Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the Univ. of California, Davis, has lectured extensively on the nature of beer and brewing at venues such as Google, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Smithsonian Institution. Throughout his many interviews and lectures, he never wastes an opportunity to take a jab at wine makers. One key point that he frequently reiterates: beer is superior. “It’s okay to dislike beer. It does not make you a bad person,” says Bamforth. “But never try to tell me that wine is better. Wine is not as complex a product, it is not so complicated to make, it is not a better accompaniment to food, and it is not better for you,” he states. “I like wine — but I like beer better and respect it more.”
In the August AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Future Feedstocks for the Chemical Industry — Where Will the Carbon Come From?,” Scott F. Mitchell of SABIC Technology Center and Daniel F. Shantz of Tulane Univ. outline the opportunities for various sources of carbon that could be used for chemicals production, including shale gas, biomass, coal, and recycled CO2 and plastics.
Richard Dennis, Shailesh Vora, Jared Ciferno
The role of natural gas for electricity generation is expanding, as utilities take advantage of the low cost and lower emissions of natural gas, as well as the ability of natural-gas-based systems to provide on-demand power during periods of peak consumption.
Surfactants are typically made from petroleum-based feedstock or palm oil — using processes that produce greenhouse gases, involve the use of toxic chemicals, and generate hazardous byproducts. Massachusetts-based biotech company Modular Genetics, Inc. has engineered Bacillus subtilis strains to convert cellulosic sugar into a surfactant consisting of a fatty acid linked to an amino acid. Its approach uses no oil of any sort or toxic chemicals, and the surfactants do not generate hazardous byproducts.
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.
AIChE Election; Candidate Platforms; Your AIChE Membership — Technical Divisions and Forums; Member News
Marcio Machado, Suzanne Kresta
The power number is one consideration in impeller selection. Other important factors include bulk flow, turbulence at the impeller, and mixing conditions at the bottom of the vessel and at the liquid surface.
Can you be held liable for patent infringement even if you do not practice the patented invention? Can a company that sells a material to the manufacturer of a patented product be held liable? Can a vendor that supplies a component to a service provider that assembles or uses a patented system be held liable? Can a supplier of raw materials to a production plant that runs a patented process be held liable?
Synthetic biology represents a new way of building biological systems via engineering tools and principles. Genetic components and pathways will be created to reprogram organisms, endowing them with novel functions for a wide range of applications.
You cannot know when an unexpected reaction in a vessel might develop enough pressure to cause the vessel to rupture. All a large release of a flammable vapor needs in order to burn or explode is an ignition source. Never put yourself in danger by remaining in the area if this happens in your plant. Know your facility’s emergency plans, participate in drills, and know when to evacuate or shelter in a safe place.
Use this guidance to conduct comprehensive due diligence assessments and help ensure your acquisitions — of equipment, technologies, facilities, or companies — are operationally and technologically successful.
MTI is in the process of developing a best practice guideline for the design, welding, repair, and inspection of DSS 2205 equipment made from thick plates (greater than 1 in.), to be completed in Oct. 2015. The guidelines will include recommendations for assessing susceptibility to SSC (low, medium, or high, based on ferrite and hardness numbers), as well as information on the scope and scheduling of inspections.
Patrick Veldhuizen, Thokozani Majozi
Built upon the nation’s abundant coal reserves, South Africa’s chemicals industry spent much of the 20th century isolated from world trade. The abolishment of apartheid opened doors to its full participation in global markets.
To fully harness the advantages of heterogeneous catalysis, heat and mass transfer must be optimized with respect to catalytic reaction rates. While reactions take place at the molecular length scale, industrial reactors can have dimensions as large as several meters, making reactor and catalyst design a difficult task. In the July AIChE Journal cover story, “Gas-Solid Catalytic Reactions with an Extended DSMC Model,” Georg R. Pesch, Norbert Riefler, Udo Fritsching, Lucio Colombi Ciacchi, and Lutz Mädler of the Univ. of Bremen, Germany, introduce a new modeling approach to efficiently tackle this challenge.
The week before we send an issue to the printer can be both exhilarating and exhausting. So, I was intrigued by an article on scientificamerican.com, “Overworking Your Brain Can Spark Ideas,” which reported on research that found people generate the most creative ideas when they’re mentally exhausted. It never occurred to me that this might be an especially fruitful time for coming up with good ideas. I wondered how that research might apply to me, and whether it might suggest new ways to push the CEP staff even harder.
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.
Temperature measurements are most useful when they are accurate. Find out how to estimate the error attributable to a temperature probe and ways to minimize it.
For many of us, having to negotiate for anything can be akin to driving a notoriously congested, pothole-filled highway in rush-hour traffic. We know it is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted and therefore approach it expecting the worst possible outcome.
“I see myself becoming the entrepreneurial chemical engineer,” says Christina Borgese, Director of Engineering and Development at PreProcess, Inc., a consulting company that she co-founded. Her company helps entrepreneurs commercialize their novel technologies by applying chemical engineering know-how and recruiting experts from around the world. “Creating new products, harboring new ideas — that excites me,” she says. “You never know who is calling next, or what new project you will be working on that nobody has ever done before.”
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.
If the U.S. economy were a professional sports league, the chemicals industry would be a franchise player. A healthy economy needs a core of financially strong, internationally competitive industries making products that can be sold in any geographic market. These industries provide highly compensated employment opportunities, which in turn creates flourishing communities and intellectual capital potential. Improved production processes and higher-quality products do not develop in a vacuum, but rather in the context of solving day-to-day production problems. Without domestic manufacturing, these opportunities are lost. Franchise industries are also export machines. This last quality is vital to a healthy economy — chronic trade deficits are a harbinger of decline.
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
I find inspiration for my editorials in all sorts of places. This month’s topic came to me from a list of strange holidays, where I came across September 6, Fight Procrastination Day. You might expect this in the October issue, or later, given the...
Chemical engineers continue to earn more than the average U.S. worker. The median salary of survey respondents is $127,000 — a 5.8% increase over the median reported in 2013. This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the June 2015 issue of Chemical Engineering Progress.
Erik Mathiason, Jessica Lo, Chad McGuire
A plant’s safety instrumented system (SIS) is critical in preventing process safety incidents. Use this guide to help choose the proper sensors for your plant’s SIS.
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
November 10-15, 2019
The AIChE Annual Meeting is the premier educational forum for chemical engineers interested in innovation and professional growth. Academic and industry experts will cover wide range of topics relevant to cutting-edge research, new technologies, and emerging growth areas in chemical engineering.
March 31 - April 4, 2019
The AIChE Spring Meeting is the year’s key technical conference for practicing chemical engineers. A wide range of subjects relevant to the current needs of industry is covered.
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.
This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, May 2015. Much has been written about chemical engineering education, particularly what students should be taught to prepare them for a...
The lecture is an important and indispensible tool for teaching undergraduate chemical engineering students. The electronics revolution will not dramatically change the basic structure of the lecture, but instead supplement and enhance what is being taught.
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
Meet AIChE’s New Fellows; AIChE Opens Houston Office; Your AIChE Membership — Career Services; Member News
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.
Liang-Shih Fan, Liang Zeng, Siwei Luo
By separating a reaction into several subreactions, chemical looping minimizes exergy loss, facilitates product separation, and provides flexibility in process design.
Verify-then-act is a practice and mindset that all engineers and personnel in the chemical process industries (CPI) should adopt. Mixing the wrong chemicals, setting temperatures or pressures outside of safe operating limits, or performing a step out of sequence can result in a range of consequences, from a bad batch or loss of production to a catastrophic incident. However, simply verifying before acting can reduce the risk of these penalties and save time, money, and lives.
Outline your philosophies and strategies at the start of a project to help guide your activities toward success.
Congratulations to those of you who are graduating this month! This is a monumental time in your life. If you already have a job lined up, you are ready to walk across the graduation stage and into your future career. However, being the new person...
The Turkish chemicals industry has the potential for significant growth, with increasing demand coming from both domestic and global markets. To capture this potential, the industry will need to increase production capacity and diversify its product portfolio.
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.
Edelmira D. Gálvez, Luis A. Cisternas
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.
Enhance your facility’s energy efficiency through operational improvements, effective maintenance, engineered improvements, and new technologies.
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.
Miranda G. S. Yap, Niki S. C. Wong
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.
M. Soledad Diaz, Claudio Delpino
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.
Crude oil derived from shale plays is less expensive and more readily available than traditional crudes, but it poses unique challenges to refiners.