On September 22, 2023, Prof. Michael Francis D. Benjamin, PhD of the Department of Chemical Engineering was honored with the 2023 Dr. Michael Purvis Award for Sustainability Research in the 72nd Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology (PhilAAST) National Convention, which was celebrated at the Manila Hotel, Ermita. Recognized for his work on integrated biorefineries handling agricultural waste, Benjamin’s work has been called “essential in assisting our country to achieve energy security and economic sustainability through circular economic approaches.”
The PHILAAST program described Benjamin in this way: “Dr. Benjamin develops various frameworks for designing integrated biorefineries (IBR) using Philippines agricultural residues (e.g., rice and corn-derived). IBRs are biomass-processing plants that produce multiple products in the form of biofuels, power, and chemicals. The development of IBRs in the country is a circular economy (CE) and sustainability approach. His work provides a reference for creating an IBR using local feedstock, thereby valorizing agricultural residues. The utilization of agricultural waste in the country is vital as this could improve energy security by producing biofuels and bioenergy products. Other benefits include increasing farmers’ revenue and reducing poverty incidence due to job creation, an ideal scenario in developing countries. The results from his study are used as input to the Policy Brief Series being prepared by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) entitled Achieving Energy Sustainability Through Integrated Biorefineries.”
A research fellow at the Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, among Benjamin’s major research works and activities are:
- Developed P-graph approaches to optimize crisis operations in an industrial complex in order to minimize manufacturing losses as well as determined critical components of integrated bioenergy systems (IBS)
- A Monte Carlo simulation approach to assess the vulnerability of bioenergy parks to variable capacity disruptions
- A criticality index for component plants to measure the relative impact of a plant’s failure within a bioenergy park using Input-Output (I-O) analysis
- A multi-disruption risk index using an integrated I-O and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)-based method. This network risk index measures the bioenergy park’s robustness to an array of probabilistic plant disruption scenarios.
- A disruption resilience framework to analyze the recovery of disrupted component plants and determine the overall resilience of a bioenergy park using Dynamic Inoperability Input-Output Modeling (DIIM)
In 2019, he was an awardee in the 3rd ASEAN Science Diplomats Assembly. He was also the recipient of the National Research Council of the Philippines Research Grant for his project “Development of a P-graph based model for designing Philippine agricultural waste-based integrated biorefinery”.
This award is one of the annual awards of PhilAAST, an association comprised of scientists and technologists. PhilAAST was founded in 1951 and its main objective is to promote the value of science in our community.