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Hull engineer wins prestigious award

Release date:
4 November 2016
BP’s Process engineer Alex Kelly has won the Young Chemical Engineer of the Year category in the prestigious Global IChemE Awards

Process engineer, Alex Kelly, was selected as a finalist for his ability to innovate, his technical excellence, a passion for safe operations and his commitment to reducing environmental impact. Alex has also been recognised for his work to inspire and mentor the next generation of engineers.


As the technology lead for one of BP's petrochemical plants he helped achieve a record production rate, implemented a 'first of its kind' upgrade and achieved a record 10 year low in feedstock and utility usages. On a separate project, Alex led a multi-disciplinary team on an emissions reduction project. Utilising the latest technology, Alex identified and successfully implemented an opportunity to reduce NOx emissions by 20% with zero capital expenditure. Outside of his core role, Alex is a member of the BP Schools Link team and has organised and run a number of events and engineering days in schools and colleges.


Alex joined BP as a graduate in 2011, and has spent time in operations, research and the Acetyls optimisation team, before his current role in the Acetyls project team in Hull, where he’s responsible for leading the plant process modelling for SaaBre, the next generation of acetic acid technology.



I’m really humbled to have been selected as a finalist and I certainly wouldn’t have been without the opportunities in BP and the support and mentoring from the great team we have in Petrochemicals, so I owe a lot to the folks I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years.
Alex Kelly,process engineer



The IChemE Awards

The IChemE Awards were created to celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, biochemical and process industries and have been running since 1994. There are around 30 Awards available to enter, including two new Global Award categories: Team of the year and Biotechnology.


The IChemE Awards ceremony takes place in November in Manchester. Seventeen awards will be presented including the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering. This year’s award ceremony comprises of seven finalists from various parts of the world including the UK, Ireland, India, Malaysia and Singapore.


A panel of senior IChemE judges has already completed 50% of the marking, but the final 50% will come from an online vote by IChemE members. Eligible members were sent voting information on 24 or 25 October and voting was open for a limited time.


A selection of videos from the IChemE Global Awards 2016 Finalists are available on YouTube. 


The ceremony was held last night (3 Nov 2016) at the Palace hotel in Manchester and was hosted by Adrian Chiles.  There was a record number of nominations and an extremely high calibre of finalists this year. However we are really pleased to announce that Alex has won the prestigious Young Chemical Engineer of the Year. Congratulations Alex!



To be honest, I still can't quite believe it. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for all their support. I've had the privilege of working with so many great people in BP and it's their mentoring, coaching and support that won this award. The IChemE is the leading global body for chemical engineers globally and the recognition is very special. This award inspires me to continue to do everything I can to make a difference, to keep learning and to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists. Engineering and technology matters, it's the key to a sustainable future and vital to the successful businesses of the future.
Alex Kelly,process engineer



Rising Star

Alex was also recently presented with a ‘Rising Stars’ award. The award recognized Kelly’s work for being the technology lead for one of BP’s petrochemicals plants. He led the process engineering for a major expansion project, developing a process design that included several innovative solutions. 


Did you know?

  • The first IChemE Awards was originally called the Excellence in Safety and Environment Awards
  • BP has been the most successful organisation in IChemE Awards history winning nine times since 1994.
  • Entries from 15 different countries have triumphed at the IChemE Awards. Successful nations include Canada, Bangladesh, Australia, Nigeria, Denmark, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland, Portugal, USA, Ireland and South Africa.
  • QUILL and PETRONAS hold the record for the most wins from a single entry – they received four awards in 2013 for their gas clean-up technology.
  • Nearly 500 entries were submitted in 2015 from 40 different countries.