Oct. 12, 2022

UCalgary prof earns international award for his deep knowledge of energy pipeline engineering

UCalgary's Frank Cheng hopes to pass along his expertise as ASM International M. Brian Ives Lecturer
Frank Cheng Award
Dr. Frank Cheng has been named the ASM International M. Brian Ives Lecturer. Submitted

The travel itinerary for a Schulich School of Engineering professor has quickly filled up after receiving a prestigious honour from the world’s largest association of materials-centric engineers and scientists.

Dr. Frank Cheng, PhD, has been named the M. Brian Ives Lecturer by the Canadian council of ASM International.

Not only is he being recognized for his contributions to this country's materials community, but Cheng will also make a technical presentation to each of the eight Canadian chapters of ASM International while serving as a de facto ambassador for both ASM International and ASM Canada Council.

He says he was excited by the news, and was honoured to be acknowledged at an awards dinner in New Orleans in mid-September.

“Winning this award means my research and educational achievements in energy pipeline engineering — specifically pipeline corrosion, cracking and hydrogen embrittlement — have been highly valued by Canadian peers and international colleagues,” Cheng says.

A lifetime of work

Cheng has dedicated his life’s work to pipeline engineering and corrosion science, writing two books and 280 journal papers.

A professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, he also holds several positions, including Canada Research Chair in Pipeline Engineering and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pipeline Science and Engineering.

While his original focus was on traditional energy sources like oil and gas, Cheng says it was an easy transition to start talking about hydrogen, biofuels, geothermal and other emerging energies.

“Energy transition matters to everyone on Earth,” says Cheng, who is also the head of the Laboratory for Research in Energy Pipeline Technology. “As a researcher and educator, I’ve been able to use my expertise in pipelines to study efficient and effective transport for new energies.”

He says his work in hydrogen pipeline technology has received particular interest, as he’s been invited to talk on a variety of stages in Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Slovakia and China.

Passing his knowledge along

Cheng says the Schulich School is taking a leading role in the conversation around energy transition.

From the Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources program, to increasing hires in new energy areas and close ties with industry for carbon emission reduction research, he says the future is bright.

Cheng says current and future students will also be key in driving change in everything from technology and safety, to public policy and environmental conservation.

“I always believe that a proper and timely education to the public is as important as technology innovation,” Cheng says. “UCalgary is located in an important energy city, and we possess a strong capability to support local industry and can make bigger contributions, as compared with other universities, in accelerated energy transition.”

As part of his new duties, Cheng has already spoken at an event in Montreal, and is scheduled to give talks in Calgary and Vancouver later this year before visiting the five other ASM Canada chapters in 2023.

Frank Cheng accepts award

Frank Chen accepts his award.