Chemical engineers have long been involved in the development, design and efficient use of energy and are arguably equipped by training and practice to provide important leaderships to develop solution to energy problems.
For much of the 20th Century, the need for reliable, economical, safe and environmentally responsible energy was central to society. With the growth of economies in the developing world, along with continued strong demand in the developed world, energy’s importance is projected to continue to grow in the 21st century. Energy supply and demand, alternative sources, usage and conservation involve both socio-economic and political criteria as well as the technology and application of sound principles of engineering.
Against the backdrop of growing global demand for energy and new energy legislation, AIChE and its members launched a series of initiatives that apply chemical engineering expertise to help develop solutions to energy problems. In 2005 alone, the Annual and Spring Meeting attendees witnessed a surge in the number and variety of papers devoted to energy. CEP published a series of articles on the critical issues surrounding energy. Operating councils heightened their plans to focus on chemical engineers roles in energy. It was clear that strategies are required to ensure that chemical engineers play a central, if not pre-eminent role in advancing energy research and development.
To help guide this endeavor, the AIChE Board of Directors organized its Commission on Energy Challenge as an assembly of industry and academic experts and consultants representing a broad portfolio of energy technologies as well as business and research interests.
The work of this commission is being carried forward by the newly formed Energy Advisory Board, which consists of:
- Dale Keairns, Chair, SAIC and 2008 AIChE President;
- Bond Calloway, Savanah River National Laboratory and Chair of AIChE’s Research and New Technology Committee;
- John Chen, 2006 AIChE President; Scott Fogler, Univ. of Michigan and 2009 AIChE President;
- Haroon S. Kheshgi, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.;
- Darlene Schuster, Director of AIChE’s Institute for Sustainability (IfS);
- Subhas Sikdar, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of the IfS Managing Board; and
- AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey.
The Energy Advisory Board will focus on:
- AIChE’s Energy Strategy and Strategic
- Plan Education projects aimed at undergraduates and K–12 students
- Speakers for AIChE’s Speakers Bureau
- Energy-related programming at AIChE national and annual meetings
- Communication (through the website and a newsletter)
- Outreach (e.g., partnering with others to inform the public and public policy).
In the near future, the Energy Advisory Board will solicit broader input from AIChE committees, divisions, and forums so that AIChE’s energy efforts can become a sustainable initiative across the organization.