Material and Process Synthesis Research Unit

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The Material and Process Synthesis research group (MaPS) at the University of South Africa (Unisa) specialises in novel techniques for designing chemical processes with an emphasis on reducing material and energy consumption as well carbon dioxide emissions. MaPS provides access for industry to the latest cutting edge techniques developed in the academic arena. These solutions range from short term consulting services through to medium or long term outcome focused research and development partnerships. The team has successfully completed projects for over 60 local and international companies and has the skills and resources to provide you with the key to your next process opportunity.

Research Group:

MaPS is currently in a growth phase and is maintaining the high standard of fundamental and contract research produced by the Unit. The Unit is led by two Directors, Prof Diane Hildebrandt and Prof David Glasser, and currently has more than 20 postgraduate students involved in both fundamental and contract research projects. Apart from the academics involved, the Unit also employs more than 10 full-time consultants, most of whom hold PhDs in Engineering or Science, technicians and three administrative staff.
Our team is considered to be the originators of the Attainable Regions (AR) Method for process design. Without this significant contribution to this research area, very little progress would have been made towards new Process Engineering Design Methodologies. This work has been acknowledged internationally by both Industrial and Academic organisations and now appears in most textbooks on the subject.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has recognised and supported this research through both the Competitive Industries (CI) Fund and Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP) and by giving B1 and A1 ratings to the Directors. There has also been international financial support for the research from bodies such as the National Science Foundation (USA), for collaborative projects involving this research.

The individuals in the Research Unit have established contract research projects with major industries (Sasol, De Beers, Anglo Platinum, Anglo Coal, Golden Nest International and Linc Energy, Australia) with a focus on applying Process Synthesis Techniques to real problems in order to develop new methodologies.

The ability of MaPS to engage in commercial consulting and research has given the individuals at MaPS a unique opportunity to put into practice the theoretical developments in Process Synthesis that were pioneered over the years. The major benefits from this work should be reduction of Carbon Dioxide emissions. The projects also fit in very well with the work on catalysis.