A water treatment and filtration system developed by an Antarctic PhD Student has won her an important award in chemical engineering.

Dr Kathy Northcott’s design to remove contaminants from water was developed as part of her PhD thesis and was used by the Australian Antarctic Division in its cleanup around Thala Valley near Casey Station.

Dr Northcott, who graduated earlier this year from the University of Melbourne, has received the Alstom Award which recognises outstanding contributions in the industrial field from a chemical engineer under 30 years of age.

The Alstom Award is the only one among the Awards of Excellence in Chemical Engineering that specifically targets young achievers.

Her supervisor at the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Ian Snape said that Dr Northcott had published five papers from her PhD thesis and designed and run a full-scale water treatment plant at Thala Valley.

“Her water treatment system was integral to the cleanup of the area and has made a significant contribution to a major, ongoing project by the Australian Antarctic Division to remediate former tip sites in Antarctica,” Dr Snape said.

The award was announced at the Australasian Chemical Engineering Conference being in Sydney this week.

Dr Northcott is currently doing post-doctoral studies in Japan working on novel technologies for water treatment.