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Curtin University of Technology
Media Releases 2012

Curtin Sarawak postgraduate student gets commendation from Curtin chancellor

Miri – 4 July 2012 – A postgraduate student from Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently received a Letter of Commendation from the Chancellor of Curtin University for his thesis entitled ‘Experimental Study of a Compartmented Fluidised Bed Gasifier for Fuel Gas Production from Oil Palm Shell Biomass’.

Sabahan Calvin Chok Vui Soon graduated with a first class honours bachelor degree in chemical engineering from Universiti Teknologi Petronas in 2003 and completed his doctorate in chemical engineering at Curtin Sarawak in 2011.

Chok’s thesis advances the process of fluidised bed biomass gasification as a conversion technology that can strategically enable biomass feedstock to supplement diverse energy needs. Specifically, biomass gasification enables the production and co-production of hydrogen, electricity, fuels and chemicals.

The ability of fluidised bed gasifiers to handle a wide range of biomass fuels with minimal pre-processing makes it a preferred technology for many biomass applications because of the diversity of biomass feedstocks.

The scope of the thesis investigates the fluidisation behaviour, hydrodynamic and solid circulation rate in a pilot plant-scale cold flow model with particular reference to palm shell as a biomass feedstock.

By using the research findings, the next step is to design and operate a CFBG pilot plant for palm shell gasification and to realise a compartmented reactor system for biomass gasification for the production of medium calorific value fuel gas suitable for syngas and power generation.

Chok acknowledges many individuals who have contributed to his success. They include his supervisor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Curtin Sarawak, Associate Professor Dr. Chua Han Bing; senior lecturer and associate dean of research training Associate Professor Dr Zhuquan Zhang; and Christina Urai of university’s library.

He is also thankful to Dr. Alexander Gorin of Swinburne University, Sarawak Campus; Dr. Chandrasekar Srinivasakannan of Monash University, Sunway Campus; research partner Wee Siaw Khur; and Dr. Yan Hong Ming from Brisbane.

Chok started his career with Honeywell Engineering as a trainee engineer in 2001. He also worked with MOX-Linde Gases Sdn. Bhd. as a process engineer, and at Curtin Sarawak as an associate lecturer, and at Universiti Teknologi Petronas as a research fellow.

Currently, he holds the position of General Manager of Technology at Platinum Energy, and will be assuming the post of Director of Technology at Platinum Nanochem under a rebranding exercise for Platinum Energy this August. Platinum Energy is a technology commercialisation company that produces a broad range of green chemicals that will go into various large end market segments for intermediate and performance chemicals.

Chok’s research interests and expertise cover biomass gasification, pyrolysis, biofuel, biohydrogen, catalytic cracking, nanomaterial, fluidised bed, green technologies, renewable energy, separation technologies and clean water technologies.  

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my or e-mail to enquiries@curtin.edu.my. Curtin Sarawak can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia.


Outstanding postgraduate student: Calvin Chok Vui Soon.