Inks from Silk Show Biomedical Promise; Activated Carbon Gets a Designer Label; Graphene Coating Promises to Improve Condenser Efficiency; Solar Materials Self-Assemble for Lengthy Energy Storage; and more.
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In the June AIChE Journal cover story, “Investment Optimization Model for Freshwater Acquisition and Wastewater Handling in Shale Gas Production,” Linlin Yang, Ignacio E. Grossmann, and Meagan Mauter of Carnegie Mellon Univ., and Robert Dilmore of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, discuss a new mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model to optimize water use in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The objective of the model is to minimize the capital and operating costs and maximize profit.
An effective reliability program provides the right maintenance on the right assets at the right time.
The highly commoditized industrial gas sector relies on energy-intensive processes to produce, separate, and store industrial gases. The power required to compress gases accounts for up to 50% of the cost of the delivered gas. And, gas-separation adsorption units recover only a fraction of the feed product, necessitating processes with large waste or recycle streams. NuMat Technologies, an Illinois startup has developed synthetic adsorbent materials to address these challenges.
A Simple Approach to Separating Rare Earth Metals; A Bionic Device Mimics Natural Photosynthesis; Molecules Click into Biocompatible Hydrogels; Nature-Inspired Coating Wards Off Water and Light; and more
Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Highlights; AIChE’s 2014 Financial Statements; Your AIChE Membership — Leadership Opportunities; Diversity Workshop Sets Agenda for Summit at Annual Meeting
Conduct of operations can be summarized in two simple concepts: (1) Say what you intend to do (procedures). (2) Always do what you say. This means, for example, that if your operating procedures say to shut down if a critical safety parameter exceeds a specified value, you must always shut down.
Metabolic Engineering Delivers Low-Cost Hydrogen; Metal-Free Catalyst Recharges Zinc-Air Batteries; Aluminum Could Take Charge of the Battery Market; New Desalination Membrane Resists Chlorine; and more
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An effective MOC system is vital to the success of any piping integrity management program. Your plant inspection group can anticipate changes in corrosion or other deterioration and change inspection schedules and procedures appropriately. Make sure your inspection group is involved in the approval process for changes that may affect the integrity of piping or other equipment.
Outline your philosophies and strategies at the start of a project to help guide your activities toward success.
With a global production of 150 million metric tons in 2013, polyolefins represent the largest class of synthetic polymers. Today, the industry uses a costly, time-consuming, “one catalyst, one material” trial-and-error approach to developing new polymers. Precision Polyolefins (PPL) intends to change the status quo by establishing a novel “one catalyst, many materials” paradigm for rapid discovery and product development of new polyolefins.
Editors Alan P. Rossiter and Beth P. Jones have gathered material that lays out the underlying management and technical issues that drive successful industrial energy management program. With a foreword by the Hon. Charles D. McConnell, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, the book provides a clear understanding of both scope of the opportunity and the available methodologies for capturing energy savings.
Leonard E. Gerlowski, Ahmad M. Al Othman
Abundant and competitively priced petroleum feedstock has spurred massive growth in Saudi Arabia’s chemicals industry over the past five decades. As the Kingdom faces competition from neighboring countries, it will diversify to ensure further growth.
The term safe work practices refers to the processes we use to authorize nonroutine work activities, and to control the hazards and manage the risks associated with these activities. Safe work practices often authorize work through permits, which frequently include checklists of potential hazards associated with the work. A nonroutine activity has nothing to do with how often the activity is done. Instead, it refers to activities that are not part of the normal process for converting raw materials to finished product, and not covered by the plant’s standard operating procedures for normal operations.
Thermoelectric materials hold promise as a means to recover waste heat from automobile exhaust, power plants, and other systems. Their use, however, is limited by low efficiency. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a process that combines nanostructuring, compositional control, and ppm-level impurity doping. ThermoAura, Inc., a start-up company co-founded by the researchers, has scaled up this process to manufacture high-performance thermoelectrics with tunable properties.
Niki S. C. Wong, Miranda G. S. Yap
With a heavy investment in biomedical research— particularly the $330 million to build Biopolis in 2003— Singapore is seeing the fruits of its labor blossom.
To provide guidance and disseminate reactivity data, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in conjunction with partnering companies and technical associations, developed the Chemical Reactivity Worksheet (CRW). The free software ( http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/reactivityworksheet ) allows CPI professionals to review the reactivity hazards of thousands of individual chemicals, as well as predict the consequence of mixing chemical substances. Since its release in March 2013, the CRW Version 3 (CRW3) has been downloaded approximately 80,000 times.
In the April AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Layer-by-Layer Approaches to Staging Medicine from Surfaces,” Paula T. Hammond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describes her research on a method that creates layers of thin films stacked on top of one another. Each layer contains a different therapeutic, which is incorporated into the thin film via one of several mechanisms (e.g., charge, hydrogen bonding, or other complementary interaction). This technique is useful for drug therapy in applications such as bone regeneration.
Luis A. Cisternas, Edelmira D. Gálvez
With abundant mineral resources, Chile’s chemicals industries are dominated by mining, with many of its operations among the world’s most productive and important.
Chameleon-Like Material Changes Color On Demand; New Genes for an Old Microbe Make Statins Cheaper; A Sweet Approach to Breaking Down Cellulose; New Catalyst Pushes Lignin Up on the Value Chain; and more.
Tal Golesworthy has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens connective tissues throughout the body. When he learned he would need surgery to completely replace his aorta, he used engineering principles to develop a less-invasive device to strengthen the aorta — and then convinced surgeons to implant the device in his heart.
James R. Risko
Even a relatively new steam trap in seemingly good condition can fail if it is applied incorrectly. Here’s how to recognize and avoid situations that can lead to a failure.
Claudio Delpino, M. Soledad Diaz
Boosted by domestic and international companies, Argentina’s chemicals industry continues to grow as demand for its products increases— even in the face of challenges posed by feedstock availability and the need for increased investment.
Italy’s many small and medium-sized chemical companies are crucibles of innovation, whose exports have helped the country to establish a strong presence in the global chemicals market.
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.
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.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are not just a threat to military troops but to civilians as well. Thwarting these attacks will require many measures, one of which is improved screening technologies. Vaporsens, a Univ. of Utah spin-off company, is developing a sensor that could meet the need for a portable, inexpensive explosives-screening device.
Nearly 30 years after the space shuttle Challenger disaster, Allan McDonald is on a mission to prevent it from ever being forgotten. McDonald, director of the shuttle solid rocket motor project at the time of the incident, is one of the few...
In the February AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Recent Advances in Molecular Simulation: A Chemical Engineering Perspective,” Jeremy Palmer of the Univ. of Houston and Pablo Debenedetti of Princeton Univ. discuss the state of molecular simulation, challenges that need to be addressed, and contributions made by chemical engineers to expand the use of molecular simulation.
Pop-Up Method Transforms 2D Materials into 3D Objects; Digging in the Dirt Uncovers a New Antibiotic; Algorithm Predicts Bacteria Countermoves; An Organic Approach to Controlled Polymerization; and more.
The global process safety community will join with chemical engineers across a spectrum of industries when AIChE holds its 2015 Spring Meeting and 11th Global Congress on Process Safety at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX...
Knowledge of a material’s rheological behavior can be of value for research and development, process design, and quality control. This article provides a foundation for understanding viscosity measurement.
AIChE Elects New Fellows; Minority Affairs Committee Turns 25; AIChE Recommendations for Establishing Process Safety Investigation Boards
In many serious events, there may have been more people in the area than were needed to do or monitor the job. Too many people in the area, whether the control room or the plant, can be a distraction, causing bad decisions that could lead to serious...