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ChE makes it three
Ashenfelter sweeps design competition
Trine University’s McKetta Department of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering made it three wins in the past four years when Trine student Brian Ashenfelter swept all the top awards at the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) National Student Design Competition. Ashenfelter presented his design at the AIChE annual meeting and was recognized for his accomplishments at its awards dinner Nov. 8 in Nashville, Tenn.
Ashenfelter’s design was selected the overall winner of the competition, earning the A. McLaren White Award. It also won the Safety and Chemical Engineering (SACHE) Walt Howard award for an individual best application of process safety for a 2008 design contest solution and the Safety and Health Division Design Award for the best individual utilization of the principles of inherent safety in the 2009 AIChE student contest problem.
His design, detailed in a 120-page report, recorded a process by which a bio-fuel can be produced by making butanol from corn. The design competition began in the 1930s, and is the defining natinal contest for chemical engineering, said Dr. John Wagner, chair of the McKetta Department.
“A Trine student has won design for three of four years and safety three of four years, and we got both awards this year,” Dr. Wagner said. “This pulls together all of our curriculum, so it shows Brian assimilating all of his years of study and thinking outside the box to take on a design he’s unfamiliar with. It’s a nice feather in his cap.”
“This is a remarkable accomplishment for Brian, our chemical engineering faculty, and any faculty member who taught Brian at Trine,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Finley. “At the undergraduate level, we have consistently demonstrated that we provide a better education than any chemical engineering program in the country.”
Wagner, all seniors in Trine’s chemical engineering class, chemical engineering technician Michael Imboden and Dr. Majid Salim of the department attended the AIChE awards and annual meeting.