Virginia Tech Mining and Minerals Engineering Department Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nikhil Gupta, has been recognized with the Outstanding Young Scientist Award by the SME Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division. This award, established in 1995, recognizes members who have significantly contributed to the workings of SME and the Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division and have an outstanding reputation for professionalism and accomplishments.

Dr. Gupta was recognized for his key contributions in the development, design and demonstration of the hydrophobic-hydrophilic separation (HHS) technology, a process developed by a research team at the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (CAST) at Virginia Tech. This technology has been licensed to Minerals Refining Company (MRC) based in Richmond (VA). Gupta is directly involved with MRC’s 3-tph HHS pilot plant, fulfilling various roles including process improvement, troubleshooting, day-to-day operations, and managing field test programs. The plant is currently operating at a major coal preparation facility in southwest Virginia.

Dr. Gupta also has successfully completed several pilot-scale demonstrations on-field test programs for technologies including the HHS process, FGX vibrating air-tables, and RE roll magnetic separators. He has one patent pending, and has authored several research articles published in various international peer-reviewed media. He has successfully presented his research in various national and international technical conferences. Nikhil possesses significant industry experience prior to joining Virginia Tech, working with companies such as Eriez Magnetics India Ltd., Hindustan Zinc Ltd., and M/s Fomento (Greater Ferromet).

Gupta holds a B.Tech degree with first-class honors from the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, India, and earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mining engineering from Virginia Tech. He is an active member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) and has provided service to its Coal & Energy division as a session chair.