Oil production expert Professor Malcolm Greaves retires from University of Bath

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Written by:   | Posted 08-September-2014 10:00

A well-known researcher and former lecturer has retired after 41 years working at the University of Bath.

Professor Malcolm Greaves, 73, worked in the chemical engineering department, where he had a particular focus on oil production research.

He officially left ten years ago, gaining the title Emeritus Professor of chemical engineering, but continued to work part-time.

Mr Greaves, from Corsham, said: "I have worked a lot in looking at new methods and processes to get more oil out of the ground, such as the impending dilemma in the North Sea. It's all running down, so how do you get more out? It's not that it's all gone, it's that it's stuck down there.

"Technology has advanced and instead of just recovering 35 per cent from the ground, I have been working to achieving an extra ten per cent which really makes a difference in a world where oil is demanded.

"The university department has grown a lot since I started in 1973. We had little space and there were a small number of students, maybe 2,000 across the whole, with 20 to 30 students in chemical engineering."

The university now has around 15,000 students, and its chemical engineering department has 25 lecturers and researchers.

He added: "About 25 per cent of students are now women who have always shown an interest and always do well. Figures have easily doubled over the years.

"I am very impressed with the teaching. The scenes change, some of the research subjects have changed, and they are dabbling in all kinds of things we never heard of only 20 years ago."

He formed part of a team from Bath which has been developing a heavy oil extraction process called toe to heel air injection (THAI). It has been in development in Canada and is being trialled.

A lot of his research has been focused in Canada, where Mr Greaves studied at the University of Saskatchewan, before completing his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Loughborough College – now the university.

Mr Greaves plans to write a book on transforming heavy oil into light oil, while enjoying time off to travel, and spend time with his family.


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