Virtual Meeting Explores Safety, Big Data, Manufacturing, and More

AIChE’s First Virtual Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Debuts Online, August 17–21


Chemical engineers, company leaders, and innovators working across the chemical process industries (CPI) will help AIChE and its Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) launch a new approach to major-meeting programming when AIChE presents its 2020 Virtual Spring Meeting and 16th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS) online, Aug. 17–21.

The conference and its associated events — including the Frontiers in Particle Science and Technology Conference  — had been rescheduled to take place in August in Houston, TX, as a safety measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, AIChE decided to move the August conference online. New-attendee registration is open at reduced rates, and fees for previously registered attendees have been adjusted. Up-to-date program and participation information is available at

Flexible and interactive format

This year’s interactive online format will permit new flexibility for attendees, including the ability to view recorded presentations for approximately one month after the event. Full-meeting registrants will receive access to all of the recorded presentations.

Each conference day will begin with a keynote presentation, followed by alternating blocks throughout the day devoted to technical sessions and networking, and highlighted by opportunities to interact with speakers, poster presenters, exhibitors, and colleagues in topical discussion rooms.

Spring Meeting highlights to watch for

Setting the stage for the entire conference on Monday, August 17, is the AIChE Government and Industry Leaders (AGILE) Award Keynote lecture, to be delivered by Bhavesh V. (Bob) Patel, Chief Executive Officer of LyondellBasell. Patel’s address will explore factors and forces affecting the global petrochemical industry.

Another highlight on August 17 will be an industry panel devoted to the chemical process industries’ response to COVID-19. Company leaders will describe the ways that COVID-19 has shaped corporate culture; developments in the search for effective vaccines; and the CPI’s contributions to controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Highly focused topical conferences, many brand new

The role of chemical engineers as drivers of efficient manufacturing techniques will be examined in several topical conferences under the “Industry 4.0” umbrella, incorporating topics such as big data analytics and digitalization.

New topical conferences are being devoted to the safe transition to the hydrogen economy, as well as chemical engineering’s role in addressing the problems of waste plastics. Other conferences include the 8th International Conference on Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance, the 20th Gas Utilization Conference, the 23rd Refinery Processing Conference, and the 32nd Ethylene Producers Conference, as well as conferences covering clean and efficient energy, distillation, heat exchangers, process intensification, and strategies for career building in a virtual environment.

AIChE’s Fuels and Petrochemicals Division kicks off its energy-focused programming on August 17 with a plenary address — co-programmed with the Industry 4.0 topical conference — presented by Lloyd Colegrove (Dow Chemical), who will discuss the impact of big data analytics on the transformation of the chemicals industry. The Big Data Analytics Plenary Session on August 18 includes a keynote by Antonio Pietri (AspenTech), who will describe how artificial intelligence and digitalization are transforming the process industries. The plenary also welcomes Robert J. Reynolds (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), who will discuss NASA’s use of data analytics in monitoring human health.

Daily keynote speakers include Matt Loeb (SECURE) who will discuss cybersecurity; Thomas Munoz (Homeland Security Director for Texas City, TX), who will describe a collaborative approach toward a community’s disaster recovery process; and Mark Johnson (Clemson University and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy).

Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS)

Organized by AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), the Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS) engages safety engineers, plant managers and process design experts worldwide in a continuing exploration of 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 begins on August 17 with a plenary keynote address by Shakeel Kadri, Executive Director and CEO of CCPS, whose talk is entitled “Does Age Really Matter?”

The GCPS incorporates the programming of the 54th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, the 22nd Process Plant Safety Symposium, and the 9th Process Safety Management Mentoring Forum. At the 35th CCPS International Conference, experts will review the industry’s progress toward CCPS’s Vision 20/20 goals for process safety excellence, and consider steps to advance global process safety in the years ahead. The international emphasis of the meeting is underscored in sessions offering “Perspectives on Process Safety from Around the Globe.” A session devoted to “Case Histories and Lessons Learned” (August 21) spotlights a cross-section of real-world plant incidents.

More information and registration

For the latest program and registration information, and to learn how to participate in the virtual conference, visit or