Professorial appointment for town academic Tony
A UNIVERSITY of Ulster scientist from Portadown who played a key role in the establishment of the All Party Group (APG) on Science and Technology at Stormont has been promoted to a personal professorship.
Dr Tony Byrne, a Reader in the School of Engineering and a member of the University’s Engineering Research Institute, has become Professor of Photocatalysis.
After graduating from Ulster with a first class honours degree in Applied Biochemical Sciences in 1993, Professor Byrne embarked on his doctorate studies in Photocatalytic Water Treatment. He was awarded his
DPhil in 1997 and has since gone on to enjoy a distinguished academic career with an international reputation as a respected researcher.
The father of five was appointed lecturer in the School of Engineering in 2005 and after three years in post, he was promoted to Reader.
The Jordanstown based academic has been to the forefront of innovative teaching programmes. He spearheaded the introduction of the honours degree in Clean Technology, the first of its kind in the UK. He is also been involved in many pioneering projects to promote Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM subjects) to younger children.
Professor Byrne’s research focuses on photocatalysis for a range of clean technology applications including solar disinfection of water, the removal of toxic pollutants from water and water splitting using solar energy to generate hydrogen.
He is currently involved in a number of major international collaborative research projects with partners in the USA, India, Spain, Mexico, Norway and the Czech Republic.
“Photocatalysis is the acceleration of a photoreaction in the presence of a catalyst,” he explained.
“For example, titanium dioxide is a white powder normally used in toothpaste and sunblock. If one excites titanium dioxide with UV light it becomes a powerful photocatalyst capable of killing bacteria and destroyingtoxic chemicals in water. If we can use solar energy effectively to drive photocatalysis, then we have a truly ‘clean’ technology.
“Clean Technology is a term used to describe knowledge-based products or services that improve operational performance, productivity or efficiency, while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste or pollution.”
Professor Byrne has used his position as chairman of the Royal Society of Chemistry Northern Ireland section (RSCNI), to ensure that independent scientific advice relating to key issues is made available to the government and that MLAs are fully aware of important technological and educational developments in STEM related areas.
The father of four sons and a daughter, he is principal investigator of a number of international projects to have attracted significant research funding. They include a US-Ireland Initiative funded jointly by DELNI, National Science Foundation (USA), and the Science Foundation Ireland (RoI) for photocatalysis research.
His research has been publishing in leading academic journals including Applied Catalysis B, Water Research and the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
Professor Byrne’s doctorate research on Photocatalytic Water Treatment was supervised by Dr Brian Eggins who is now retired. Other former PhD students of Dr Eggins include John Irvine, Professor of Chemistry at the University of St Andrew’s University and Peter Robertson, Professor of Energy and Environmental Engineering, Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
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Weather for Portadown
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west