Kenneth Denbigh Medal

Kenneth George Denbigh (30 May 1911 – 23 January 2004) was one of the finest Thermodynamicists. His books The Thermodynamics of the Steady State (1951), The Principles of Chemical Equilibrium (1955), Three Concepts of Time (1981) and Entropy in Relation to Incomplete Knowledge (1985) are still pillars for the clear understanding of Thermodynamics and irreversibility.

Kenneth Denbigh was the 1st Professor of Chemical Technology at The University of Edinburgh in 1955, then Courtaulds Professor of Chemical Engineering Science at the Imperial College of London. His last move, in 1966, was to the post of Principal of Queen Elizabeth College, now integrated in the King's College London.

In honour of Kenneth Denbigh and to support his long-lasting legacy, the School of Engineering of The University of Edinburgh established the Kenneth Denbigh Medal.

Kenneth Denbigh interests were broader than purely technical and expository texts to wider social and metaphysical issues. In 1963, during his inaugural lecture at Edinburgh, he pointed out how depressing many of the last manifestations of the industrial revolution had been with their legacy of monotonous jobs and the environmental disasters that our manufacturing cities had become. His remedy was that of social sensitivity to factors less measurable than money.

In the spirit of Kenneth Denbigh, the Medal acknowledges the person who most distinguished in research on generation, conversion, management or utilization of low temperature heat after having faced the challenge of “finding a way” for low temperature heat under the inescapable second law constraints.

After a process involves 37 colleagues from academic and industry and staff from the School of Engineering - The University of Edinburgh, the inaugural Kenneth Denbigh Medal panel is delighted to invite Prof Francis Meunier – Laboratoire de Chimie Moléculaire, Génie des Procédés Chimiques et Énergétiques, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris. Prof Francis Meunier will receive the medal during the 10th Heat Powered Cycles Conference 2023. His lecture on "Challenges for Heat-Powered Processes" will follow the award.

Challenges for Heat Powered Processes

The eruption of important planetary problems, concerning the climate as well as the global carbon and water cycles, forces humanity to revisit its interference with these elements and to address several challenges. The current trend of decision-makers is to promote green electrical solutions, whether to decarbonize industry or intervene on the carbon and water cycles. However, not only do heat powered processes present solutions to these problems, but they are absolutely necessary because they allow to exploit the huge reservoir of waste heat to put it at the service of energy and also of negative emissions as well as of water harvesting or desalination. This new situation requires to revisit heat powered processes since heat sources are modified both by decarbonation and by the need to valorize waste heat of diversified origin and at lower temperature. This huge challenge calls for working methods opening up even more strongly collaborations between interdisciplinary academics, industry and end users.

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