Imperial College London

Welcome to ChemEng's newest academic staff member Dr Gonzalo Guillen-Gosalbez

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Dr Gonzalo Guillen Gosalbez

Dr Guillen-Gosalbez joins us from the University of Manchester and will continue his research on optimisation of chemical systems.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Guillén-Gosálbez who joins the Department as a Reader in Process Systems Engineering and will be associated with the Centre for Process Systems Engineering.

Dr Guillén-Gosálbez works in the field of Process Systems Engineering focusing on research at the interface of engineering, environmental science and computer aided systems design. He completed his Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering at Universidad de Murcia in Spain following which he received his PhD from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in 2005. He then spent two years under the supervision of Professor Ignacio Grossmann (an Imperial College London alumnus) at Carnegie Mellon before joining Universitat Rovira Virgili in 2008 first as an Assistant Professor and then as an Associate Professor. In 2014 he joined the University of Manchester where he led the Computer Aided Process Engineering Lab (CAPE-Lab).

As a student and researcher, Dr Guillén-Gosálbez has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. He was the Top National Student in Chemical Engineering in Spain (highest GPA 1996-2001). He also received the Top Doctoral Student Award at UPC, the Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Outstanding Young Investigator Award (Royal Spanish Academy of Engineering).

We conducted a short interview with Dr Guillén-Gosálbez to find out some more about his work and interests:

1)    What attracted you to Chemical Engineering? Did you have a mentor who inspired you to pursue Process System Engineering?

I think Chemical Engineering is an extremely wide field that has a variety of applications. I was initially very attracted to the opportunities in the field where important theoretical ideas had an immediate application to bring about a positive change. My early career had many inspirational mentors especially ­­­­­­Professor Luis Puigjaner, working at UPC (Barcelona,Spain) who really guided me in my early years and inspired me to become a researcher. Later during my stay in Carnegie Mellon University under the supervision of Professor Ignacio Grossmann, I had the opportunity to get specialised in mathematical programming applied to process systems engineering, which is the research area in which I work at present with a strong focus on the minimisation of the life cycle impact of chemical processes. I am very fortunate to work in this field, there are many intellectual challenges to address and I have the feeling that I can contribute to make this world a better place to live.

I have the feeling that I can contribute to make this world a better place to live

– Dr Guillén-Gosálbez

 

2)    Why is it important to optimise processes in the chemical industry?

The need of the hour in the chemical industry is to design production systems that are sustainable and reliable while also being economically feasible. It will also become very important to quantify and mitigate the environmental impacts of all our processes so I think it’s essential that we have the tools to do so. I think that our approach using computer aided systems is an area that is coming up with a lot of solutions as to how we can reduce our carbon footprint while still having economic viability. Unfortunately, the use of these tools requires advanced skills in optimisation and process systems engineering that are hard to find in practice. Hence, besides developing the necessary tools, we need to make a concerted effort to incorporate them into the Chemical Engineering curriculum so that their widespread use becomes a reality.

3)    Which area of research do you plan to focus on over the next couple of years at the Department?

I plan to continue my work in the field of computer aided process systems engineering especially focusing on sustainable engineering and more precisely on the integration of multi-objective optimisation and Life Cycle Assessment to improve manufacturing systems with a strong focus on environmental and economic factors. I think this is a crucial topic that we need to address if we are to make any progress towards a low-carbon sustainable future.

4)    What has your first week at Imperial College London been like? Are you enjoying London?

I’ve really enjoyed my first couple of weeks! Everyone at the College and the Department has been really welcoming and encouraging. I had the chance to meet quite a few people and had some very interesting discussions with them. The facilities here are really fantastic and of course it’s an honour to follow in the footsteps of distinguished academics such as Professor Roger Sargent. My former advisor, Professor Ignacio Grossmann, is himself an Imperial College alumnus. He already told me about how great this institution is and was very happy to know I was moving here.

5)    How do you like spending your free time?

To be honest, I always work until late and have very little spare time. However, I do enjoy playing the piano at home whenever I have some free time. I love Bach and his Well-Tempered Clavier. Moreover, I’m a big fan of swimming to keep fit and I love theatre plays (I took some theatre lessons in the past and even performed in amateur plays written by Beaumarchais and Chekhov, but I am definitively too bad to work in Hollywood!).

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Dr Gonzalo Guillén-Gosálbez and wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his journey with us. 

Reporter

Mikhail Menezes

Mikhail Menezes
Department of Chemical Engineering

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