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Majozi’s book receives a big welcome

- By Wits University

Scientists have lauded Professor Thokozani Majozi’s latest book.

While book launches in academia are a regular affair the launch of an engineering book is not a regular event.

Consequently, the launch of Synthesis, Design and Resource Optimization in Batch Chemical Plants by Majozi from the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, was warmly received by industry, colleagues from within and outside of Wits and students.

A delighted Professor Mahmoud El-Halwagi, Director of TEES Gas and Fuels Research Center, Texas A&M University, said the book bridges a critical scientific gap in the literature on process systems engineering.

“For many years we have lacked a reference book on the subject although there have been many archival journal papers,” said El-Halwagi.

El-Halwagi highlighted fragmentation and language inaccessibility as some of the key problems that challenge authors in this area. Majozi, however, has successfully  conquered this challenge said El-Halwagi who has 30 years of experience in the areas of process integration, synthesis, simulation, design, operation, and optimization.

Majozi delivered a brief lecture after upbeat congratulatory speeches from Professor Zeblon Vilakazi (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs) and Professor Herman Potgieter (Head of the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering).

Facing a multi-disciplinary and intergenerational audience, Majozi put those outside of chemical engineering at ease by first breaking down the title of his book and the implications.

In simple terms, any process which is a consequence of discrete tasks that have to follow a predefined sequence from raw materials to final products is a batch process. Poor batch plant design can result in inefficient utilization of critical resources. More on his areas of expertise.

Majozi used several case studies where his interventions have saved companies millions of rands and contributed the conservation of natural resources. One East London cosmetics company was losing about R7-million per annum in product. A careful study by Majozi and team resulted in 20% reduction in fresh water use and 30% product recovery.

Majozi has also recently received further acknowledgment for his contribution. The Operations Research Society of South Africa conferred a “Category III" award on him on 15 September 2015 for his work in operations research (OR) over long period.

In a letter announcing the honour, the society said: “The award gives recognition to you for the work you have done in the field of OR during the period you spent in the employment at SASOL and for your academic and research work (publications, PhD students, international collaboration, etc.) in the area of OR as well as promoting the use of OR. ORSSA is indeed pleased to honor you in this way.”

Synthesis, Design and Resource Optimization in Batch Chemical Plants,published by CRC publishers, is Majozi’s second book  in this area. His first was published in 2010 by Springer. Collaborators in the recent book are Dr Esmael Reshid Seid and Dr Jui-Yuan Lee.

The book is an international work with 16 chapters, 25 contributors who come from 12 countries. Most of the contribution came from Asia where batch process integration is taking place.

Professor Ian Jandrell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, thanked Majozi for his contribution, which comes in a year that the School Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering celebrates its 21st anniversary.

Jandrell especially commended Majozi for his infectious enthusiasm which was visible in the audience.

“What impresses me about the attendants today is not just colleagues and people from industry, but also the young people present. It talks to the passion that you and your colleagues portray for your subject, it is this passion that draws people into our industry and creates the next generation of scholars and researchers.”