Cranfield University

Award winning Cranfield research helps to improve energy from waste generation


Source: Cranfield University

Cranfield University research into the removal of synthetic chemicals from biogas has been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Engineers for excellence in engineering that benefits the environment.

The PhD research project, which is looking at the most effective methods for removing these chemicals – called siloxanes - from waste materials, should help improve the cost effectiveness of facilities used for generating energy from waste. Siloxanes are widely used to soften, smooth, and moisten in products such as shampoos and moisturisers and in medical implants, building sealants and lubricants.

The research received the Worshipful Company of Engineers Hawley Award recognising excellence in engineering that is helping to improve the environment.

Siloxanes that end up in our wastewater do not decompose in the sewage system so find their way into the waste matter that remains following the sewage treatment process. They then turn into silicon dioxide, or sand, during the process of burning this waste for biogas and ‘green energy’, which blocks engines and causes costly damage to facilities.

PhD student Caroline Hepburn, who is undertaking the research funded by Severn Trent Water, said: “It is an honour to have been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Engineers for my research. The initial stages of this project have identified the advantages of using online instrumentation to measure siloxanes. I will now be considering the effects of humidity on siloxane removal.”

Caroline was presented with the Hawley Award and a cheque for £5,000 at the Worshipful Company of Engineers’ Annual Awards Dinner, on Tuesday 9 July 2013 at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London, by Sir George Cox, Board Member of NYSE-Euronext and Director of Shorts, the aerospace company.



Notes to editors

The Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Award was established in 2006 and is made annually to recognise excellent work in “Engineering for a better Environment” by a resident of the UK, under 30 years of age at the date of submission, who holds a graduate or post-graduate degree in engineering or science from a recognised UK university, or who is studying for a post-graduate degree at such a university. 

The Hawley Award is aimed at inspiring younger engineers who can best demonstrate the application of proven technology, which they have developed, to make positive improvements to the environment.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers is one of the City of London’s modern Livery Companies and has over 300 members.  The Company promotes the development and advancement of the science, art and practice of engineering.  (

Cranfield University is a wholly postgraduate institution with a worldwide reputation for excellence and expertise in aerospace, automotive, defence, engineering, environment and water, health, management and manufacturing. As the UK’s most business-engaged University, and led by research which is applied to real life situations, we are world-leading in our contribution to global innovation.

For further information please contact: Fiona Siebrits, School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University. T: +44 (0) 1234 758040

Press and Publications Manager
School of Applied Sciences
Cranfield University
Bedfordshire MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0) 1234 758040

For further information about the Worshipful Company of Engineers, please contact:

The Clerk, Worshipful Company of Engineers

Tel: +44(0)20 7726 4820




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