AS a teenager, he tinkered with chemistry sets and made his own electronic gadgets.
Now, some 40 years on, Kwinana-based Alcoa director Ian Harrison is arguably one of the most influential alumina-refining scientists in the world.
Last month, Dr Harrison was awarded the prestigious RK Medal by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for his contribution to process chemistry and chemical engineering.
The director of research and development at Alcoa’s global refining technology delivery group said he was both humbled and delighted to have received the award.
“I would like to recognise the many contributions from the enormously talented people I’ve worked with over the years – teamwork is a critical element to success,” he said.
Alcoa vice-president of refining technology and manufacturing Eugenio Azevedo said Dr Harrison had been an outstanding leader and contributor to Alcoa over the past 23 years.
“Ian and his research team have worked closely with our refining operations and process design and development teams at Alcoa’s Refining Centre of Excellence to help generate a 17 per cent increase in Alcoa’s global refining system’s productivity and a 10 per cent reduction in energy use,” he said.
“This is a multi-million dollar contribution to efficiency and environmental sustainability for our company and strongly supports our goal of coming down the cost curve of production to be an even more globally competitive commodities business.”
Dr Harrison accepted his award at the Asian Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress gala dinner in Melbourne on September 16.