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About | Ir. Ts. Dr. Zaki Yamani Zakaria Official Page

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About Ir. Ts. Dr. Zaki Yamani Zakaria

Ir. Ts. Dr. Zaki Yamani bin Zakaria acquired his first degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Bradford, England in 1999 and Chemical Engineering Master Degree from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 2004. After that he worked as a chemical engineer in an oil and gas related company and an as a process engineer in an edible oil refinery. He joined the faculty as a lecturer in July 2008. He then continued to pursue his PhD in Chemical Engineering also in UTM and had successfully graduated in 2013. His PhD research dealt with catalytic reaction engineering, where the title of his PhD is “Catalytic conversion of glycerol to olefin”.

Dr. Zaki Yamani is a Professional Engineer (PE) under the of Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) since 2011, a Chartered Engineer under the Engineering council of UK since 2011, a Professional Technologist under Malaysia Board of Technologist (MBOT) since 2018, a Certified Energy Manager under ASEAN Energy Management System (AEMAS) since 2016. He is also a member of Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK (IChemE) and Associate ASEAN Engineers.

Dr. Zaki Yamani is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). He is member of Chemical Reaction Engineering Group (CREG) and member of Resource Sustainability Research Alliance of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Between 2014 and 2016, in the faculty, he was the head of Universiti-Industry Exchange Program (UNIX) and head of Analytical Laboratory. He did extremely well in managing and marketing both UNIX and Analytical Laboratory, which can be seen from the number of internships as well as income generation for the lab. In August 2016, he was appointed as the Facility Manager for Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering (FCEE) where among his responsibilities are to manage     34 laboratories and IT related matters in FCEE besides leading and managing 43 technical staffs under him. The scope of his job also covers safety and health aspects, managing purchase of state of the art lab equipment in the FCEE (valued more than RM20m) and work alongside Pejabat Harta Bina (PHB) for selected laboratory renovation/upgrading projects. To date, he has been servicing UTM for almost 11 years, started off as a lecturer and continuously doing well as a senior academician as well as an active researcher.

Dr. Zaki Yamani has a strong background in reaction engineering, more specifically in catalytic reaction engineering which deals with catalyst development, characterization, testing of raw materials to higher value added compound. As an established researcher in his area of expertise, he is not only teaching the undergraduate courses, but also Master courses (MKKH and MKKK) since 2014. He is also actively involved in supervising undergraduate final year project and postgraduate research project at Master and PhD level. At the moment he is supervising 3 PhD students and 3 MSc students. He also co-supervises 4 PhD students and 1 MSc student. 20 students (taught course and research) have successfully completed their research dissertation under him (between 2015-2019) and graduated.

Collectively, he has been the project leader for 4 research grants, including Research University Grant (RUG) and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), amounting to approximately RM200,000 since 2009. He is also a research member for another 28 research grants, which cover various RUG Tier 1 & Tier 2, Flagship-Research Group and High Impact Research Grant (RUG); FRGS & LRGS (Ministry of Education), eScience grant (MOSTI), Contract research DTD, TRL Limited QSTP-B Qatar Foundation totalling up to more than RM2 million. Not only with local university, he also focuses on industrial collaboration (previously via UNIX program) where he has signed a Secrecy Agreement with Ciba Vision Johor Sdn. Bhd. on 17/12/2015 as an initial step towards further collaboration, which in 2018 progressed successfully to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UTM.

With the received research grants, Dr. Zaki Yamani has successfully published 89 indexed/refereed journal papers in various reputable journals which resulted produced 269 citations and H-index of 8 (source: utmscholar) since he joined UTM 10 years ago. He has also contributed chapters in 2 published books which are “Process Plant Equipment: Operation, Control, and Reliability” (ISBN: 978-1-118-02264-1) and “Dictionary of Industrial Terms” (ISBN: 978-1-118-34457-6), both under Wiley Publication, 1 book about Heat Exchanger (UNIMAP) and 1 ISBN self-published book titled “Ramblings of a Chemical Engineer” (ISBN: 9789671615805).

Teaching, particularly Engineering Education has been Dr. Zaki Yamani’s passion. He shares knowledge and experiences in his Chemical Engineering World blog and Chemical Engineering World Facebook Page (32k Followers) since 2006. Upon becoming a lecturer, he actively applies Active Learning (AL), Corporative Learning (CL) and Corporative Problem Based Learning (CPBL) in his teachings. Under Centre of Engineering Education (CEE), he occasionally becomes a trainer and facilitator for various Student Centred Learning (SCL), AL, CL and CPBL courses and workshops organized in and outside UTM. Among recent workshops were in 2018 where he co-trained 30 Afghanistan lecturers in an AL and CL workshop and in February 2019 where he became a facilitator for a SCL Workshop for secondary school teachers in Johor Bahru vicinity. He has also been a regular jury for the Low Carbon Problem Based Learning (PBL) competition since 2016 involving secondary school students which are organized by CEE UTM, District Education Department of Johor Bahru, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the Kyoto Environment Activities Association (KEAA) and the Kyoto City.

He was also invited to Politeknik Tun Syed Nasir Syed Ismail (PTSN), Pagoh twice as Industrial Visiting Lecturer to deliver Basic Petroleum Technology (DG6222) lecture and as Head Jury for PTSN Final Exhibition and Contest Project 2018. Dr. Zaki Yamani is also active in providing training related to Process Safety Management. The most recent trainings that he delivered were Process Safety Management (PSM) for Operation and Maintenance” (in-house training for IOI Pan-Century, Pasir Gudang)(2019) and Process Safety Consideration in Palm Oil Industry (partipated by 15 palm oil processing related companies)(2018).

Commercialization is an area Dr. Zaki Yamani love to contribute and he managed to co-author a “Workbook on Effective Implementation of Student Centered Learning Part 2: Developing and Supporting Team Based Learning Using Corporative Learning”, which successfully generated RM12,380 and RM13,400 in 2017 and 2018, in sales and licencing.

Dr. Zaki Yamani has received 2 Best of the Best Awards in iPHEX 2015 and 2017, 3 Gold medals in iPHEX 2015, iPHEX 2017 and NALI 2018, 1 Silver medal in INATEX 2016 and 1 Bronze medal in UG Grand Challenge Competition 2018. He is a genuine practitioner of blended learning that he received Award of Excellence (Active Blended Learning Course) in 2018, 2017 and 2016. Besides that he was the top 3 finalist in the 2017 Webometric Award in Citra Karisma 2017 and won the Webometric Award for Individual Category for FCEE 2016.  On top of all above, he was awarded FCEE Dean’s Special Award for his contribution for the success of FCEE Anugerah Kecermelangan Akademik (AKA) in 2017 and 2018. He was also been recognized as valued Peer-Reviewer for BCREC Journal in 2018. In view of his excellent achievements, he was granted Anugerah Kecermelangan Staf FCEE (2016) and Anugerah Kecermelangan Staf (APC) in Citra Karisma 2017. To wrap his administration contribution, he was awarded Anugerah Kecermelangan Staf SKT 2018 for his contribution and service as FCEE’s Facility Manager. Dr. Zaki Yamani has 8 copyrights documents (4 in 2015, 2 in 2017 and 2 in 2018). He also has 1 patent (PI 2011700117) to his name as a co-inventor.

Reflected by his research expertise, he has also been appointed to be in the Review Editor of the Editorial Board of Bioenergy and Biofuels, a specialty of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Energy Research. He has also been appointed to review a number of research papers, both nationally and internationally and to date, he has reviewed numerous manuscripts. He has also served as a technical review committee in a few international conferences such as International Conference of Low Carbon Asia. To brush-up on his organization and leadership skills, he had also been involved in the technical committee for International Conference of Low Carbon Asia (2018) and Regional Conference on Chemical Engineering 2016 in various portfolios.

In terms of income generation for UTM, Dr. Zaki Yamani has also put some effort to contribute where he has been involved in several consultation projects amounting to more than RM1 million. The projects include Penilaian Awal Tapak (PAT), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), “Program Peningkatan Keupayaan dan Pemantapan Pengurusan Buangan Klinikal di Malaysia” under Department of Environment (DOE), Speaker and assessor for “Program Sebaran Hasil Kajian KKP Di bawah RMK10 bagi Mengkaji, Mencadang dan Membangunkan Pelan Tindakan Penambahbaikan KKP di Sektor Pembuatan Logam” under Department of Safety Health (DOSH). He also was part of the team of the 9th Regional Conference on Chemical Engineering (RCChe 2016) & 1st Postgraduate International Symposium on Chemical & Energy Engineering (POISChe 2016). In a different note, when we was the Head of Analytical Lab and Facility Manager in Faculty of Chemical & Energy Engineering, the annual income for lab services consistently ranged above RM150,000 (2014-2018) with the peak was at 2017 which is RM250,000.

Apart from academic activities, Dr. Zaki Yamani is also a person with aspiration in grooming the students towards becoming a more effective person and guiding them in the road to excellent graduation, more specifically during his years as an Academic Advisor. He has been an academic advisor since 2014, which was his first batch of students that all have successfully graduated and now he is an academic advisor for a new batch of students (presently in their 1st year).

As a well-balanced person, Dr. Zaki Yamani is also active in sports and recreational activities where he represents the faculty as one of the players in badminton, football, volleyball, futsal and athletics in UTM staff sports carnival every year. He is also actively involved with community services as he is presently the Head of Program Bureau for Surau Al-Taqwa, Treasurer for Kursus Asas Haji Program and Head of Communication Committee for Koperasi Surau Bestari, all which is in his residential area.

In conclusion, Dr. Zaki Yamani is an all-rounded academician, where he has managed to show outstanding performance as a good teacher, researcher, author, leader, academic advisor, sportsman and consultant, as well as in giving academic and societal services to the faculty, university and the society.

(Updated on 23rd February 2019)



Bit of My Background

I was inspired to choose chemical engineering when I first saw the chemical formula from my father’s chemistry book. The chemical formula shapes look fascinating and interesting to me.

My father is an organic chemistry lecturer in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). When I was 14, I read his organic chemistry book and willingly learn from it by myself. When I was 17, I wanted to have a career associated with chemistry. Back then, my first choice was chemical engineering and my second choice was biochemistry. To be honest, I was unaware of what chemical engineers do and what the industry is like. I could not imagine it due to lack of exposure and information.

After completing my high school education, I pursue my A-Levels and took 3 core subjects which are essential for engineering: Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Then I continued my degree in chemical engineering. I managed to get a place in Bradford University, United Kingdom. I was unlucky because in our contract, practical training or sandwich course is not included by our sponsors. Therefore, we don’t have any valuable practical and industry exposures. That doesn’t matter and I keep on studying until I graduated in 1999.

Post graduate – Research and Development

After completing my degree, I returned to Malaysia and was appointed as a research assistant for 5 months in UTM. I joined “Chemical Reaction Engineering Group” (CREG) which its main research was developing the single step conversion of natural gas to gasoline using zeolite catalyst. It was a very interesting topic and that encouraged me to further my chemical engineering masters degree in it. Hence, I then became a full time research student and my research title was Optimization of Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) Using Experimental Design”, which is part of the natural gas to gasoline research project. As a master’s student, I conducted a thorough research, synthesized catalysts, run experiments, optimized reaction, published technical papers, presented posters and participated in related science-technology exhibitions. I learned and used various analytical equipments such as X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR), Atomic Adsorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Nitrogen Adsorption (NA), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Gas Chromatography (GC). Besides that, I developed my own experimental rig to study the reaction of natural gas and the catalysts that I synthesized. To optimize the experiment, I used “Response Surface Methodology” (RSM) – “Central Composite Design” (CCD) from Statistika software. The software enabled me to arrange my experiment systematically and I can easily obtain a model equation for the reaction. With CREG, we won numerous local and international awards from our research and inventions. It was such a great honor to be part of a successful research group.

Oil & Gas Exposure – Servicing Company

After completing my masters, I was offered a job as chemical technologist for a local oil and gas servicing company. In a year, I became a project/chemical engineer in the same company. My main task was to lead the “internal pipeline chemical cleaning” project for a local oil company. We basically have to assist the oil company to reduce corrosion activities inside the downstream pipeline and prolong the life span of it. The pipelines were chemically treated using degreaser and corrosion inhibitors; and physically cleaned using pigs. It was part of my responsibility to ensure correct formulations as well as performing necessary test to ensure the chemicals were fit to perform its duty. To efficiently and effectively monitor corrosion activities in the pipelines, we utilized latest corrosion monitoring techniques such as electronic resistant probe (ER) and field signature method (FSM).

I was also in charged of the oil and gas specialty chemicals. I traveled to a number of offshore platforms in East Malaysia to conduct deoiler and descaler tests for their oil reserved. It was very challenging and fun performing those tasks. I love going offshore because the working hours are less compared to the amount of time we spent on the platform. The foods are marvelous and comparable to 5 star hotels. Entertainment and other activities such as television, movies, snooker, ping-pong, gymnasium and reflexology chair are made available for the platform dwellers. To be able to go offshore, I have to undergo Helicopter Under Water Escape (HUET) training and get myself an offshore passport.

With this job, I traveled extensively and visited neighboring countries, Singapore and Indonesia, for work purpose of course. In Kalimantan, Indonesia, I joined our company principal to conduct bottle test field trial for local oil company on their onshore oil rig. It was a very interesting and exciting assignment because I got to see how simple the setting of an onshore oil rig because in Malaysia we only have expensive and complicated offshore oil rigs/platforms.

Oil & Fats Industry – Refinery and Other Challenges

I love my oil and gas career but I was unfortunate because I could not continue being in that industry. The company management has bigger plans and they moved to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. I was instructed to transfer which I could not do because I don’t want to hinder my wife’s career establishment as a lecturer/researcher/consultant in UTM and we also have just purchased a house in Johor Bahru in the same year.

I seek for other jobs and managed to get one in a physical refining plant associated in the oil and fats industry. This is a whole new chapter and totally different from my previous job. I’m required to scan in and out every time we enter or exit the factory. Life is no longer as flexible as before. I don’t have ample time to do my work and that made me work longer hours and I always reach home when it’s already dark. I don’t really mind because it’s a new working environment and I know I have to learn as fast as possible. I set my target to know everybody around my circle of work as soon as possible.

My first task given by my boss was to identify and list down all the valves in the plant I’m in charged of. It was an interesting and good assignment. It made me traced the entire pipeline from the feed tank to the plant and to the product tank. I learned a lot of stuff regarding valves. I know and understand various types of valves, brand/ origin, sizes, spare parts, principle/operation, tag number etc. In addition to that, indirectly, I learned about the plant process and operation. That was just the beginning.

Being in a process plant is a perfect place to learn and put in practice your unit operation knowledge. It also gave me a better comprehension on what process control is all about. I learned about other supporting units like heat exchangers, cooling towers, boilers, utility boilers and much more. The learning curve continued everyday and never stopped.

Not only that I learn about all the technical stuff, handling manpower and conflict is another challenging area that I made myself good at. Manpower is not an easy matter to deal. Some of my down line manpower never experienced any disciplinary action taken when they violated certain laws such as coming in late and simply not coming to work. Despite a series of reminder and warning, the bad attitude still continues. I could not stand it. With the support of my senior colleague, I enforced the discipline and forced them to obey. I gave the problematic staffs some disciplinary action. I want them to learn some lesson and be more serious on their responsibility and work.

During plant shut down or some called it turn around, I learned a lot. Techniques on ensuring the fastest and effective way to cool down the plant, managing and coordinating a team of people to service the plant, conducting air test, steam test and driving the plant start-up are among some knowledge I acquired during 4 shutdowns of my plants.

Academia and Research

In 2008, I became a lecturer in UTM. It was my dream to be a lecturer all this while. I can really expand my capabilities and developed my skills further. Now sky is the limit. I am free to do anything as long as it is related to Chemical Engineering. My main role as an academician is to teach, and I must say I love teaching and sharing. Following are the subjects that I teach and have taught in the past 3 years: Introduction to Engineering, Process Control & Instrumentation, Engineering Economics and Project Management, Accident Investigation, Process Control Laboratory, Plant Design Project, Final Year Project.