Activities of the 3rd M A Naser Chair

The tenure of the 3rd M A Naser Chair, Professor Dr. Rafiqul Gani, came to a successful conclusion this past year.


Dr. Rafiqul Gani is currently an adjunct professor at KAIST (South Korea) and a visiting professor at Texas A&M University. For 34 years Prof Gani, starting from 1985, worked at the Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, and is the former head and co-founder of CAPEC. Prof Gani served as an editor-in-chief of Computers and Chemical Engineering journal (2009-2015) and currently serves as editor for the Sustainable Production & Consumption, and,Discover Chemical Engineering journals. He is also a member of the editorial advisory boards of several international journals. Prof Gani has been awarded Doctor Honoris Causa degrees from University Politehnica Bucharest, University of Pannonia and Babes-Bolyai University. Prof Gani is the ex-president of the EFCE (2015-2018), a member of the Danish Academy of Science, a Fellow of the AIChE and a Fellow of IChemE. He received the AIChE Computers in Chemical Engineering award in 2015, the EFCE Jacques Villermaux Medal in 2019 and the AIChE Sustainability Engineering Forum award in 2020. In 2018, Prof Gani co-founded the PSE for SPEED Company, that develops, implements and employs state of the art PSE methods and tools to solve a wide range of problems of industrial and research significance, reliably, efficiently and very rapidly. He has published 600 articles in peer reviewed international journals and proceedings plus 5 edited books and 1 text-book. His publications have given him a H-index of 68 in GoogleScholar, 57 in SCOPUS and 52 in Web of Science (December, 2020). Prof Gani’s current research interests continue with the development and application of computer aided methods and tools for modelling; property estimation; process-product synthesis, design & intensification; and process-tools integration with emphasis on energy, sustainability and application of a systems approach.

MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF 3RD M A NASER CHAIR 2019-20

Graduate course

An extensive graduate course for three weeks on “Sustainable Process Design in 12 Hierarchical Tasks,” was taught at ChE Department, BUET from 23 November to 11 December 2019. The course consisted of 6 lectures of 2 hours plus tutorials on own time of the course participants. The lectures introduced the participants to the synthesis-design-innovation concept through 12 hierarchical tasks. The tutorials were given as work to be done by course participants after each course lecture, introduced the participants to the associated computer-aided tools and their efficient and reliable use.

Research-Education collaboration

A collaboration between PSE for SPEED and CPI Safety group of the department of Chemical Engineering, BUET has been established under the leadership of Prof. Gani. The collaboration is currently working on a project on chemical substitution. Faculty members and graduate researchers of the department are involved in this project. A paper on Chemical Substitution is being prepared under this collaboration for publication in the Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering (COCHE) journal. Two conference papers on this topic have already been presented in AIChE Annual Meeting 2020 and ICChE 2020.

Under the 3rd MA Naser Chair, a collaborative research work on integrated design and control of reactive distillation column has been performed. This was a very successful collaboration, which resulted in publication of an AIChE Journal paper titled “Integrated Design and Control of Reactive Distillation Processes Using the Driving Force Approach”. Moreover, two conference papers – one presented in the 2020 AIChE annual meeting and the other to be presented in ESCAPE-31 – have been published.

Associate Prof. Mohidus Samad Khan presented his research group to Prof. Rafiqul Gani and during the discussion, his research results on bio-sensor was identified as topic for a review-perspective paper in a special issue on chemical product design that Prof. Gani is organizing for the COCHE journal.

Seminar

The Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET organized a seminar titled ‘Challenges and Opportunities at different scales’ on November 30, 2019. The seminar was given by Professor Dr. Rafiqul Gani and was attended by academics and students from a variety of engineering backgrounds, as well as BUET alumni.

Meeting with representatives from paint industries of Bangladesh

A meeting was arranged with representatives of paint industries of Bangladesh at the department of ChE, BUET on 8 December, 2019. Representatives from six leading manufacturers of paints like Asian Paints (Bangladesh) Ltd, Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd, Elite Paint & Chemical Industries Ltd, Nippon Paint (Bangladesh) Private Limited, Kansai Nerolac Paints (Bangladesh) Limited, and Rainbow Paints participated in the meeting. The industrial participants showed keen interest to utilize process system engineering methods and tools for their product development.

General meetings

Several meetings were held with different faculty members of the Chemical Engineering Department BUET as well as meetings with different research groups i.e., Bio & Environmental Technology, Process Systems Engineering and CPI Safety at the department. A meeting with the faculty members of Glass and Ceramic Engineering (GCE) department was also held followed by a visit of the state of art laboratory of the GCE department.

Workshop

The Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET organized a two-day training workshop on ‘Fast, efficient & reliable problem solution through a new class of software tools on December 1-2, 2019, The workshop was conducted by Professor Rafiqul Gani. The workshop introduced a new class of computer-aided tools and their application to tackle the current and future needs of chemical, petrochemical, biochemical and related industries. Relevant examples from industries were discussed in an interactive manner. A total of 35 participants from industry and academia joined the workshop and obtained certificates from the organizers.

Webinar series for students and faculty members

i) A webinar on Sustainability in the water-energy-food-environment nexus: The role of chemical engineers’ by Prof. Gani was held through Zoom hosted by the department of chemical engineering, BUET on 25 July 2020 at 3.30 pm (Bangladesh time). Sixty-eight participants from home and abroad joined the webinar. Among them were distinguished alumni, faculty members and researchers from Bangladesh, Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, UK and USA.

ii) A webinar on ‘Understanding Process Systems Engineering and its applications’ by Prof. Rafiqul Gani was held through Zoom hosted by the department of chemical engineering, BUET on 22 August, 2020 at 3.30 pm (Bangladesh time). The target audience of the webinar was undergraduate and graduate students of chemical engineering and researchers in relevant fields. 181 participants from home and abroad joined the webinar. Among them faculty members and students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Jashore University of Science and Technology (JUST), Rajshahi University Engineering and Technology (RUET) and Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET) were present.

The webinar was followed by a question-and-answer session. Prof. Ijaz Hossain, Dean of faculty of engineering, BUET offered the closing remarks. The webinar was conducted by the Head of the department Prof. Syeda Sultana Razia and coordinated by Prof. M A A Shoukat Choudhury and Dr. Nahid Sanzida.

Online Panel Discussion with Industry

An online panel discussion titled “Effective Industry-Academia Collaboration – What is an Appropriate Model?” organized by the department of Chemical Engineering, BUET held on Saturday, 7 November 2020. The panel discussion aimed to bridge collaborations between academia and industries with a focus on chemical and manufacturing industries. The keynote speaker of the event was Prof. Rafiqul Gani, who joined the program from Denmark. Prof Gani spoke about his experience of setting up and running a successful industrial consortium of international companies as part of his research center (CAPEC) at the Technical University of Denmark. This program was the last event of the series of programs carried out under 3rd M A Naser Chair activities.

The program was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Satya Prasad Majumder, Honorable Vice-Chancellor of BUET as the Chief Guest and hosted by Prof. Dr. Syeda Sultana Razia, Head of the Chemical Engineering Department, BUET. The session hosted panel members from select industry leaders, faculty members and alumni representatives. Among the panelist were Mr. Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), Mr. Rabiul H Chowdhury, CCO of Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company Limited (KAFCO), Mr. S M Nurul Alam Rezvi, Chairman of Walton Hi-Tech Industries LTD and Vice Chairman of Walton Group, Mr. Syed S Kaiser Kabir, CEO and Managing Director Renata Limited and Mr Rahman Murshed, distinguished ChE Alumni and Member of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC). Prof. Dr. Abdul Jabbar Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor of BUET, joined the panel as a Special Guest. Prof. Dr. M A A Shoukat Choudhury, Dr. Kazi Bayzid Kabir and Dr. Nafisa Islam talked on behalf of the Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET. Prof. Dr. Dil Afroza Begum, President of the BUET Chemical Engineering Alumni Association and member of the University Grant Commission was also
present in the discussion session.

In the key note speech Prof. Rafiqul Gani presented examples of successful industry-academia collaboration and suggested ways on how such collaborations could be made effective. The panelists recognized the importance of industry-academia collaboration and encouraged such initiatives. Faculty members of chemical engineering department presented the current status and future vision of the department as well as of BUET in terms of industry-academia collaboration, especially, the aim of IQAC, BUET and the activities of Industrial Advisory Board of the Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET. At the end of the program Prof. Dr. Ijaz Hossain, Dean, Faculty of Engineering gave a vote of thanks. Dr. Nahid Sanzida of the Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET coordinated the online program and different activities of the 3rd MA Naser Chair. This event attracted around 118 participants consisting of faculty members, final year students and alumni of BUET along with faculty members and participants from chemical engineering and allied departments of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Jashore University of Science and Technology, Rajshahi University Engineering and Technology.

Scholarship Program for Graduate Students

A scholarship program, to be funded by Prof Dr. Rafiqul Gani, to support graduate students for conducting research in the department of chemical engineering at BUET has been proposed. The necessary paper works are being prepared to initiate the program.

International Conference

The ‘Sixth International Conference on Chemical Engineering 2020’ (ICChE 2020), 19-22 December, 2020’ was organized by the Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET. The conference was sponsored by the PSE for SPEED Company, Denmark-Thailand and University Grants Commission (UGC), Bangladesh. The aim of the conference was to emphasize the solutions of the grand challenges facing the world in terms of energy, water, food, health-safety and environment. This virtual conference was chaired by Prof. Rafiqul Gani. Some of the world’s leading researchers joined the conference to deliver plenary and keynote lectures. The list includes Prof. Stratos Pistikopoulos, Texas A&M University, USA, Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Columbia University, USA, Prof. Saad A. Khan, North Carolina State University, USA, Prof. Marc-Olivier Coppens, University College London, UK, Prof. Iqbal M Mujtaba, University of Bradford, UK, Prof. Raman Singh, Monash University, Australia, Prof. André Bardow, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Prof. Mauricio Sales-Cruz, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Cuajimalpa, Mexico and Prof. Hesham A. El Enshasy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). Also, distinguished BUET-ChE alumni Prof. Md Zahangir Alam, IIUM, Malaysia, Dr. M. M. Faruque Hasan, Texas A&M University, USA, Dr. Nirupam Aich, The State University of New York (SUNY), USA and Dr. Toufiq Reza, Florida Institute of Technology, USA and Head, Department of Chemical Engineering and Polymer Science, SUST, Bangladesh Prof. Abu Yusuf were invited to present keynote lectures. Around 130 papers and posters have been presented by the researchers and practitioners in the fields on Chemical and allied Engineering from home and abroad. There were more than 200 registered participants from industry and academia.

New Head of the Department

Prof. Dr. Md. Mominur Rahman has joined as the new Head of Chemical Engineering Department, BUET on 27 December, 2020. In a cordial semi-virtual meeting, previous Head Prof. Dr. Syeda Sultana Razia handed over the Headship to Prof Dr. Md. Mominur Rahman. The meeting was attended by faculty members and faculty staff of the department. Prof Dr. Md. Rahman has more than 20 years of teaching and research experience with expertise in Environmental Pollution Management.

Dr. Nafisa Islam receives the 2020 OWSD Early Career Fellowship Award

Dr. Nafisa Islam of the Department of Chemical Engineering is one of only 23 women scientists in the world who have been selected this year for the prestigious OWSD Early Career fellowship programme. This is the first time that a faculty member from BUET has received this award. Dr. Islam will receive USD 50,000 to lead a research project at the Department. Funding for the fellowship is generously provided by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Further details are available at the OWSD website: https://owsd.net/resources/news-events/meet-2020-owsd-early-career-fellows.

Dr. Islam specializes in developing biomaterials using the principles of “waste to wealth”. Currently, she is developing a product for accelerated wound healing that is extracted using green technologies from the waste of marine industries.