Engineering student wins award for innovation

James Wayman Engineering Prize

27 November 2013 

An Aston University student has won a prestigious engineering award for developing an innovative method of calculating industrial energy costs while on his placement year. 

James Wayman received the Combustion Engineering Association’s (CEA) Young Engineer Research Prize and a £500 cheque Lord Chidgey (pictured above with James) at a special ceremony in the House of Lords. 

The Mechanical Engineering student had been working at AB Sugar, one of the world’s leading sugar producers, in their Cantley factory. James was tasked with creating a system capable of working out the financial savings the company would make by changing the way the factory’s onsite energy plants generated power. 

A panel of Young Engineer Research Prize judges comprised of CEA committee members found James’ work, called ‘Boiler House Modelling’, demonstrated the application of his thermodynamics knowledge and solved a ‘real world’ problem.

I’m delighted and very proud to win the Young Engineer Prize

James said: “I’m delighted and very proud to win the Young Engineer Prize. I would like to thank Dave Smith, a Teaching Fellow at Aston University, for imparting his thermodynamics knowledge in the years leading up to my placement – I guess it paid off. 

“It was a large and very challenging job to produce a thermodynamics model which could work out the best way to optimise fuel cost and electricity revenue considering the sheer size of the factory. I thoroughly enjoyed putting into practice everything I have learned so far, though.” 

AB Sugar’s factory in Cantley processes approximately 9,500 tonnes of sugar beet every day. To provide enough energy to power production, the factory’s onsite plant has a capacity of 13MW – more than the Eurostar requires. 


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or