$330 000 Coal Industry Scholarship success

Friday, 17 June 2016

A new three-year scholarship to better predict metallurgical coke quality from coal properties has been secured by a chemical engineer.

Lauren North, with support and supervision to be provided by the University of Newcastle, has secured a three-year PhD scholarship under the Australian black coal industry’s research program (ACARP). The total value of the scholarship including support to both Lauren and the University is $330,000.

Under this scholarship, Lauren North will work with the Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research on a project designed to better predict coking performance of metallurgical coals.

“I’m looking at the prediction of coke quality using data mining techniques,” Lauren said. “This project has exciting potential applications in the marketing of coal, assessment of green and brownfield developments and in mine planning.”

Working with a team from Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), Lauren will use data mining to explore new techniques to get the best out of coal and coke.

“Our aim is to use data mining to better understand and predict coking behaviours, and explore emerging characterisation techniques looking at the behaviour of coals and cokes,” Lauren said. "Application of data mining to industrial problems has been relatively underutilised, particularly in the metallurgical industries, despite there being masses of data generated that can't necessarily be handled using traditional statistical approaches. For that reason, it looks like a promising method to provide some further insight into the behaviour of coals during coking."

After graduating with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from UNSW, Lauren worked with BlueScope Steel where Lauren’s interest in coal and coke developed.

Inspired by a thirst for discovery, Lauren applied for the scholarship through ACARP and was one of the successful applicants in a very competitive field.

ACARP is 100% owned and funded by Australian black coal producers through a levy paid on saleable coal, with research supported by ACARP aiming to improve mining safety and environmental impacts, efficiency of production and optimisation of the utilisation of Australian coals.

For this three-year PhD by research, Lauren’s supervisors are Dr Karen Blackmore, Dr Keith Nesbitt and Associate Professor Merrick Mahoney.

Related news

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.