Chemical Engineers Meet in New Orleans; Highlights Include Process Safety, Shale Gas Programs

Keynote Address to feature William F. Banholzer, retired Chief Technology Officer of the Dow Chemical Co.
February 12, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will hold its 2014 Spring Meeting and 10th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS) at the Hilton New Orleans – Riverside from March 30 to April 3. The meeting, consisting of 150 sessions across eight topical conferences and special program tracks, explores topics essential to practicing engineers, with a focus on energy and safety developments. More than 2,400 practitioners from 50 countries are expected to attend.

The Spring Meeting and GCPS will begin on the morning of Monday, March 31, with an opening keynote address by William F. Banholzer, retired chief technology officer of the Dow Chemical Company. Banholzer’s presentation is entitled “Possible vs. Practical: Engineers Must Lead the Development of Practical Technologies.”

Later on Monday morning, the Process Development Division’s Plenary Session will feature a roster of presenters. John Dowdle, senior engineer at Dow Chemical, will begin the session with his talk, “Improving the Speed and Representation of Physical Properties Regression.” Then, Joseph Powell, chief scientist at Shell, will discuss shale gas and the history of C1 chemistry. Jack Hipple, an AIChE director and principal at TRIZ and Engineering Training Services, LLC, will address the use of patterns in inventions found in the patent literature to predict disruptions in the patenting process. Michio Higashijima, technology sales manager at Mitsubishi Chemical, will conclude the session with a discussion of the company’s advanced technology for on-purpose butadiene production.

This year, a new topical conference will be devoted to the techniques and design challenges involved in the extraction and handling of Shale Gas and Tight Oil, including water treatment and conservation. On Tuesday, April 1, a panel of industry experts will discuss process safety considerations and the challenges involved in safe extraction, transport and processing of shale resources.

Also on Tuesday, April 1, Ramon Gonzalez, program director at the U.S. Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), will give a keynote address as part of a conference on Emerging Technologies in Clean Energy in the 21st Century. Gonzalez will discuss industrial biotechnology, highlighting bioconversion and bioelectrosynthesis techniques for the production of liquid fuels.

At the 14th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization, attendees will learn the latest techniques in gas conversion, gas separation and gasification, and discuss unconventional oil and gas resources.
As part of this conference, Harri Kytomaa, corporate vice president at Exponent, will deliver a luncheon address on Wednesday, April 2.

This year marks the tenth annual Global Congress on Process Safety, the world’s largest gathering of process safety professionals. Organized by AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and safety and Health Division, the GCPS invites participants to join an ongoing dialogue devoted to exploring new ways to avoid incidents, manage risk, ensure plant safety and strengthen process-safety-management (PSM) programs.

A special program track at the GCPS will be the 3rd Process Safety Management Mentoring (PSM2) Forum, which is dedicated to sharing process safety management information with the next generation of professionals in the oil, gas, chemicals, and allied fields.

The GCPS will also feature luncheon speakers: Bea Ponnudurai, head of the Group Health, Safety and Environment Division of Petronas (South Africa) on Monday, March 31; Luke Kisssam, chief executive officer at Albemarle on Tuesday, April 1; and Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday, April 2.

Other highlights of the conference include:

  • 48th Loss Prevention Symposium
  • 29th CCPS International Conference
  • 26th Ethylene Producers’ Conference
  • 17th Topical Conference on Refinery Processing
  • 16th Process Plant Safety Symposium
  • 14th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization
  • 2nd Manufacturing in the 21st Century Conference
  • 2nd International Conference on Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance
  • Advances in Sustainability

AIChE will update content on its social media channels throughout the Spring Meeting and GCPS. News, photos, videos, and coverage of special events and keynotes is available at ChEnected, AIChE’s online community blog at; Facebook (; and Twitter feeds (@chenected) will have regular updates direct from the meeting. The hashtags for the meeting are #AIChESpring and #GCPS.

For more information about the conference or related workshops and meetings, please go to:

Editor’s Note:

Journalists interested in covering the conference should contact Danielle Gross at


About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 45,000 chemical engineers in 100 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at