Date of Birth: 28th June 1941
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: a form of charcoal that is very porous and is an excellent filter. Activated charcoal is important in treating poisoning and drug overdoses, removing pollutants from air or water, extracting metals, and purifying sewage.
BIOMASS: living material or the remains of recently dead material, usually plant remains and animal waste
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING: the branch of engineering that deals with the design, building, and use of the machines that are used in factories to carry out chemical reactions
DEXTRAN: a naturally-occurring sugar with various medical, surgical, and laboratory uses. Commercial dextran is synthesised from sucrose (table sugar) by certain types of bacteria.
FLUID DYNAMICS: the study of how gases and liquids move and react to pressures and forces
PROFESSOR EMERITUS: an honorary position given to a distinguished retired professor who continues to teach
XANTHAN GUM: a chemical substance added to various processed foods in order to keep them from separating into their constituents. Xanthan gum is often used in making salad dressings, sauces, frozen foods, and beverages.
Professor Mellowes in a Methodist Local Preacher and President of the Local Preachers’ Fellowship.
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 2
Professor Emeritus Winston Mellowes led the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine with wisdom and efficiency, during a career that spanned over 30 years. He is acknowledged as an expert on fluid dynamics and the technology of sugar cane processing.
Winston Mellowes was born on 28th June, 1941 and grew up in St. Michael, Barbados without the amenities of electricity, telephone or television. He spent his days studying and playing outdoor games. At school, his teachers described him as “bright” and he was also an excellent athlete who represented his school in cricket and track and field.
Hi performance at school earned him a scholarship in 1962 to the newly founded University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. There, he continued to excel in sports and participated in cricket matches. He was one of the first graduates from the campus, and among the second batch of graduates from the Faculty of Engineering.
Mellowes started his career as a lecturer at UWI, St. Augustine in 1971. Over the years, he gained the respect of students and faculty for his skill in both the teaching and practice of engineering. He served as the Faculty’s Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs and Deputy Dean for Postgraduate and Research Matters. He also served as President of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago, President of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Board of Directors of the UWI Credit Union for several years. In 1996, he was made Professor of Chemical Engineering, after serving as Head of Department in 1986 and 1992. He is currently the Editor of The West Indies Journal of Engineering.
Professor Mellowes’ research focused on the sugar industry, its by-products and waste products, and their impact on the environment. He improved the treatment of wastes from the sugar refineries of Caroni (1975) Ltd and promoted the use of modern technologies in the sugar industry regionally. His other research included the impact of air pollution on the environment, isolating dextran from various juices, and the use of biomass from coconuts, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and other crops to produce activated charcoal and biofuels. He received several awards from the Inter-American Cane Sugar Seminar for his organisation of the seminar. At the 2004 West Indies Sugar Technologists’ Conference hosted in Barbados by the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, he received the Best Paper award for his work on Xanthan gum, which identified a new, efficient process for producing the gum from sugar cane by-products. In April 2008, he was granted a US patent for this process.
In 2007, Professor Winston Mellowes retired from UWI and was conferred with the title of Professor Emeritus.
He advises budding scientists to, “Be curious about things around [you]. If [you do] not know, seek answers from those who ought to know.”