AIChE Spring Meeting Convenes in New Orleans, Mar. 31–Apr. 4; Program Highlights Manufacturing, Energy, Safety, Knowledge Transfer

Experts will Gather for Annual Global Congress on Process Safety to Discuss Safety in Chemical and Petrochemical Facilities
February 28, 2019

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will hold its 2019 Spring Meeting and 15th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS) at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 31 to April 4.

The AIChE Spring Meeting consists of nearly 200 technical sessions covering a spectrum of topics of importance to practicing chemical engineers. Key areas of focus include new methods of manufacturing, energy production, and safety developments in the chemical, petrochemical and related industries. An international audience of 2,500 engineers and allied professionals is expected to attend the New Orleans meeting.

Setting the stage for the conference on Monday morning, April 1, is a welcome keynote address by Sharon Beshouri, President of Shell Global Solutions (U.S.), Inc., who will discuss the importance to industry of transitions — exemplified by adoption of new energy sources, advanced manufacturing technology, and the handing down of technical knowledge. At the conclusion of her speech, Beshouri will receive AIChE’s Government and Industry Leaders (AGILE) Award.

The role of chemical engineers at the forefront of modern and efficient manufacturing will be explored in several topical conferences under the “Industry 4.0” umbrella. A panel discussion will introduce Industry 4.0 concepts on April 1, with subsequent sessions expanding on pertinent topics in computing and information technology (big data analytics), process intensification, digitalization, artificial intelligence, and innovative and smart manufacturing.

Also on April 1, AIChE’s Fuels and Petrochemicals Division kicks off its energy-focused programming with a keynote talk delivered by Paul Bonner, Vice President of Consulting and Data Analytics at Honeywell Connected Plant, who will discuss the applications of big data analytics, machine learning, and cloud computing on the refining and petrochemicals industry.

Another energy-related highlight is an executive panel entitled “Embracing the Challenge: Meeting the Global Demand for More and Cleaner Energy” (Apr. 2). Representatives from the global energy, environmental, and technology sectors will discuss the challenges involved in meeting growing demand for energy in the context of a shifting global energy mix.

Other topical conferences returning to the Spring Meeting program include the 7th International Conference on Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance, the 19th Gas Utilization Conference, the 22nd Refinery Processing Conference, the 31st Ethylene Producers Conference, and the Kister Distillation Symposium — as well as conferences covering sustainable engineering and emerging technologies in clean energy.

The breadth of technical sessions is supplemented by a Leadership Development Conference devoted to professional-skills enhancement, highlighting issues that impact the career paths and workplace dynamics of today’s employees. Sessions will explore professional ethics, mentorship, community building, personal reinvention, and the art of communicating effectively up and down the chain of command.

Workforce diversity and inclusion will be emphasized in many sessions, including two panel discussions that  spotlight the role of women chemical engineers in the refining and petrochemicals industries (April 1) and in process safety (April 2).

Considerations of safety underscore practically all the conference’s technical programming, and come into full focus at the annual Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS). Organized by AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and the Safety and Health Division, the GCPS is the foremost annual gathering of process safety professionals, engaging participants in an ongoing discussion about technologies and strategies to ensure plant safety, manage risk, and strengthen process safety management (PSM) programs. The Global Congress builds upon CCPS’s vision for universal process safety excellence in the chemical process industries.

The GCPS kicks off on April 1 with a keynote address by Matthew C. Koenings, retired Vice President of Operations and Chief Engineer at DuPont, who will discuss AIChE’s Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initiative — which has been instrumental in transferring process safety knowledge from practitioners to chemical engineering professors and their students.

This year’s GCPS incorporates the 53rd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, the 34th CCPS International Conference, the 21st Process Plant Safety Symposium, and the 8th Process Safety Management Mentoring Forum — where experienced safety personnel in the oil, gas and chemicals fields share their expertise with early-career professionals. The global emphasis of the meeting is underscored in sessions offering “Perspectives on Process Safety from Around the Globe,” with pertinent sessions presented in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A Case Histories and Lessons Learned session (April 3) showcases a cross-section of real world plant incidents. The meeting also includes new sessions devoted to the application of big data digitalization in augmenting process safety performance.

Luncheon speakers are another highlight of the Spring Meeting and GCPS. The luncheon on Monday, April 1, welcomes Bruce Chinn, President of Chevron Oronite Company LLC, who will explain why the fostering of diverse and inclusive workplace environments is an innovation imperative. Tuesday’s luncheon features a report on the emergence of hydrogen and fuel cells as efficient and sustainable energy sources, presented by Sunita Satyapal, Director of the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office. The Wednesday, April 3, luncheon showcases a talk by Gavin Towler, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Honeywell Performance Materials Technologies, who will discuss integrated process safety management.

AIChE will update its social media channels throughout the Spring Meeting and GCPS. News, video interviews, and coverage of special events and keynotes will be available at ChEnected, AIChE’s online community blog (Aiche.org/chenected); Facebook (Facebook.com/chenected); and our Twitter feed (@chenected). Attendees can discuss the meeting or make connections at AIChE.org/Spring/Engage. The hashtags for the meeting are #AIChESpring and #GCPS.

For more information about the conference or related workshops and meetings, please visit www.aiche.org/spring.

Editor’s note: Journalists interested in covering the conference should contact Gordon Ellis at gorde@aiche.org.

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 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 www.aiche.org.