ACC Forecasts Bright Outlook for the Chemical Industry Several economic challenges, including a slowdown in China and recession in several emerging markets, pulled down growth in the global chemical industry last year. Nanostamps Enable Precision...
Mary Ellen Ternes, Courtney Johnson
With this issue, CEP launches a new quarterly column devoted to the chemical engineer in the public realm — both as an agent for societal change and as a participant in the formation of public policy. Pertinent to our first column, AIChE considers...
Chemical reaction engineering (CRE) plays an essential role in addressing the challenges of meeting the world’s demands for energy, food, water, and medicine in a sustainable way while protecting the environment. This was the theme of the 24th...
Applying to doctoral programs can seem like a daunting task. But doing your research and staying organized can help you earn an acceptance letter from a quality school.
Many distributed natural-gas-containing resources, which include natural gas, landfill gas, and biogas, contain significant amounts of sulfur (mainly as hydrogen sulfide). The sulfur content in these gases, which can range from several hundred parts per million to several percent, must be reduced to acceptable levels (e.g., 1 ppm for demanding catalytic processes and several hundred ppm for internal combustion engines or boilers) before these gases can be utilized.
A fire in the Apollo 1 command module killed all three crew members during a launch rehearsal test on Jan. 27, 1967. The atmosphere of the command module was 100% oxygen at 16.7 psia (1.15 bar). Materials that are hard to ignite in air burn rapidly...
In a 2012 report, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) examined energy-efficiency opportunities looking forward to 2050 and found that energy efficiency could reduce projected 2050 U.S. energy use by 40–60%. Achieving those...
Steve Boes, P.E.
Employ the maintenance practices outlined here to increase the cooling capacity of your air-cooled heat exchangers.
Environmental, Health, and Safety Adsorbent Makes Use of Glass Waste The Green Glass Adsorbent Technology is made of recycled LCD-panel glass. This unique material adsorbs heavy metal ions from industrial wastewater, and then desorbs the ions so...
Henry Z. Kister, Chuck Winfield
Downcomer scanning can provide valuable information to diagnose your tower. In particular, these scans are useful for determining the mechanism of flooding — one of the most common problems encountered in distillation columns. Follow these guidelines to avoid pitfalls.
The Center for Chemical Process Safety’s (CCPS) Vision 20/20 program provides a comprehensive view of what great process safety looks like. The first installment of the Process Safety Visions (PSV) column ( CEP, Nov. 2016, p. 22) introduced Vision...
Glenn Young, Joel Olener
These are some of the worst process safety management (PSM) practices we have seen. Don’t make these mistakes.
Don’t be kept in the dark. Use thermal imaging to reveal the true colors of your process upset.
Lucy Lyudmila Alexander
The Brundtland Commission (formerly known as the World Commission on Environment and Development) coined the term sustainable development in a 1987 report, defining it as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising...
John C. Chen
The chemical enterprise is already global - a trend that is almost certain to continue. What does this trend mean for the chemical engineering profession and for the practicing professional?
James T. Cobb Jr., Gary K. Patterson, S. Ranil Wickramasinghe
Diversification, globalization, emerging technologies...Times have certainly changed for chemical engineers. But, has the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum kept pace?
This look at the continuing evolution of chemical engineering starts with reflections on the past.
Eldon R. Larsen
This article offers suggestions for adapting project management techniques to the needs of R&D projects.
The beneﬁcial microbes that convert milk into yogurt and act in our guts to promote digestive health cause big problems in ethanol fermentation tanks. These lactic acid bacteria (LAB) proliferate in ethanol feedstock and inhibit growth of ethanol-producing yeast — which slows down fermentation, reduces biofuel yield by as much as 20% per pound of input material, and results in production shutdowns due to contamination. The most common control measures, chemical antimicrobials such as antibiotics, do not eliminate LAB. Additionally, the potential for antibiotic residue limits the marketability of dried distillers grains, a byproduct of the fermentation process used as animal feed. Ecolyse Inc., based in College Station, TX, is working to address this issue by developing products to treat bacterial contamination.
Jonathan P. Walter
Steam trap management is important for the successful operation of a chemical processing plant. Follow these guidelines to realize the benefits of such a program.
Michael Dietrich, Paul Martin
These tried-and-true tips can streamline the design and construction of your pilot facility, while cutting costs.
Carbon dioxide emissions pose a significant global threat. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), atmospheric concentrations of CO 2 -equivalent must be limited to 450 ppm by 2100 to limit the global...
Christianto Wibowo, Lionel O'Young, Ka M. Ng
Use phase diagrams to develop reliable crystallization processes quickly and cost effectively.
Making early estimates of a product's cost components enables developers to manage resources wisely and evaluate the product's economic viability.
Eugeny Kenig, Panos Seferlis
Effective modeling of reactive absorption enhances system design, improves experiment planning for parameter-estimation, and facilitates process operation and control decisions.
This article bridges the gap between theory and practice for the design of continuous-ﬂow mechanically agitated reactors, with a focus on mechanical and hydraulic issues.
This is the inaugural article of CEP ’s new column, Leadership Q&A. Here, C-suite executives will discuss how they have overcome challenges, strategies for successful leadership, and tools and skills that they have found effective during their...
David Burns, Jason McLinn, Mark Porter
After several years of stability, oil prices plummeted to record lows in mid-2014. This, along with increased natural gas production in North America, has radically changed the basic economics of the chemical industry.
Water can be a hazard in process plants. When water is mixed with some materials, typically gases but also liquids, it can form a crystaline, ice-like solid. This solid is called a hydrate. When a hydrate forms, it can plug piping, instrument connections, valves, and other equipment, which causes process upsets that may be hazardous. Hydrogen sulfide, acetylene, methyl mercaptan, chlorine, vinyl fluoride, carbon dioxide, ethylene, methane, ethane, natural gas, and other hydrocarbon gases can form hydrates.
Loraine A. Huchler, P.E.
A new ASHRAE standard addresses Legionella in building water systems. Industrial facilities can apply the same risk-based decision-making approach to their cooling towers.
The differential equation for PID control contains three possible modes: proportional, integral, and derivative. This article describes the control equation in language that process engineers can readily understand.
Hybrid Material Delivers a One-Two Punch Gold and palladium are both valuable metals, for different reasons. Palladium is known for its catalytic ability, and gold for its plasmonic properties. Bifunctional Catalyst Upgrades Ethanol to Butanol...
During a nonroutine maintenance operation at the Tesoro petroleum refinery in Anacortes, WA, on April 2, 2010, a nearly 40-year-old heat exchanger located in a naphtha hydrotreater unit catastrophically failed. An explosion and intense fire killed...
The production of bioethanol fuel by fermentation generates a significant amount of CO 2 as a byproduct; every ton of ethanol produced is accompanied by a ton of CO 2 , which not only impacts the environment but also process yields and therefore...
Lucy Alexander, Derrick Wu
Welcome to Technical Entity Trends (TENT), a new monthly CEP column written by the staff of AIChE’s Technical Entities (TEs). The TEs are communities of chemical engineers and other professionals that address some of society’s grand challenges:...
Product Focus: Materials Enzyme Boosts Profits for Ethanol Plants Avantec Amp is an enzyme that improves yield and throughput in corn ethanol production, while increasing corn oil extraction and significantly reducing the need for some of the harsh...
The American water market is on the brink of change, and the push for greater water security and sustainability has increased over the past decade. Industrial water users are realizing that sustainable water use is not only good for the environment...
Ludwig’s Applied Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants, Vol. 3, 4th Ed. A. Kayode Coker, Gulf Professional Publishing, Waltham, MA, $175, 1,296 pages, Jan. 2015, ISBN: 978-0-75068-5-245 I bought my copy of Ludwig’s original Applied...
Eight years ago, I wrote that I was excited about the January 2008 issue because it marked the beginning of my new role as editor-in-chief. I was eager to try new things to make CEP an even better magazine, and — being the start of a new year — I...
Freeman Self , Freeman Self
An analysis of past employment data can help identify future trends in chemical engineering. FreemanSelf-EdEkholm-
Christopher Armstrong, Gaston Arseneault
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.
We need to make the best use of all the tools in our collective toolbox, including the talents of our disabled colleagues.
Edward L. Cussler, Edward L. Cussler
To adapt to changes in the industry, chemical engineers will require a change in mindset, as well as an enhanced skillset.
“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.
Alan P. Rossiter
In the application of pinch analysis for energy efficiency improvement and process optimization, technical excellence is necessary and human interactions are important for project success.
Steven T. Maher, P.E., Kristin D. Norton, P.E., Senem Surmeli
Continue to search for ways to build safety into your process — from conceptual through detailed design, to procurement and construction, and even into operation.
Douglas C. White
New measurements are valuable only if they increase the economic value of the plant. Evaluate a measurement investment by quantifying the expected improved ﬁnancial performance.
Molly R. Myers, Judy Perry
A little creativity during preparation — developing checklists, grouping similar processes, pre-populating worksheets, and considering possible deviations and safeguards before meeting face to face — goes a long way toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your PHA efforts.
Instrumentation Temperature Transmitters Feature Dual Sensor Inputs The THZ 3 and TDZ 3 two-wire (loop-powered) temperature transmitters provide an isolated and linear 4–20-mA output proportional to input. They can be configured quickly and easily...
Beth Beloff, Kevin Chin, Calvin B. Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Dicksen Tanzil
The AIChE Sustainability Index® provides benchmarks of a company’s performance on a variety of metrics related to corporate social responsibility.
Jack Chosnek, Victor H. Edwards, P.E.
Don't overlook opportunities to build more safety into a process that is already in operation.
Last month, I wrote about creativity and pointed out two ways to spark your creativity — relax, and look at things in a fresh way. As I was researching that editorial, I kept coming across another creativity booster: fun.
When reporting on events, writers and editors always need to be mindful of when the reader will receive the publication. This is especially critical for a monthly magazine like CEP. An event that is considered breaking news when we experience it or...
Botond Bertok, Heriberto Cabezas, Ferenc Friedler, István Heckl
This approach allows you to evaluate alternative supply chains based on criteria such as cost and environmental footprint to identify the most sustainable option.
Norman Ito, Timothy Olsen
Use these loop tuning guidelines to improve process control and enhance product uniformity Many undergraduate chemical engineering programs teach the Ziegler-Nichols tuning methods, developed by John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B. Nichols in the 1940s...
Capital projects are complicated and can be fraught with all sorts of issues. Follow these guidelines for safe and efficient work — to avoid problems, maintain relationships, and ensure your success as a construction manager.
Darlene Schuster, Calvin Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff and Dicksen Tanzil
The AIChE Sustainability Index provides practical benchmarks along a number of well-defined metrics.
Richard Calabrese, Dr. Suzanne Kresta, Minye Liu
Here is a look at the key milestones in the ﬁeld of mixing, and how these foundational developments paved the way for current industrial practice.
Beth Beloff, Botond Bertok, Heriberto Cabezas, Kevin Chin, Calvin B. Cobb, Ferenc Friedler, István Heckl, Reed M. Izatt , Darlene Schuster, Dicksen Tanzil
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.
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling and laboratory equipment.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation, fluids and solids handling, and laboratory equipment.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; heat tranfser; and fluids and solids handling.
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.
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...
Reed M. Izatt
With recycling rates near zero and demand for precious and specialty metals increasing as the number and variety of high-tech products increases, the need for creative, practical ideas to improve metal sustainability is of utmost importance.