Research Award for a Young Scientist

22 October 2018

As part of the Forest Growers Research Awards, which have been awarded each year since 2011 to recognise outstanding achievements in forest growing research, Nurzhan Nursultanov has been awarded the Research Award for a Young Scientist.

  • Nurzha Nursultanov

As part of the Forest Growers Research Awards, which have been awarded each year since 2011 to recognise outstanding achievements in forest growing research, Nurzhan Nursultanov has been awarded the Research Award for a Young Scientist. Nurzhan is a research engineer at the University of Canterbury Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) in Christchurch.

Methyl bromide, an ozone depleting gas, is used as a phytosanitary treatment for approximately 20% of the logs exported from New Zealand – or around four million tonnes a year.

Phytosanitary treatments are set by importing countries. New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency has determined that beyond the end of 2020 methyl bromide release to the atmosphere will not be allowed. Users of methyl bromide have therefore been seeking alternative treatments for log and horticultural produce exports and have invested several million dollars in a research programme spanning ten years.

One of the projects in this research programme is a non-chemical approach using electrical energy. The University of Canterbury has developed an exciting alternative to methyl bromide log fumigation treatment which has the potential to be used on export logs.

The concept of using electrical heating technology, known technically as Joule heating, has been proven in the laboratory.

Nurzhan has contributed significantly to this project with his doctoral project developing experimental and computational approaches to study Joule heating in wood.

The research has resulted in Joule heating being demonstrated as being effective and having the potential for commercialisation. It also has the potential to be used in preheating logs for slicing and peeling operations in wood processing plants.

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