Chemical Engineering for Sustainable Food and Water- Feast or Famine

The Food and Water industry is going through a significant transition to respond to the ever changing requirements of the consumers whilst developing a sustainable food-water-energy matrix and chemical engineers play a lead role in this transition.

Achieving the sustainable and equitable distribution of food and water resources worldwide will require broad social consensus and government support. Chemical engineers will play a major role in the realisation of key solutions and have an opportunity to be involved in a policy shift to reassess our food and water systems for a resilient future.

Date: 13 July 2022 
Time: 08:30 (BST)

Watch the Webinar Recording

Our Panel Members:

Prof Rachel Louise Gomes (University of Nottingham, UK)

Rachel is a Professor in Chemical and Environmental Engineering with research into intelligent resource use in process environments, with a particular focus on waste/water treatment, water reuse, and process manufacturing for emerging pollutants and pollutant-to-product opportunities. She is Head of the Food, Water, Waste (FWW) Research Group and Lead for the University of Nottingham Interdisciplinary Research Cluster, Water Works.
Rachel has a PhD from Imperial College London and received the Wellcome Trust Value in People Award and was one of the '100 women, 100 visions' celebrating women scientists and engineers. Rachel obtained an Anne McLaren Fellowship to continue her research aty the University of Nottingham. In 2013 Rachel was selected as an University Engineering Future Research Leader, and in 2014 became 1 of 20 on the EPSRC Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research, Trustee for the Papplewick Water Education Trust and one of the Analytical Scientist magazine's Top 40 under 40 Power List featuring 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are already having a big impact on the field of analytical science. Rachel was listed in recognition of developing novel analytics to inform on wastewater treatment and chemical manufacture. In 2020, she was one of the WES Top 50 Women in Engineering for Sustainability and also received a University Vice Chancellor's Medal.

Viknesh A Murugappan (Swinburne University of Technology, Malaysia)

Dr Viknesh Andiappan currently serves as an Associate Professor at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. His area of specialisation centres on optimisation of energy systems and supply chains. His research interests also include design and optimisation of net-zero energy systems, synthesis of integrated biorefineries, industrial symbiosis planning, energy planning for greenhouse gas emission reduction and sustainable agriculture planning. Dr Andiappan is well-published and well-cited (over 70 publications with an h-index of 15) and presented several papers in various conferences. He was also shortlisted as a finalist for the IChemE Young Researcher Malaysia Award (2018 and 2019) and the Heriot-Watt University PRIME Award (2021). Dr Andiappan is an editorial board member for internationally peer-reviewed journals such as Process Integration and Optimization for Sustainability (Springer), and Frontiers in Sustainability. He is also a member of the reviewer board for Processes (MDPI). In addition, he serves as a technical committee member for several conferences. In 2020, he was awarded the IBAE Young Researcher of the Year Award for his contributions in research.

Aside from research, Dr Andiappan is a Professional Engineer with the Board of Engineers Malaysia and a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He also serves as the Vice Chair for the IChemE Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group (POPSIG) and was previously the University Roadshow Director. As the University Roadshow Director, he led efforts to promote the palm industry and the opportunities for chemical engineers, to young chemical engineering undergraduate students in universities around Malaysia.

Hugh Thomas (Atkins, UK)

Hugh is a Technical Director and the Discipline Lead for Water Treatment and Supply at Atkins, with 25 years in the industry. He has national responsible for ensuring design quality, technical innovation and development, specialising in delivering optimal, sustainable solutions that effectively manage business risks.
Hugh has worked in a variety of environments including research, Design & Build contracting, consultancy and for a UK water company. He is a specialist in water treatment processes and water quality management from source to tap. Hugh is a Fellow of CIWEM, treasurer for the IChemE Water Special Interest Group and sits on the Industrial Advisory Panel at Cranfield University. He is co-author of Basic Water Treatment, 6th edition, 2017.

Andres Mansilla (Atkins, UK)

Andres is a chartered process engineer with 5 years of experience. He specialises in the technical design and project delivery of water/wastewater infrastructure from feasibility to detail design phases; this applies to both the municipal and industrial (primarily Oil & Gas) sectors.
Andres is a committee member of the IChemE Water SIG. Furthermore, he is a multicultural engineer who has worked in Venezuela, Spain, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia and UK.

Petra Hanga (University College London (UCL), UK)

Dr Petra Hanga is currently a Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering - Cellular Agriculture at University College London. Dr Hanga is a biochemical engineer by training with a PhD in stem cell bioprocessing from Loughborough University. Her research interests lie at the intersection between Engineering and Life Science and focus on developing manufacturing strategies for cell-based products addressing two grand challenges: 1) food and nutrition for health, by advancing Cellular Agriculture that ultimately will enable a radical shift away from industrial animal farming and 2) healthcare, by developing future therapies that will minimise the economic and social burden of an aging population. Dr Hanga is an active committee member of the IChemE Biochemical Engineering SIG, an active committee member of the ESACT-UK and also a member of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF). Dr Hanga is the recipient of the Inaugural Chris Hewitt Rising Star Award (2021) received for her excellent and promising work in cell bioprocessing. Dr Hanga is also a co-founder of a UK-based cultivated meat start-up.

David Pearce (Fonterra, New Zealand)

David has worked for Fonterra, a large NZ dairy processor & exporter, since 1994. He has worked in a variety of roles including as a processing specialist, spray drying specialist and in management roles. Most of his projects have focussed on the production and optimisation of various dairy powders and drying plant efficiency improvements.
David is Fellow of IChemE, an IChemE in NZ Board member & is a member of the Food & Drink SIG committee. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical & Process Engineering.

Webinar Panel Moderator:

Amit Verma (Chair- Food and Water/IChemE100 Project Coordinator, IChemE, UK)

Amit is a chemical process engineer with over 15 years of experience leading engineering projects across diverse range of industries incuding food and drinks, chemicals, oil and gas and renewables. He has led process engineering projects including process design and plant commissioning within the UK, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, Germany and Italy. Currently he is leading and coordinating the activities across 9 different themes of IChemE100 project, chairing the food and water theme and also researching alternative energy technologies such as hydrogen for the UK heating sector decarbonisation.