The Awards evening was sponsored by BAE Systems, BP, E.ON, Microsoft, NationalGrid and Rolls-Royce.

Process Systems Enterprise Limited a company formed just ten years ago as a spin-out from Imperial College London, has won this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for its cutting-edge mathematical modelling systems developed to help make chemical plants safer and more efficient.

The five-strong team of engineers, Managing Director Prof Costas Pantelides, Strategy Consultants Prof Sandro Macchietto and Prof Stratos Pistikopoulos, Directors Mark Matzopoulos and Prof Nilay Shah, received a tax-free prize of £50,000 between them plus a gold medal for the company from HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the Academy Awards dinner in London last night (5 June). Prince Philip is the Academy’s Senior Fellow and has presented the MacRobert Award almost every year since its inception in 1969.

“We were really impressed with this highly innovative modelling software,” says Dr Geoff Robinson FREng, Chairman of the MacRobert Award judging panel. “gPROMS is now the leading modelling product within the chemical industry and is also widely used at over 200 universities worldwide. PSE excels in design and optimisation of processes and products, troubleshooting and designing optimal operating procedures for chemical plants.”

gPROMS is the tool of choice for some of the most challenging modelling applications worldwide – like the design of new high-performance reactor technology for LG Chem, Ltd, Korea’s largest chemical company. Closer to home, gPROMS has been used to determine the optimal frying time for potato crisps, or to model the caking of detergent in boxes that are left on the shelf too long, in order to improve the product packaging.

Catalyst manufacturers in Germany and catalyst users in Japan rely on gPROMS to evaluate new catalysts for use in large-scale industrial reactors, or on a much smaller scale, car exhaust catalytic converters. A Japanese chemical company used gPROMS to prove a process that will enable garage forecourt reactors to supply hydrogen to a new generation of fuel-cell propelled cars. In fact much of the development of fuel cell technology worldwide relies on gPROMS’ modelling capabilities to predict how these novel systems will perform.

Polymer manufacturers look to gPROMS for enhanced quality product and increase in production. Complex pharmaceutical processes are being improved to minimise impurities and to maximise crystal uniformity. All of these are made possible by the ability to predict how systems will perform based on accurate predictive numerical data.

Now based in Hammersmith, PSE has become the leading supplier of advanced process modelling software and model-based innovation services to the process industries. The company was launched in 1997 as the first spin-off company from the Centre for Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College London and now employs 40 people. Despite being a newcomer in a well-established and competitive market, PSE has grown substantially from its inception and has established a strong global client base of leading companies in the chemicals, fine chemicals, fuel cell, petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, minerals & mining, food and other process industry sectors, as well as their technology suppliers.

“We are thrilled to receive the MacRobert Award,” says PSE’s Managing Director Professor Costas Pantelides. “gPROMS is a great success for UK plc and represents an impressive return from the country’s significant investment in university research.”

Notes for editors

  1. First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award honours the winning company with a gold medal and up to five team members with a tax-free prize of £50,000 between them. Founded by the MacRobert Trusts, the Award is now presented by the Academy after a prize fund was established with donations from the MacRobert Trusts, the Academy and British industry.
  2. Previous winners of the MacRobert Award include Buro Happold in 1999 for the roof structure of the Millennium Dome, Rolls-Royce in 1996 for the Trent aero engine and Oxford Instruments in 1986 for the superconducting magnets used in MRI scanners.
  3. More information is available at  MacRobert Award and  www.psenterprise.com

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton or Tonia Page at The Royal Academy of Engineering