As the Process Engineering Director of UK-based Boustead International Heaters (BIH) for almost 30 years, David Champneys was a recognised thought leader across the industry.

The BIH products and innovations developed under his leadership have pushed boundaries of design and material capabilities and solved technical challenges in the harshest of operational conditions.  During his career with BIH, he oversaw more than 200 projects in no less than 58 countries spanning six continents.

Through a combination of his admirable skillsets as a technical genius, a benevolent but earnest mentor, a ‘can do’ attitude with bags of energy and enthusiasm, as well as being an attentive listener, David was always able to win over the most challenging trainee engineer or entrenched client.

A Chartered Engineer, Professional Engineer and Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, David graduated with a Master in Chemical Engineering (First-Class Honours) from Swansea University in 1988.  It did not take long for the rest of the world to take notice of his talents.  He was one of the youngest engineers appointed to sit on the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO)’s panel of experts and was also known as an influential speaker and contributor to the American Petroleum Institute (API)’s standards committees.

Travelling the globe extensively, David went above and beyond to make BIH a success.  He was driven by his passion to uplift industry standards and since 2019, he was the Project Leader for the working group behind the new standard – ISO 21905:2020 Gas turbine exhaust systems with or without waste heat recovery.

Although David’s career had been built around oil & gas, he recognised that the industry could not continue to operate in the same way it had done in the past.  He had a vision to see energy producers transform and deploy process technologies that could shift the entire global industry from that of significant greenhouse gas emitter to a net-zero emissions position.  Beginning in 2002, his work on heat recovery culminated in Waste Heat Recovery Units (WHRUs) becoming a key product category at BIH over the past two decades, with BIH WHRUs installed globally estimated to have recovered more than 122 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy over their installed lives (equivalent to taking over 18 million cars off the road for one year or the amount of carbon sequestered in over 455,000 square kilometres of forests in one year, about the same size as Sweden), thereby significantly reducing environmental impacts.  In May 2016, David was named as the inventor for BIH’s patented compact WHRU design which improves manufacturability, operational efficiency and ease of maintenance.

Yet, that was not enough for David, who was ever an advocate for more to be done.  Thanks to his early comprehensive work, today BIH is looking to add to the global knowledge base of hydrogen firing, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and energy from waste, all working towards fulfilling David’s and BIH’s vision for a net-zero emissions position.  BIH’s CCUS portfolio now includes adsorption, cryogenic, hydrogen firing and oxy-combustion solutions.

David passed away peacefully in January 2021, marking an extremely sad time for BIH and the Boustead Group.  While he will be greatly missed, David has left an enduring legacy through the foundations he laid and the strong team he developed around him.  He has left a clear blueprint for his colleagues to innovatively deploy the team’s heat transfer engineering expertise to the development of zero emissions technologies.  He will be fondly remembered as an avid cyclist, champion ping pong player and mostly for standing tall where it mattered and for being a true humanitarian who did things the Boustead Way.

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