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Benny Freeman, CSIRO’s 2017 Sir Jerry Price Lecture Presenter

Professor and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Benny Freeman was recently announced as CSIRO’s 2017 Sir Jerry Price Lecture presenter.

The lecture series was established in 1990 in an effort to encourage the collaboration between industry, CSIRO and university scientists. Its namesake, Sir Jerry Price, was the former CEO of CSIRO and a leading mind in organic chemistry.

Professor Freeman’s presentation titled, “Science and Technology to Secure the Future for Water and Energy” will frame the water/energy nexus challenges and opportunities, and provide a glimpse of potential paths forward to supply the world with low energy, abundant access to water.

Professor Freeman was awarded the U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Science, Technology and Innovation in 2016. His is the first Fulbright distinguished chair sponsored by CSIRO.

The lecture will take place Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at the Australian Synchrotron. A recorded broadcast will be available on the Chemical Engineering Department’s website and social media pages following the event.

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Posted January 27, 2017

Jovan Kamcev Wins 2016 AIChE Graduate Student Research Award

Jovan Kamcev has been awarded the 2016 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award in Separations: Membrane-Based Separations, established to recognize outstanding graduate student research in this area. He is pictured here with Profesor Benny D. Freeman.

Selection criteria for the award include:
1) The paper must report on research, investigation or design, and must be part of the student’s work for a graduate degree.
2) The paper may be co-authored by others, but the student nominee must have been the primary author.
3) The paper is of quality acceptable for publication in journals such as the AIChE Journal and Chemical Engineering Science.
4) Papers are judged on technical content, quality of writing, and organization.
5) The person nominating a student must be a member of the AIChE.

Jovan Kamcev Wins Graduate Student Paper of 2016

Jovan Kamcev has been awarded the Graduate Student Paper of the Year Award and the Marion Johnson South Texas Section Society of Plastics Engineers Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Chemical Engineering worth $4,000, for his paper entitled “Partitioning of mobile ions between ion exchange polymers and aqueous salt solutions: Importance of counter-ion condensation” published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics in January 2016.

Kamcev’s study addresses a longstanding problem in his field – the need for a theoretical framework to predict ion sorption and transport in charged membranes. Charged membranes play a key role in water purification and energy generation applications such as electrodialysis, fuel cells, batteries, etc. Using established ideas from the field of dilute polyelectrolytes, Kamcev and his team have developed a model to accurately predict ion partitioning between a charged membrane and an aqueous salt solution without adjustable parameters. This approach requires knowledge of basic membrane properties such as chemical structure, concentration of fixed charge groups, and water content.

Kamcev’s paper is the foundation for his research program, aimed at developing a molecular understanding of how altering the polymer structure (chemical or physical) affects water and ion transport properties in such materials. Once he and his team develop a better understanding of this issue, high performance membranes can be designed in a rational way. This could lead to major improvements in technologies aimed at addressing the most pressing challenge facing our society – obtaining sustainable supplies of energy and water for future generations.

“Winning this award means a great deal to me, considering the amazing and diverse research that goes on in our department,” Kamcev said. “It is truly an honor to be selected for this award. I want to express my deepest gratitude to my co-authors, as well as the rest of our laboratory, for their assistance with this study.”

This recognition is one of many in a series of successes for Kamcev. Recently, Kamcev was also awarded first place at the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Graduate Student Award Symposium, second place at the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Membranes: Materials & Processes, and the 2016 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Award.

Posted 8/29/2016,

Michelle Dose is Runner-Up in Graduate Student Seminar Series Top Presenters

The McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering announced the top presenters for the 2016 Graduate Student Seminar Series, as voted by attending first-year and third-year Ph.D. students.

Michelle Dose’s research, “polymer membranes for oelfin/paraffin separations” focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of the transport of small molecules through polymer based membranes with an eventual goal of using such materials to reduce the energy consumption of large scale gas phase separations.

Michelle Dose and Kelly Markham were also recognized for organizing these weekly seminars and Professor Hal Alper for overseeing the program.

Jovan Kamcev Selected to Receive NSF Science and Technology Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS) Outstanding Graduate Student Award for 2016

The National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS) selected Jovan Kamcev to receive one of the Outstanding Graduate Student Awards for 2016. These awards are given to students who have made exceptional contributions to the Center in the areas of Research, Teaching and Mentoring, or Service to the Organization.

2016 North American Membrane Society (NAMS) Award Winners!

Jovan Kamcev won first place in his category of posters and one of three NAMS Student Fellowship Awards, the highest student award offered by The North American Membrane Society (NAMS). Michelle Dose and Josh Moon took second and third place for posters in their section. NAMS is the primary technical outlet for membrane research in the United States.

During the event, a close colleague and co-advisor, Dr. Don Paul, was recognized as an inaugural NAMS Fellow.

Benny Freeman Selected for a Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award

Benny Freeman has been selected for a Fulbright Distinguished Chair award. Each year, there are approximately forty such awards from this program made possible through funds appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress and, in many cases, by contributions from partner countries and the private sector. Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The specific Fulbright Award Professor Freeman has been selected for is sponsored by CSIRO, Australia’s leading multidisciplinary research organization. The area of focus will be “More from Less: Disruptive Separations Technologies for Sustainable Chemical and Environmental Industries.”

The Chair will enable Professor Freeman to undertake research of importance to the bilateral relationship and includes a national public speaking lecture series within Australia.

Josh Moon Receives 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship

The fellowship selection is based on demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. The GRFP Fellowship period is for 5 years and financial support is provided for 3 years. In the words of Dean Evasius, NSF Division Director, Division of Graduate Education, “Your selection as an NSF Graduate Fellowship awardee is a significant accomplishment.”