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Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos on the staircase of the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering.
The CAST Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers has awarded Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

 For his contributions to process systems engineering and his service to the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) community, Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos has been bestowed with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award from the CAST Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

The award recognizes his long-standing contributions in processes to the systems engineering community. Pistikopoulos is a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, holding the Dow Chemical Chair and the director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute. He was recently named a University Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M.

 Pistikopoulos’ lab develops mathematical models that combine physical principles and AI/machine learning techniques, sort of “digital twins” of actual physical systems, based on which they perform computational experiments “interrogating” them to improve energy efficiency, cost-competitiveness, operability and sustainability.

“The goal is to create sustainable scenarios that make sense from a cost perspective without sacrificing the quality of life,” Pistikopoulos said. “We try to enhance actual experiments with digital-type operations. We essentially get credible forecasts for the future, which we can then implement sooner rather than later.”

The group looks at trade-offs for risk management, safety analysis and other operability criteria through the development of digital prototypes. A current area of application is the electrification of the process industry. 

“Heating based on conventional fuels tends to have a high carbon footprint,” Pistikopoulos said. “This is where novel technologies for heating that are electricity-powered, such as microwave reactors, can play a role towards reducing emissions. This, however, requires integrated solutions and a holistic approach — this is where digital twins can help.”

Pistikopoulos will receive the award on Nov. 14 in Orlando, Fla., at the annual AIChE meeting.

“It's an honor and a privilege to receive an award that comes from peers,” he said. “It's a recognition of my cohort of brilliant students and many colleagues who have worked with me throughout my career, the chemical engineering department at Texas A&M, and the very strong process and safety systems group here.”