This is Part 4 in the ChEnected series "We Are ChE: Entering a Golden Age", authored by Incoming 2013 AIChE president Phil Westmoreland.
To follow up on my previous posts, another important reason for foreseeing a new Golden Age of ChE is the dramatic change in the energy picture during the last two years.
One of the biggest changes is the surge in production of natural gas by hydrofracturing. “Fracking” has dropped gas prices dramatically, altering US energy, organic-chemicals, and polymers businesses and foreshadowing changes throughout the world.
A US shale-gas boom
Hydrofracturing is more than sixty years old, but during the last four years, it has taken off in the gas-rich Marcellus shale formations in the northeastern US.