Curtin Malaysia chemical engineering HDR student awarded IChemE POPSIG Student Research Project Bursary

Miri – 1 October 2021 – Chemical engineering Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student Melvin Wee Xin Jie of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) was one of four recipients of The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group (POPSIG) Student Research Project Bursary 2021 announced by the global professional engineering body recently.

POPSIG is an international special interest group within IChemE that provides a forum to enable knowledge transfer, exchange of best practices and sharing experience to all that are interested in the palm oil industry.

The group is committed to promoting palm oil-related research among undergraduate and postgraduate students, providing financial support through the POPSIG Student Research Project Bursary to students undertaking six-month original research related to the palm oil sector. This includes, but is not limited to, the following themes: Responsible Production in Palm Oil-related Sectors, Risk Management within Palm Oil-related Sectors, and Digitalisation of Palm Oil-related Processing.

Wee, who is pursuing a PhD at Curtin Malaysia, was awarded his bursary based on his project entitled ‘Kinetic and Thermodynamic Analyses for the Conversion of Co-Pyrolysis of Palm Oil Wastes and COVID-19 Surgical Waste to Biofuel Production’.

The project aims to explore alternative waste management solutions for the abundant natural waste from the palm oil industry and the large amount of COVID-19 related wastes generated during the current pandemic, while producing green fuels. It will also provide the necessary understanding of the co-pyrolysis between the two types of wastes.

The project addresses the sustainability issue regarding the environmental impacts of landfills of oil palm biomass by providing a waste-to-wealth alternative, that is, thermochemical conversion to bio-fuels. This will contribute to the circular economy of the palm oil industry.

According to Wee, the project goals are aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, and life below water.

“This could improve the industry’s resilience to climate change and natural disasters, help the country move towards a more sustainable socio-economic development aligned to the SDGs, as well as achieve the goals of the 12th Malaysia Plan,” he said.

Wee’s team of project supervisors include principal supervisor Associate Professor Agus Saptoro and co-supervisor Dr. Bridgid Chin Lai Fui from Curtin Malaysia; and Associate Professor Dr. Jaka Sunarso and Dr. Chew Jiuan Jing from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, and Professor Ir. Dr. Suzana Yusup from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS as associate supervisors.

The robust supervisory team consistently provides professional support to ensure smooth progress of the research project. Furthermore, this project is one of the strategic research collaborations between Curtin Malaysia and other universities such as Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS in Malaysia, and Manipal University Jaipur in India, in the areas of waste to energy and waste to value-added chemicals.

IChemE POPSIG Student Research Project Bursary recipient Melvin Wee Xin Jie.

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