T. Kevin Swift
The chemical industry produces many products that are responsible for conserving energy in a range of applications, most notably household operations, such as lighting and insulation, but also light vehicles, appliances, and packaging.
It is crucial to our nation’s prosperity and standard of living that the U.S. attain and maintain world-class levels of labor productivity (economic output per unit of labor) across the economy. In effect, labor productivity represents an upper...
The recent development of new sources of shale-gas methane and shale-gas condensate will significantly impact fuels and chemical feedstocks in the U.S. and around the world, says Jeffrey Siirola of Purdue Univ. and Carnegie Mellon Univ. in the March AIChE Journal Perspective article, “The Impact of Shale Gas in the Chemical Industry.”
Many of us remember receiving our polio vaccine on a sugar cube. Indeed, that was the motivation behind A Spoonful of Sugar, a song from the classic Disney movie Mary Poppins. Walt Disney had instructed the Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard, to come up with a catchy song for the film. When Robert arrived at home, after working all day trying to come up with an idea, his wife told him that the children had gotten their polio vaccine that day. Thinking they had gotten a shot, he asked them if it hurt. His son answered that the medicine was put on a cube of sugar and he swallowed it. And so “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down was born.
Many manufacturing processes are not run as efficiently as they could be. The Six Sigma methodology provides a foundation for continuous improvement and for solving quality, operational, and other problems.
Use a phase diagram to identify the best temperature, pressure, and composition conditions, as well as the optimal sequence of process operations to achieve a desired crystallization.
With solid-liquid equilibrium as its foundation, this systematic approach makes it easy to identify operating regions and theoretical yield to maximize the desired product.
Ed Fontes, Olof Hernell, Phil Byrne
Using equation-based modeling to design these reactors can optimize their efficiency and throughput.
The Four Vs; What Is It; Success Stories in the Process Industries; Getting Started on the Journey; Challenges and Future Research Directions
Richard D. Braatz / Leo H. Chiang / Lloyd F. Colegrove / Salvador GarcÍa Muñoz / Chaitanya Khare / John F. MacGregor / Marco S. Reis / Mary Beth Seasholtz / David White
I hear what you’re saying. I catch your drift. How do you express understanding? Most of us have a preferred communication and learning style — visual, auditory, kinesthetic. Some literature includes a fourth style, reading/writing. To deliver a...
Big data can pave the way to greater business and operational insight. New approaches and technologies are poised to help you navigate your journey.
Mark Vergnano, President and CEO of The Chemours Co., talks to CEP about how his team is transforming the performance chemical division (which spun off from DuPont on July 1, 2015) into a higher-value chemistry company, as well as his own transition...
Fermenter optimization involves determining a profile of agitator and compressor speeds that satisfy the required oxygen transfer rates. Optimization minimizes power consumption, which will save you money.
A volunteer at a vintage railroad tourist attraction describes how he prepares a steam locomotive for operation by building up the fire to warm the firebox and increasing the boiler pressure. He explains that he knows that the locomotive is ready...
Marco S. Reis, Richard D. Braatz, Leo H. Chiang
The big data movement is creating opportunities for the chemical process industries to improve their operations. Challenges, however, lie ahead.
Product Focus: Flowmeters Flowmeters Measure Three Variables SwirlMaster standard (FSS430) and extended (FSS450) boast volume, mass, and energy flow measurement in one device. They leverage a unique swirl-flow measurement technology that permits...
Understand the common features and options that are often incorporated into digital implementations of the PID block.
Lloyd F. Colegrove, Mary Beth Seasholtz, Chaitanya Khare
This article discusses some experiences and challenges in establishing an enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) platform at a major chemical manufacturing company, and recommends steps you can take to convince your management to harness big data.
M. Henry Heines
Patent infringement cases are generally civil matters between the patent owner and the infringer. The two sides present opposing arguments as to, on the one hand, whether the alleged infringer’s actions are actually infringing and, on the other,...
Multiscale systems engineering has emerged as a way to understand and address the ever-growing list of global challenges related to energy and the environment. These challenges, many of which revolve around energy security, energy affordability, and...
The food-energy-water (FEW) nexus, a concept that describes the interdependence of the world’s complex resource systems, has been drawing much interest and activity in the sustainability community recently. The food-energy-water nexus approach (or...
The Right Kind of Crazy Adam Steltzner and William Patrick, Portfolio, London, U.K., $28, 256 pages, Jan. 2016, ISBN: 978-1-59184-695 Author Adam Steltzner led the entry, descent, and landing teams responsible for the Curiosity rover’s mission to...
Salvador García-Muñoz, John F. MacGregor
Big data holds much potential for optimizing and improving processes. See how it has already been used in a range of industries, from pharmaceuticals to pulp and paper.
Interviews are a great way for an employer to get to know more about you and determine whether or not you are right for an open position. However, all too often, young professionals overlook the fact that interviews are also a time to gauge whether...
Consider two grand challenges of the 21st century cited by the National Academy of Engineering: Provide access to clean water, and engineer better medicines. These seemingly unrelated global challenges share an important issue — the need for a...
Big data is a big topic with a lot of potential. Before realizing this potential, however, we need to get on the same page about what big data is, how it can be analyzed, and what we can do with it.
Hybrid Polymer Reversibly Assembles and Disassembles A new type of hybrid polymer may offer new opportunities for drug delivery, self-repair, and responsiveness. CRISPR Edits Genes to Treat Liver Disease in Mice The gene-editing technology known as...
Bruce E. Dale, Mark Holtzapple
As fossil energy resources decline, we must develop and deploy renewable energy systems. An attractive alternative is to convert lignocellulosic biomass into transportation fuels.
The first annual energy survey conducted by AIChE's Research and New Technology Committee provides insights into the energy-related research of chemical engineers.
Tristan R. Brown, Robert Brown, Sergio C. Capareda, Bruce E. Dale, David Edwards, Vonnie Estes, Cesar Granda, Mark Holtzapple, Sagar Lonkar, Darlene Schuster, Charles Wyman
SBE Update; The Need for Biofuels; Producing Biofuels via the Thermochemical Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Sugar Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Carboxylate Platform; Scaling Up Bioenergy Technologies; Commercial-Scale Production of Lignocellulosic Biofuels
Last year, when we chose biofuels as the topic for this issue’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) supplement, we did not anticipate the precipitous drop in oil prices of recent months. As we were pulling the articles together, guest editor Mark Holtzapple expressed concern that oil prices would be low when the issue appears. “If readers do not think too deeply, they might say ‘These academics are sure out of touch. Don’t they know oil prices are low?’”
To surpass the merely adequate, and to accomplish something noteworthy, requires one to take on tasks that are unstated and to solve problems that others may not have even noticed. Depending on the structure of your work environment, there may be...
Robert Brown, Sergio C. Capareda
Thermochemical conversion of biomass to liquid fuels employs many of the same processes and equipment as are used with fossil fuel feedstocks.
Cory Jensen, William Parrish
Licensure as a professional engineer is an investment in your future, and can be a beneficial — and even necessary — credential.
Programming for an AIChE conference — i.e., developing the technical program — takes a lot more than the work put in by the meeting chairs; the details and ideas that go into every session and its roster of speakers take a whole force of volunteers. As a co-chair for the upcoming 2014 Spring Meeting in New Orleans who also happens to be a young professional (YP), I’ve realized that the best way to prepare for programming a large-scale conference is to build relationships across all levels of the organization.
Kuan-Chen Cheng, Kimberly Ogden
The individual technical elements of the algae-to-biofuels process have already been demonstrated at the laboratory scale. Ongoing research seeks to refine the technology to enable scaleup to commercial production.
These ﬁve incidents demonstrate how seemingly small mistakes or temporary lapses in judgment can result in disaster.
To maintain favorable conditions in the brain, the blood-brain barrier limits mass transfer across brain tissue. However, it also restricts the systemic delivery of compounds to treat neurological disorders. Several treatment alternatives to bypass...
Bruce E. Dale, Charles Wyman
Whether the feedstock is sugarcane, corn, or lignocellulose, the fermentation and ethanol recovery operations are similar. The differences arise in the way the sugars are released and the co-products produced.
Bioactive implants that combine a medical device with one or more biologic therapeutic agents show promise for the targeted treatment of complex medical conditions. Implantable medical devices, such as stents, grafts, and joint replacements, are...
Mark Holtzapple, Sagar Lonkar, Cesar Granda
The carboxylate platform ferments a wide variety of biomass feedstocks into mixed carboxylic acids and their salts, which in turn can be transformed into hydrocarbon fuels.
Chau-Chyun Chen, Soraya Honarparvar, Sina Hassanjani Saravi
Accurate thermodynamic models are needed to simulate processes involving electrolytes, which range from hydraulic fracturing to CO2 capture and sequestration and basic chemicals manufacturing. Follow these steps to develop thermodynamic models for your electrolyte system.
Pablo Duarte, Seth Gottlund
In a unique collaboration with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) program, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APCI) has developed an innovative process to capture CO2 at its Port Arthur, TX, facility. The captured CO2 is purified, dried, compressed, and transported via pipeline to Denbury Resources, where it is used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The high-purity CO2 is injected into oil wells to reduce the viscosity of the oil mixture, which enables higher oil-well production rates and overall yield, and increases the crude oil flowrate.
Kristine Baranski, Mary Ellen Ternes
This overview of EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting rule explains the regulation’s requirements and suggests strategies for compliance. It also provides insights regarding enforcement and confidential business information.
You’ve spent hours writing your paper, preparing the slides for your presentation, and practicing your talk. You’ve endured the humiliation of the airport security inspection, the frustration of the weather-related flight delay, the discomfort of the cramped airplane seats, and the disruption of your circadian rhythm after crossing several time zones. You arrive at the meeting room early, check your slides on the session chair’s laptop, get comfortable with the remote, and test the mic. You are excited to be part of this group of experts, and are looking forward to sharing your thoughts and engaging in a lively dialogue.
The stage-gate technique used for traditional chemical processes must be modified for bioenergy technologies. Follow these recommendations to minimize risk and maximize success.
Process flow failure modes (PFFM) analysis is an intuitive, process-flow-directed way to identify potentially hazardous scenarios. Learn how to apply this technique to your process hazard reviews.
Considering that the price of oil has plummeted to less than half of what it was a year ago, this SBE supplement on biofuels is quite well-timed. What role can and will biofuels play, both today and in the future?
Professor David Glasser, David Milne, David Glasser, Diane Hildebrandt and Brendon Hausberger
Use this technique to analyze reactor/reaction systems for which dependable kinetic data are available, or to quickly find the operating characterisitics needed for the maximum selectivity of a reactant.
Grant Girouard, Paul Martin
Existing equations used to size control valves are inadequate for laboratory- and pilot-scale work. Use the simple equation introduced in this article to accurately size needle control valves for laminar and transitional flow.
Tristan R. Brown, Robert Brown, Vonnie Estes
A few cellulosic biofuel facilities have begun operation, and others are slated to start up in the coming years.
Although you might not associate drug delivery with chemical engineering, the principles of chemical engineering — such as mass and energy balances, transport phenomena, reaction kinetics, and particle technology — are intimately involved in drug...
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; fluids and solids handling; laboratory equipment; and environmental, health, and safety.
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling, instrumentation, and materials and chemicals.
The opportunities and implications of big data analysis and the emergence of unconventional crude oil are just two of the timely topics to be explored at AIChE’s 2015 Spring Meeting and 11th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS). This year’s conference is in Austin, TX
Promethean Power Systems, a Somerville, MA-based small business with grants from the National Science Foundation, has developed a thermal battery-based refrigeration system to address the challenges of unreliable electricity supply in rural areas.
Nanoparticles (NPs) loaded with therapeutics provide a way to target the delivery of drugs to specific locations in the body. When injected intravenously, however, nanoparticles are often recognized by the immune system and rapidly cleared from the body. Efforts to extend their residence time in vivo have focused on modifying particle surfaces to evade the body’s natural defenses. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is currently the gold standard for such nanoparticle stealth coating, but the recent observation of an anti-PEG immunological response has spurred the search for improvements. To address this challenge, researchers have looked to nature, which has created the ideal drug-delivery vehicle — red blood cells (RBCs).
Cheap and Abundant Potassium Outperforms Precious Metal Catalyst; Engineering Bioethanol without the Food Gap; Supercomputers Identify Optimal Zeolites; Synthetic Biology Pushes Gene Therapy Forward; and more.
Whatever your job — operations, maintenance, supervision, engineering, management — pay attention to the details in your work. There are no unimportant details in process safety. You never know which apparently minor detail can initiate a major event, so you have to pay attention to all of them.
While the Beacon focuses on process-related incidents, never forget that occupational safety is also important. For a safe workplace, we must have effective programs for both process and occupational safety.
Silicon Anode Gets a Fruity Makeover; New Anode Provides a Home for Plus-Sized Na+ Ions; A Flicker of Hope for Nonflammable Li-Ion Batteries; Bio-Inspired Glass Is Bendable; and more.
A process designed to lower the cost of magnesium metal, making it competitive with aluminum, has been an industry goal for over a century. Although magnesium metal makes up millions of today’s lightweight cell phone and laptop cases, its persistently high cost (twice that of aluminum today) has impeded broad, high-volume use in other areas, including the automobile industry. This could soon change, thanks to researchers at INFINIUM, based in Natick, MA, who have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient, zero-emissions process for making this lightweight, strong metal.
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