Winthrop Professor Dongke Zhang FTSE, UWA’s Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Centre for Energy, has established "The Zhangs Foundation" with the Australia and New Zealand Section of The Combustion Institute to encourage young and able engineering and science students to take a productive and enjoyable research career in combustion science and technology. Despite the mounting challenges in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, CO2-emitting combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, fossil or renewable, remains in the foreseeable future the dominant means of harnessing usable energy from a variety of fuel sources.
Professor Zhang has also donated $10, 000 to the Foundation to establish the “The Terry Wall Student Best Paper Award”. Named after his PhD adviser, Emeritus Professor Terry Wall of the University of Newcastle, NSW, this award will be presented at the biannual Australian Combustion Symposia, to recognise and encourage students with the best contributions in solid fuel combustion research.
Professor Zhang FTSE says, “Combustion as a discipline of both applied and fundamental science has made enormous contributions to human progress and modernisation of society. Significant achievements cover a wide range of technologies including stationary and mobile combustion engines, aviation and space, pyrometallurgy, materials synthesis, fire control, and air pollution control. Combustion science and research have also driven the development of many advanced diagnostics and characterisation tools which have found many invaluable applications in other areas of science and technology. Combustion itself is a multidisciplinary science too and as such, combustion scientists have always worked with colleagues from many other science and technology disciplines. What has always remained central to the combustion community is the burning of hydrocarbon fuels. However, this very value of the combustion community is being shaken in a carbon-constrained world.”
“Indeed, without burning hydrocarbon fuels, it is quite a challenge for the combustion science and technology community who risks itself to become a subordinate to some other disciplines. The strength of combustion science and technology is our ability to use thermodynamics, chemical reaction engineering and transport phenomena, aided with our mathematical and characterisation skills to address complex combustion and associated problems.”
He adds, “Even in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, the combustion science and technology community should use its knowledge and best skills to continue to focus on improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions of all sorts including CO2, developing new technology to burn low and variable quality fuels (often renewable) while contributing meaningfully to CCS technology development