7 September 2004 — Durban, South Africa. The 2004 Neale-May Gold Medal was awarded by the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE) to the ‘IFT team‘ of Jon Buzzard, Brent McKeon, Philipp Steiner and Dave Arnold.
“The Gold Medal Award is granted for outstanding achievement in chemical engineering or process technology in its broadest definition. Unusually competent technical design and execution carried out essentially within Southern Africa, including commercial implementation and with at least an element of innovation, are the main criteria. As engineering is largely a team effort, the award is more likely to be made to a group, though not necessarily so.”
Furfural is one of the oldest sustainable green chemicals. “… it is only a lack of research which prevents furfural and its derivatives from flooding the world in a stunning variety of different applications” (K.J. Zeitsch, The Chemistry and Technology Of Furfural and its many By-products, Elsevier 2000). We pay tribute with this award to the late Dr. Karl Zeitsch, the father of SupraYield® technology who’s hope is turning into reality as this gold medal is “… moving the field of furfural and its by-products into the lime-light it deserves” – Dr. Karl Zeitsch.
As a team we also are indebted to:
- Our families, spouses and partners for their love, tolerance and understanding;
- IFT’s board of directors and shareholders for the strategic and financial support and guidance;
- Proserpine Sugar Mill’s board of directors and furfural management team who with confidence and vision invested in this award winning technology;
- the staff and the support teams at IFT and the University of KwaZulu-Natal;
- the University’s forward-looking research policy that enabled the this co-operation;
- the superb technical back-up of the School of Chemical Engineering and the students who have worked on the project.