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IOR honours individuals for innovative waste and low GWP cooling research

The organisation’s annual dinner saw several individuals awarded for their research in a range of fields such as improved efficiency in low GWP systems and the potential for cooling from waste heat

Research into the potential use of solar energy and waste heat sources to generate cooling functions and ensuring improved efficiencies for lower GWP refrigerant were among several projects honoured at the IOR’s 119th annual dinner in London yesterday (February 21).

The event, which was hosted by current institute president Kevin Glass, saw several individuals at different stages of their careers in the cooling sector receiving awards for work the IOR said would have potentially transformative effects on industry thinking.

Among the recipients was Eman Hussein from the University of Birmingham, who received the Ted Perry Award for Student Research.

Ms Hussein was honoured for work considering the development of advanced metal organic framework materials with high level of water adsorption.

Judges said that the work looked at both the theoretical assessment of materials and practical development of adsorption heat pump technology. Praise was offered for “showing in-depth knowledge of applications where solar energy and waste heat sources can be used to produce cooling.”

The IOR Service Engineers Section Lifetime Achievement prize was meanwhile awarded to Joseph Birch of SJJ System Services in recognition of his career in engineering that has ranged from working on refrigeration and electric controls, to understanding changing environmental considerations. 

The IOR added,” Joseph has also shown his commitment to the future of the industry by passing on his knowledge to the next generation and supporting this small company’s first apprentice for the last four years.”

Chris Druce was given this year’s IOR Lightfoot Medal for producing a paper and talk looking at the impacts of refrigerant charge on capacity and efficiency of a system using low GWP refrigerant.

The prize is based on a members’ vote to consider the best talk or webinar from the IOR over the last 12 months.

The J&E Hall International Gold Medal, intended to recognise significant practical contributions to global refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump development has this year been awarded to Mark McLinden of the US-based National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

Mr McLinden was selected by the IOR judging panel for his work in the realm of more environmentally friendly refrigerant, which the institute said was the largest challenge currently facing industry.

The IOR stated, “Our winner and his team used the fundamental thermodynamic characteristics of the ideal refrigerant to carry out a systematic and exhaustive screening of a database of over 60 million molecules. The 60 million molecules were ultimately reduced to a set of the 27 ‘best’ candidates.”

According to the judging panel, Mr McLinden’s work has been vital in providing various industries with technical guidance on new refrigerant approaches as pressure grows for lower GWP products that can ensure efficient cooling or heating performance.

Brexit concerns

Alongside unveiling this year’s award recipients, Kevin Glass spoke at the dinner on ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, which he described as the most important issue facing the cooling industry and the UK at present.

With just over 30 days till the UK is scheduled to leave the EU as a member state, Mr Glass said it was already too late to have given businesses and industry the certainty to prepare for a change that will have ongoing ramifications for potentially decades to come.

He said, “We should be under no illusion as to what a so-called hard Brexit will bring. The nation’s food chain, medicines, healthcare, critical industries and our ability to maintain our cities as productive places to live and work all depend on an efficient and fully functioning refrigeration economy.” 

“This in turn depends on the free flow of goods and services across the continent.”

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