Activities Organized

Activities in 2016

Research Seminar: Continuous Fractionation: The Latest Development in Palm Oil Fractionation

Speaker: Mr K. K. Khoo, Managing Director of Desmet Ballestra (M) Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Date and Time: 29 February 2016, Monday

Venue: LT 6005, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia​


Palm Oil fractionation is an important step in processing palm oil to be suitable for uses in different applications. Traditionally this process is being carried out in batch stirred reactor where crystals are being agglomerated to the required temperature to meet the specific melting points of the products. The increasing demand for more efficient, more sustainable and optimized processing required the Palm Oil industry to continue in search for new process technologies to remain competitive in the market. Mega size capacity of Palm Oil refineries installation that process more than 2000 tpd are no longer an exception and the economy of scale explains why even the most marginal relative savings in utilities can yield a huge absolute cost reduction. The industrialization of Continuous Dry Fractionation for Palm Oil ​in this respect is regarded as a major step forward for dry fractionation processing. This innovative technological development is not only addressing the optimization of utilities but also to overcome the apparent shortcomings of current batch system with crystal deposits, fouling, product variability and consistency.

Some of the established advantages with continuous fractionation are:

- increased throughput

- improved yield

- lower energy consumption (steam and electivity)

- consistency of product quality

From the first industrialization of this technology in 2011, it is estimated that as of today there are in excess of about 20.000 MT per day of Palm Oil being fractionated in continuous crystallization process. Most of these processes are dedicated to palm oil fractionation and its fractions: superoleins, superstearin and mid fractions. But the technology has also found entry for rice bran fractionation, fish oil fractionation etc.


Mr K. K. Khoo graduated from University of Manchester, UK with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Chemical Engineering in 1983 and a M.Sc. in Operation Management in 1985. He has worked for close to 30 years in the Oil & Fats Industry starting as Project Engineer and then as Plant Manager in one of the leading Palm Oil Refineries in Malaysia. He was elected Chartered ChemicalEngineer and became Fellow of IChemE in 2012. He joined Desmet Ballestra Group in 1992 as General Manager for Malaysia office taking care of the operations in South East Asia region. Later being promoted to Managing Director taking care of the Desmet Ballestra regional offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China covering the South East Asia, Far East Asia and China markets.




Mathematica Training Workshop

Date and Time: 27 November, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Venue: 9-4-05, Building 5, Monash University Malaysia

The workshop introduces the core technologies needed to become an adept user of Mathematica, including the Wolfram Language, the notebook interface, programming fundamentals, visualization and interactivity features, and mathematics and statistics functionality. The course is for anyone who would like to become a proficient Mathematica user. This course is helpful for people with little experience with Mathematica and the Wolfram Language as well as for experienced users who would like to broaden their basic understanding of the system.

Please click here for online registration before 13 November 2015.

Research Seminar: Dye-linked D-amino acid dehydrogenase: Physiological function and Applications in Biotechnology 

Speaker: Associate Professor Takenori Satomura, from Department of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Fukui

Date and Time: 9 September 2015, Wednesday

Venue: 5-4-68, Building 5, Monash University Malaysia


Dye-linked D-amino acid dehydrogenases (Dye-DADHs) catalyze the dehydrogenation of free D-amino acids in the presence of an artificial electron acceptor.  Although Dye-DADHs functioning in catabolism of L-alanine and as primary enzymes in electron transport chains are widely distributed in mesophilic Gram-negative bacteria, biochemical and biotechnological information on these enzymes remains scanty.  This is in large part due to their instability after isolation.  On the other hand, in the last decade, we have found several novel types of Dye-DADH in thermophilic bacteria and hyperthermophilic archaea, where they contribute not only to L-alanine catabolism but also to the catabolism of other amino acids such as L-hydroxyproline.  In this presentation, we summarize recent developments in our understanding of the biochemical characteristics of Dye-DADHs and their specific application to electrochemical biosensors. 


Dr. Takenori Satomura is an Associate professor in Department of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate school of Engineering, University of Fukui from 2011. Prior to join University of Fukui, he worked as an Assistant professor in Yonago National College of Technology. Dr. Satomura has a PhD in Engineering from University of Tokushima, Japan. 

Research Seminar: Fermentation strategies for bio-based polymer production from microorganisms

Speaker: Dr John Chi-Wei Lan, an Associate Professor attached to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Yuan Ze University (YZU), Taiwan.

Date and Time: 27 August 2015, Thursday

Venue: LT 6008, Building 6, Monash University Malaysia​


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are known for being the fascinating and the largest group of biopolyesters characterised with the dissimilar properties and functionalities. The P(3HB), one of the PHAs polymer, can be synthesised by enzymatic method either through in-vivo approach (by accumulation in bacteria) or through in-vitro approach [polymerisation of (R)-3HBCoA molecules by PHA synthases]. Conventionally, the in-vitrosynthesis of P(3HB) requires a large amount of high-purity synthase, which limits the production of P(3HB) via this route. In addition, the release of coenzyme A (CoA) hampers the synthase activity, leading to a reduction in polymerization. The talk will present the novel approaches attempted in the synthesis of P(3HB) using (i) immobilised enzyme particle performed in expanded bed system and (ii) suspended enzyme in an aqueous two-phase system.
Dr John Chi-Wei Lan is an Associate Professor attached to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Yuan Ze University (YZU), Taiwan. He received his Ph.D in School of Chemical Engineering from University of Birmingham (U.K) in year 2000. He was a research fellow in Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Yamaguchi University, Japan; and Industrial Technology and Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan, respectively, before joining YZU in 2007. He is also the leader of Biorefinery and Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory in YZU and the Managing Supervisor in committee board of supervisors of Taiwan Physiological Society. John was awarded Excellence in Teaching YZU in 2011. His research areas involve bioseparation, biodegradable polymer and bioenergy. In last 5 years, he has published 32 SCI journal articles and presented more than 60 conference papers.

Research Seminar: Chemical Engineering Matters

Speaker: Dr Alana Collis, Technical Policy Manager, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

Date and Time: 20 August 2015, 10.00am to 11.00am 

Venue:  CR 9-3-04, Building 9, Monash University Malaysia​


This event is an opportunity for chemical engineers to learn about IChemE’s Chemical Engineering Matters initiative, and what IChemE can do to better support the profession in Malaysia.


Dr Alana Collis, Technical policy manager, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). Dr Alana Collis is responsible for development and delivery of IChemE’s technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters. The key to success is engaging with the chemical engineering community to in order to develop strategic direction. She manages the policy team at IChemE, working with members to research and produce policy papers and position statements. Following a PhD at the University of Nottingham, UK, she spent time as a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK and City University of Hong Kong. The collaborative research projects included high value products from biomass, catalysis and polymers with multidisciplinary contributions from industry and academia. In other roles, she has worked in business development for sustainable products and processes with a personal care product company and worked on pilot plant development in the pharmaceutical industry.