Jovan Kamcev Wins 2016 AIChE Graduate Student Research Award
From Membrane Research Web Site
Posted 12-6-16

Jovan Kamcev has been awarded the 2016 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award in Separations: Membrane-Based Separations, established to recognize outstanding graduate student research in this area. He is pictured here with Profesor Benny D. Freeman.







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Head shot of graduate student Jovan Kamcev, Paper of the Year award winner  

Jovan Kamcev Wins Graduate Student Paper of the Year
From McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering Web Site
Posted 8-29-16

Jovan Kamcev Wins Paper of the Year


Jovan Kamcev has been awarded the Graduate Student Paper of the Year Award and the Marion Johnson South Texas Section Society of Plastics Engineers Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Chemical Engineering worth $4,000, for his paper entitled “Partitioning of mobile ions between ion exchange polymers and aqueous salt solutions: Importance of counter-ion condensation” published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics in January 2016.





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Alumnus Zachary Smith poses next to a hood in the lab

Alumnus Joins MIT Chemical Engineering Faculty
From McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering Web Site
Posted 6-7-16

Zach Smith (Texas ChE Ph.D. ’14) has accepted an offer to join MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. His faculty appointment will begin Jan. 1, 2017.

Smith completed his graduate training at Texas ChE with Professors Benny Freeman and Don Paul, developing structure and property relationships for gas diffusion and sorption in polyimides, perfluoropolymers, and related materials. His postdoctoral training, under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Long at the University of California Berkeley, focuses on designing coordination solids (i.e., metal-organic frameworks) for selective adsorption-based separations.

“Professor Paul and I are very pleased to see our former student, Zach Smith, get this fantastic opportunity,” Dr. Freeman said. “It was clear from the beginning that Zach was very special and would go far. We could not be more proud of Zach and his outstanding accomplishments to date, and we look forward to watching him grow his own research program and take his place among the leaders in this field.”

Smith’s research at MIT will focus on designing the next generation of polymers and porous materials needed to replace energy-inefficient and environmentally harmful separations currently practiced in industry today.

winners posing with NAM awards  

2016 North American Membrane Society (NAMS) Award Winners!
From Membrane Research Web Site Posted 5-31-16

Jovan Kamcev won first place in his category of posters and one of three NAMS Student Fellowship Awards, the highest student award offered by The North American Membrane Society (NAMS). Michelle Dose and Josh Moon took second and third place for posters in their section. NAMS is the primary technical outlet for membrane research in the United States.

During the event, a close colleague and co-advisor, Dr. Don Paul, was recognized as an inaugural NAMS Fellow.

photo of Dr. Freeman  

Benny Freeman Selected for a Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award
From Membrane Research Web Site Posted 5-13-16

Benny Freeman has been selected for a Fulbright Distinguished Chair award. Each year, there are approximately forty such awards from this program made possible through funds appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress and, in many cases, by contributions from partner countries and the private sector. Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The specific Fulbright Award Professor Freeman has been selected for is sponsored by CSIRO, Australia’s leading multidisciplinary research organization. The area of focus will be “More from Less: Disruptive Separations Technologies for Sustainable Chemical and Environmental Industries.”

The Chair will enable Professor Freeman to undertake research of importance to the bilateral relationship and includes a national public speaking lecture series within Australia.

High School students in the engineer Your World course work on a project.  

UT System Invests $2M to Expand ‘Engineer Your World’ and Offer College Credit to High School Students
From Cockrell School of Engineering Web Site
Posted May 4, 2016

The University of Texas System Board of Regents recently approved $2 million to expand The University of Texas at Austin’s Engineer Your World program to better prepare high school students for college engineering programs and allow them to receive college credits.


Engineer Your World is an innovative one-year high school engineering curriculum developed by the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. The program seeks to provide high-quality, low-cost engineering education and teacher training at the high school level.

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The Passing of Cyril Durrenberger
From McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering Web Site
Posted March 15, 2016

A memorial service will be held 3:30 PM on March 19, 2016 at St. Matthews Episcopal Church located at 8134 Mesa Drive in Austin, TX. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, charitable contributions be made to The Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, Minnesota.


Cyril Durrenberger, senior lecturer in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, passed away Friday, March 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas after a three-month battle with Stage IV lung cancer. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lynn; his two sons, Carl and James; his two grandsons, Jasper and Jackson; and three siblings, Sue Albertson, Beth Hudspeth, and E. Paul Durrenberger. Cyril Joseph


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Photo of Jovan Kamcev

Jovan Kamcev to Receive a University Graduate Continuing Fellowship

Posted on February 24, 2016

Jovan Kamcev was selected to receive a University Graduate Continuing Fellowship for Academic Year 2016/2017 from The University of Texas at Austin Office of the Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. This award speaks highly of his record of accomplishments as a graduate student at the University. The award begins in Fall 2016 and includes 12 months of financial support.


Freeman Graduate Student receiving award certificate


Amanda Paine Wins Society of Plastics Engineers Poster Competition

Posted on March 5, 2015


Graduate student Amanda Paine won first place in a Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) poster competition recently held in Houston, Texas.

The competition was part of SPE’s 2015 International Polyolefins Conference. Paine’s winning poster, entitled “Oxygen Scavenging Polymers for Barrier Applications,” showcases her work in improving oxygen barrier properties in polymer packaging. Her research focuses on improving the shelf lives of foods and beverages by incorporating oxygen scavenging polymers into packaging materials.

Paine was also awarded an SPE scholarship at the conference. She is supervised by Professor Benny Freeman, the Richard B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering, and Professor Donald Paul, the Ernest Cockrell Sr. Chair in Engineering.

Amanda is a member of the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center including UT Austin and led by Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio.


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photo of a man working at a pad site on a pneumatic controller


New Study Measures Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Production and Offers Insights into Two Large Sources

Release Date: 12/9/2014

Researchers find a small percentage of wells accounts for the majority of emissions.

AUSTIN, Texas - A team of researchers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and environmental testing firm URS reports that a small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for the majority of methane emissions from two major sources - liquid unloadings and pneumatic controller equipment - at natural gas production sites.

With natural gas production in the United States expected to continue to increase during the next few decades, there is a need for a better understanding of methane emissions during natural gas production. The study team believes this research, published Dec. 9 in Environmental Science & Technology, will help to provide a clearer picture of methane emissions from natural gas production sites.

The UT Austin-led field study closely examined two major sources of methane emissions - liquid unloadings and pneumatic controller equipment - at well pad sites across the United States. Researchers found that 19 percent of the pneumatic devices accounted for 95 percent of the emissions from pneumatic devices, and 20 percent of the wells with unloading emissions that vent to the atmosphere accounted for 65 percent to 83 percent of those emissions.


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