Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and director of WPI's Metal Processing Institute, has received the Audubon Society's Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal.

Established by the society in 1977, the medal recognizes individuals who encourage cooperation between engineering professionals and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to environmental problems.

According to AAES, Apelian was recognized ‘for articulating an inspiring vision of sustainable stewardship of our Earth's resources and then rallying varied disciplines and constituencies within the science and engineering community to collaborate meaningfully toward outcomes that satisfy the interests of industries and conservationists alike.’ The award was presented to Apelian on 20 April at the annual AEES awards banquet and general assembly at the National Academy in Washington, D.C.

‘I am thrilled that the award recognizes an idea: the recovery of material resources,’ said Apelian. ‘The concept and this movement are much larger than any of us and the recognition of this initiative is quite satisfying.’

Materials recycling

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Apelian is founder and director of the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3), which was established in 2010 with a five-year, US$400,000 award from the National Science Foundation. CR3, a member-driven collaborative led by researchers at WPI, the Colorado School of Mines, and KU Leuven in Belgium, advances technologies for recovering, recycling, and reusing materials throughout the manufacturing process.

CR3, whose members include Alcoa and Global Tungsten & Powders, researches sustainable practices and processes, protecting and preserving natural resources and reducing energy costs and increasing profitability. It has found ways to recover rare earth metals from the phosphor in spent fluorescent lamps, reducing dependence on rare earths exported from China.

Apelian was the first person from WPI to be named a fellow of APMI International and his work in molten metal processing, new aluminum alloys, and innovative casting techniques has resulted in more than 600 publications and 11 books. 

This story is reprinted from material from WPI, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.