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Pachai wins J&E Hall Gold Medal

UK: Alexander Cohr Pachai has been awarded the J&E Hall Gold Medal for the most noteworthy contribution to the advancement of refrigeration and related technologies.

The award to Pachai, which includes prize money of £5,000, was one of the awards made during Thursday night’s Institute of Refrigeration dinner in London. 

Until recently senior engineer and technology manager for JCI, Pachai started as a refrigeration technician apprentice in 1978. During the ensuing 40+ years he has worked to develop environmentally responsible solutions to many challenges faced by the refrigeration industry. These have included compressor development for ammonia, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and water industrial systems, as well as systems for the design for new ways to use these refrigerants. He was also involved in the sales of the first CO2 cascade systems both in Denmark and New Zealand.

In addition to this is consistently shared his expertise with the industry through UNEP, the International Institute of Refrigeration Eurammon and the IoR. He is currently the chair of the IIR Safety Working Group and his chapter lead author on industrial refrigeration for UNEP’s natural refrigeration technical options reform. 

Pachai joins a select list of previous recipients of the award that has included refrigeration greats such as Prof Gustav Lorentzen, Prof Prga Hrnjak, Dr Mark McLinden, and Prof Eckhard Groll.

Lightfoot Medal

The Lightfoot Medal for the best IoR Talk and Paper of the 2021/22 session was made to Dr Dermot Cotter, MD of Star Technical Solutions for his paper Carbon Dioxide Hazard Assessments and Safety System Requirements.

Dr Dermot Cotter with the Lightfoot Medal

The paper establishes a systematic framework to enable industrial refrigeration owners and operators to efficiently and accurately assess and address the risks associated with the use of CO2 in refrigeration systems. In addition to the medal, the award includes a cash prize of £500.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s RACHP Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises an individual’s commitment to a career in service, maintenance or installation engineering, went to Andrew Christie of J&E Hall Cardiff.

Christie, who started with J & E Hall as an apprentice and has been in the industry for over 40 years, was singled out for his continued dedication to his role as a refrigeration engineer, his customer focus and passing on skills to younger engineers.

He receives a trophy and a cash prize of £400.

Ted Perry Award

The Ted Perry Award for Student Research this year went to Henrique Lagoeiro studying at London South Bank University for his PhD research on decarbonising heating and cooling. He received the award for his work on investigating the potential benefits of integrating heating and cooling using waste heat from the London Underground.


Addressing members and guests at the dinner, IoR president, Graeme Fox focused on the Institute’s past, current and future work to promote inclusion and diversity in the RACHP industry, whilst addressing its skill shortage challenges.

Graeme Fox: addressing diversity

He used the occasion to announce the participation of the IoR in the first-ever pan-industry gathering to address diversity and inclusivity with bigger-picture collective thinking. Organisations including BESA, FETA, CIBSE, the Women’s Engineering Society, the Association of Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers (ABFE-UK), ASHRAE and the Black Professionals In Construction Network will take part with the aim to tackle this issue which has been a long term problem for the engineering sector.

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