Crude oil derived from shale plays is less expensive and more readily available than traditional crudes, but it poses unique challenges to refiners.
Stavros Papadokonstantakis, Marcel Sennhauser, Konrad Hungerbühler
The strong international presence of Switzerland’s chemicals industries — characterized by a major export market and substantial investment in its companies abroad — has helped to make the Swiss chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries among the world’s most successful.
Della Wong, Donald Lorenzo, Mark Suyama
Improve your management of change (MOC) system by training workers to recognize hazards as indicators of change.
Nadir Ziyatdinov, German Dyakonov, Nelly Lyzhina
Russia’s chemicals industry has experienced ups and downs since its formation. Although the country was hit hard by the Great Recession, it appears to have bounced back and is now investing in modernizing highly outdated equipment and processes.
Ahmad M. Al Othman, Leonard E. Gerlowski
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.
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.
Stanley I. Sandler offers a step-by-step guide for students and faculty on the use of Aspen in teaching thermodynamics. The book shows how easily-accessible, modern computational techniques are opening up new vistas in teaching thermodynamics, using a range of applications of Aspen Plus for the...
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).
Bruce 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.
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.
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.
Seth Gottlund, Pablo Duarte
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.
The stage-gate technique used for traditional chemical processes must be modified for bioenergy technologies. Follow these recommendations to minimize risk and maximize success.
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?
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.
Robert Brown, Vonnie Estes, Tristan R. Brown
A few cellulosic biofuel facilities have begun operation, and others are slated to start up in the coming years.
Bruce 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.
Bruce Dale, Robert Brown, Charles Wyman, David Edwards, Mark Holtzapple, Darlene Schuster, Sagar Lonkar, Cesar Granda, Tristan R. Brown, Vonnie Estes, Sergio C. Capareda
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?’”
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.
Daniel Lacks, Jeremy D. Bendik-Keymer, Evelyn B. Taboada, Nwaynay Hlaing
A broader view of ethics and professional responsibility considers the engineer’s impact on humanity.
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.
Models can be used to describe chemical reactors to help solve problems and optimize processes, while saving time, money, and resources.
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...
Can a trade secret violation that is geographically widespread and continues for several decades still be actionable? A recent lawsuit provides the answer.
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.
It seems not a day passes without news reports of a politician or corporate executive taking bribes, engaging in insider trading, or getting caught up in some other ethical dilemma. As engineers, though, we will more likely find ourselves in situations that have subtler, less-obvious ethical undertones.
Daryl Hanson, Henry Kister
Hot-vapor bypass employs a flooded condenser located at ground level to control distillation tower pressure. It offers capital cost savings, but can be tricky to implement. This article offers guidance on designing and troubleshooting a hot-vapor bypass system.
Whether you are a Millennial, Generation Xer, or Baby Boomer, it can be difficult to start planning for retirement
These ﬁve incidents demonstrate how seemingly small mistakes or temporary lapses in judgment can result in disaster.
Calvin Cobb, Botond Bertok, Heriberto Cabezas, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff, Dicksen Tanzil, Ferenc Friedler, Reed M. Izatt , Kevin Chin, István Heckl
Sustainability: What We Measure We Can Improve; Sustainability Trends in the Chemical Industry; Use the P-graph Framework to Design Supply Chains for Sustainability; Recovering Metals from Electronic Wastes
Managing chemical reactivity hazards is more complex than other major hazards. Learn how to use process hazard analysis (PHA) to identify such hazard scenarios and determine whether additional risk-reduction measures are needed for your process.
Kirk Richardson, Robert McTamaney
The Materials Technology Institute’s (MTI) recent Refiners Roundtable meeting included discussions on (among other topics) internal investigations into causes of significant failures and ways to improve process safety. Here are the top ten things your company should be doing.
Gaston Arseneault, Christopher Armstrong
The key to maximizing the useful life of heat-transfer fluids in liquid-phase systems is proper fluid selection. This article discusses the most common methods of deterioration and suggests potential solutions.
In the current job market, people rarely stay employed with the same company that hired them after college for their entire career. If you want to take control of your career and make a job change that is consistent with your professional and personal goals, allow enough time to weigh the pros and cons instead of making the decision on a whim. The most critical step in this process is not updating your resumé, but making sure that the new position will be a good fit and not just a quick fix. I like to think of changing jobs as a process with four key steps: recognizing that it is time to move on, deciding where you want to go, determining what you need to get there, and then networking your way in.
Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals, a spinout from the Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln, has developed new fluorination chemistry that permits a wide range of radiotracers with sufficient activity and purity to meet diverse clinical needs to be made with...
We need to make the best use of all the tools in our collective toolbox, including the talents of our disabled colleagues.
“Diversity programs are not only the right thing to do, but they are also the smart and necessary thing to do. We view diversity and inclusion, and promotion of different cultural perspectives, as catalysts, because we know these efforts unleash...
Sustainability is a path of continuous improvement, wherein the products and services required by society are delivered with progressively less negative impact upon the Earth.
Emerging applications, from wearable electronics to robotics, and advances in electronics allowing designers to pack more components into ever-more-compact space are driving demand for thin, flexible, high-performance batteries with low toxicity and green chemistries.
Engineering ethics frequently has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with communication, thought and decision-making patterns, and conflicts around time and money.
Calvin Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff, Dicksen Tanzil, Kevin Chin
The AIChE Sustainability Index® provides benchmarks of a company’s performance on a variety of metrics related to corporate social responsibility.
President’s Corner; AIChE Gala Salutes Corporate Leaders for Promoting Diversity in Engineering; AIChE Partners on Engineering and Technology History Wiki; Institute and Board Award Nominations Due Feb. 15; Annual Meeting Highlights
Increasing efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions and a changing portfolio of energy sources as a result of shale gas production are driving the development of new process technologies for the production of energy and chemicals. One such...