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Former Energy Institute Student Honored with Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

By: Raven Wuebker - April 10, 2024
Dr. Yuhe Tian
Dr. Yuhe Tian

Dr. Yuhe Tian, a Texas A&M chemical engineering doctoral student from 2016 to 2021 who worked in the Texas A&M Energy Institute, is being honored with the the Foundations of Computer-Aided Process Design (FOCAPD) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. FOCAPD is the premier international conference focusing exclusively on the fundamentals and applications of computer-aided design for the process industries. It allows the process design community to come together and discuss the biggest trends in the field from a big-picture perspective.

While at Texas A&M University, Tian’s faculty advisor for her dissertation was Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute.

“Receiving very strong support from my advisor and also my committee members is definitely a great guide for my work,” Tian said. “To receive this award is a testament to the high quality of the research we’re conducting in the Texas A&M chemical engineering department.” 

The award recognizes Dr. Tian’s outstanding contributions to the field with her Ph.D. research, which is oriented around a computer-aided process intensification framework.  Process intensification offers the potential to substantially improve chemical and manufacturing processes with step changes in energy savings, cost reduction, and environmental impact minimization. 

“What interested me most is that this research is built on a novel perspective to synergize generalized phenomena-based representation with state-of-the-art process optimization, thereby driving systematic process design intensification via computational discoveries,” Dr. Tian said.  

To receive this award is a testament to the high quality of the research we’re conducting in the Texas A&M chemical engineering department.

Dr. Yuhe Tian

The holistic scope of the research aims to incorporate process safety and control considerations into process design, which is key for chemical process operations, particularly in the digital era, according to Dr. Tian. 

“An integrated process and safety systems engineering approach, like the one developed by Dr. Tian, has the ability to deliver a process design that is cost-optimal, flexible, controllable and safe at the same time,” said Prof. Pistikopoulos. 

He also explained that this type of AI-based method is becoming more relevant as we seek to safeguard systems and operations against unforeseen events in real time. “We have taken this work to a level not only to perform computer-based simulations but also close-the-loop by performing experiments for validation, monitoring and further optimization,” Dr. Pistikopoulos said. 

After graduation, Dr. Tian joined the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at West Virginia University as an assistant professor. She will continue her research with process intensification, along with developing new research areas for microwave-assisted energy production and safety-critical cyber-physical systems control. 

“I am very proud of her; she went directly out of Ph.D. studies to an academic position, which is quite unusual,” Prof. Pistikopoulos said. “That’s a token of how good she is. It’s a very competitive field, and getting an award from her peers is obviously something to be proud of.”

This article was written by Raven Wuebker and first appeared at: