero-emission cooling and power provision, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in cooling energy consumption. The technology innovation is now moving to build and deploy an ultra-green data centre facility in Malaysia. Earlier on this year, I was appointed as UKRI’s industrial decarbonization champion, and I am working with industry and leading experts to decarbonize the UK’s six biggest industrial clusters.”

Mi Tian is employed as a lecturer at the University of Exeter. “My research interests and expertise lie in engineering materials for hydrogen storage. Hydrogen energy is playing a key role in the decarbonizing the energy system and achieving net zero by 2050 in the UK, which is the heart of the UK’s current Industrial and Clean Growth Strategies. I have significantly contributed to the project ‘Engineering Composites for Sustainable Hydrogen Energy,’ which has greatly impacted the hydrogen tank industry, sustainable energy and policymaking. My research has benefited from close ties with industry for sustainability. I led the project on the design of a plasma reactor that was successfully commercialized with GasPlas, which has had a direct impact on sustainable production of activated carbon and hydrogen. These interactions have helped to inform and direct my research and provide opportunities for sustainable manufacture and large-scale material testing.”

Valeska Ting is a professor of smart nanomaterials at the University of Bristol. “I lead a research team that is working on the development of materials-based systems for storage of hydrogen, which is a zero-carbon fuel that can be used in transportation. By conducting research into how we can safely and efficiently store hydrogen onboard vehicles, we are helping to provide underpinning technologies to allow alternative energy vectors such as hydrogen to come into future widespread use.”

Engineering.com would like to congratulate all the winners and thank them for their contributions toward green energy solutions.

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