Bhavesh (Bob) Patel, CEO and chairman of the management board of LyondellBasell, talks to CEP about his strategy for leading one of the largest plastics, chemicals, and refining companies in the world. In 2010–2011, faced with significant debt and soft demand, the company had to restructure and cut costs. Emerging from those dark times, LyondellBasell is now focused on growth and expanding its operations where it has a competitive advantage.
Adam Whalley, P.Eng.,
Although pilot- and commercial-scale plants may appear similar, they must be designed with different objectives in mind. Find out how the design criteria for pilot and commercial plants differ, and why commercial specifications should not be applied to pilot plants.
In order to stay competitive, the bio-based chemicals industry will need to pave a path within the existing value chain, with a sharp focus on economic considerations.
We treat our phones as necessary extensions of ourselves, and it is now hard to imagine life without what has become like an additional limb. Similarly, we have grown so used to computers, cars, and items requiring batteries that many of us would...
Biocatalysis, the use of enzymes to perform synthetic chemistry, has grown in significance. Today, enzymes are becoming part of the essential toolbox for the industrial synthesis of high-purity chemicals.
Mihail C. Roco
Nanoscale science and engineering continue to evolve from a scientific novelty to a broad-based technology with potential to transform medicine, productivity, sustainability, and quality of life.
Shrikant Dhodapkar, Karl V. Jacob, Madhusudhan Kodam
Many factors affect the flowrate of bulk solids. This article reviews the underlying physics of solids flow and explains how to calculate the discharge rate of solids from processing and handling equipment.
Sravani Gullapalli, Michael Wong
Rapid change in the field of nanotechnology can make it hard to keep track of the latest nanomaterial developments. Here's a primer on the most common shapes, sizes, and compositions of nano-objects.
Product Focus: Heat Transfer Heat Exchanger Delivers Hot Water On Demand The EasiHeat domestic hot water (DHW) system incorporates Spirax Intelligent Monitoring System (S.I.M.S) technology to deliver a constant supply of hot water at a stable...
If you are a new graduate starting your first job or a student beginning a summer internship at a chemical plant, laboratory, or manufacturing facility, this might be your first time working in the presence of heavy machinery and chemicals. Although...
Chemical engineers, from the practicing process engineer to the academic researcher, are being asked more and more often to manipulate, transform, and analyze complex data sets. The combination of strategies and tools associated with those tasks is...
Inherent Safety at Chemical Sites: Reducing Vulnerability to Accidents and Terrorism Through Green Chemistry Paul T. Anastas and David G. Hammond, Elsevier, New York, NY, $49.95, 134 pages, Oct. 2015, ISBN: 978-0-128-04190-1 Accidental or deliberate...
The wealth of information and knowledge that you can gain at an AIChE conference is extraordinary. At every turn, professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates are sharing their ideas and accomplishments with other conference-goers. The week...
Thomas R. Theising
If your facility has an upcoming energy assessment, you might be overwhelmed with the list of things you need to do, data you need to organize, and people you need to contact. This article streamlines the planning process and recommends steps you can take to optimize your facility’s energy costs.
Building Microstructures, One Particle at a Time As engineers and scientists synthesize ever-smaller structures, one source of building blocks is colloidal particles. Now, a new method enables the creation of colloidal particle structures with...
Many leaders and managers consider Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, required reading. Three articles in this issue evoke Covey’s Habit 2: begin with the end in mind.
Scott Hebert, Neil Sandford
CPI companies are switching to fixed valves despite a slight loss in operational flexibility. Fixed valves offer better reliability, fouling resistance, and more robust valve designs.
On Jan. 29, 2016, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a report and video animation of an April 17, 2013, explosion in an agricultural chemical storage facility in West, TX. The explosion caused 15 fatalities, more...
Ronald Darby, Ron Darby, Paul R. Meiller, & Jarad R. Stockton
A variety of methods exist for sizing valves, but not all give the best predictions for certain conditions. RonDarby-PaulR.Meiller-JaradR.Stockton-
Despite the progress made in project management theory, these advances are just starting to make their way into the chemical process industries. Use this step-by-step framework to implement some key best practices.
Ulku Oktem, Ankur Pariyani, Dr. Warren Seider, Masoud Soroush
Valuable information about unsafe conditions resides in the large alarm databases of distributed control systems and emergency shutdown systems. This overlooked and underutilized information can be analyzed to identify process near-misses and determine the probability of serious accidents.
Sujata Bhatia, Shruti Sharma
From implant design to scaffold development and prosthetic construction, 3D printing offers unique solutions for complex problems in the biomedical sciences.
Process safety is on my mind for several reasons, including the recent explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant and this month’s On the Horizon article, “Improve Process Safety with Near-Miss Analysis,” by Ulku Oktem, Warren Seider, Masoud Soroush, and...
This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, May 2015. Much has been written about chemical engineering education, particularly what students should be taught to prepare them for a...
Alan P. Rossiter
Enhance your facility’s energy efficiency through operational improvements, effective maintenance, engineered improvements, and new technologies.
Use this 9-step methodology to design and operate a reliable and cost-effective system to efficiently transport materials.
Asking “how could I make this fail?” can help you to identify potential problems that you might not otherwise have considered.
Manjusri Misra, Amar Mohanty, Murali M. Reddy
Biological feedstocks are expected to gradually replace some fossil-based raw materials to create eco-friendly products, from car parts and packaging materials to electronic devices and other consumer goods - laying the foundation for a reduced-carbon economy.
Edward L. Cussler
The lecture is an important and indispensible tool for teaching undergraduate chemical engineering students. The electronics revolution will not dramatically change the basic structure of the lecture, but instead supplement and enhance what is being taught.
On a cold February day in 1996, I was on a ﬂight from Washington DC. Due to a horriﬁc snowstorm, the ﬂight landed 30 minutes late and passengers scrambled to make their connections. I turned to the pregnant passenger next to me to see if she needed...
Understand the principles behind the most common air-pollution-control technologies to select the most efﬁcient and cost-effective emissions control strategy.
Liang-Shih Fan, Liang Zeng, Siwei Luo
By separating a reaction into several subreactions, chemical looping minimizes exergy loss, facilitates product separation, and provides flexibility in process design.
Verify-then-act is a practice and mindset that all engineers and personnel in the chemical process industries (CPI) should adopt. Mixing the wrong chemicals, setting temperatures or pressures outside of safe operating limits, or performing a step out of sequence can result in a range of consequences, from a bad batch or loss of production to a catastrophic incident. However, simply verifying before acting can reduce the risk of these penalties and save time, money, and lives.
Follow the recommendations and how-to Guidance provided by the National Fire Protection Association to safeguard against fires and explosions.
Turn Our Hindsight into Your Foresight This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, May 2014. Reflecting on the first year of her chemical engineering career, Samantha Schmidt...
A discussion among graduating seniors and AIChE young professionals at the recent 2013 Southern Regional Student Conference turned to questions about negotiating job offers. The compensation you ﬁrst receive often dictates your future growth at a...
Congratulations to those of you who are graduating this month! This is a monumental time in your life. If you already have a job lined up, you are ready to walk across the graduation stage and into your future career. However, being the new person...
Scott Berger, Tim Overton and Scott Berger
Use these metrics to benchmark your company's process safety performance, and to set a course toward continual improvement.
The Turkish chemicals industry has the potential for significant growth, with increasing demand coming from both domestic and global markets. To capture this potential, the industry will need to increase production capacity and diversify its product portfolio.
Read about new products and services in the areas of heat transfer; fluids and solids handling; environmental, health, and safety; materials and chemicals; and operations and maintenance.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; materials and chemicals; fluids and solids handling; and heat transfer.
See the latest in laboratory equipment—benchtop meters featuring intelligent sensors, instrumentation, operations and maintenance, and materials.
With a global production of 150 million metric tons in 2013, polyolefins represent the largest class of synthetic polymers. Today, the industry uses a costly, time-consuming, “one catalyst, one material” trial-and-error approach to developing new polymers. Precision Polyolefins (PPL) intends to change the status quo by establishing a novel “one catalyst, many materials” paradigm for rapid discovery and product development of new polyolefins.
Metabolic Engineering Delivers Low-Cost Hydrogen; Metal-Free Catalyst Recharges Zinc-Air Batteries; Aluminum Could Take Charge of the Battery Market; New Desalination Membrane Resists Chlorine; and more
Meet AIChE’s New Fellows; AIChE Opens Houston Office; Your AIChE Membership — Career Services; Member News
An effective MOC system is vital to the success of any piping integrity management program. Your plant inspection group can anticipate changes in corrosion or other deterioration and change inspection schedules and procedures appropriately. Make sure your inspection group is involved in the approval process for changes that may affect the integrity of piping or other equipment.
Outline your philosophies and strategies at the start of a project to help guide your activities toward success.
Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Wrap-Up; New Fellows; Professional Licensure and the Industrial Exemption; Member News
More than 75% of the world's food testing continues to rely on 120-yr-old cell-culture methods, which take days to produce results. New technology developed by scientists at Rheonix Inc., based in Ithaca, NY, is enabling a portable unit that greatly simplifies the testing through automation, providing results in hours instead of days and reducing costs. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has incorporated the Rheonix technology into a new generation of PCRbased rapid analysis for the food- and beverage-testing markets.
The familiar ring-shaped stain left behind after spilled coffee has dried represents a complex engineering problem involving principles of heat and mass transport, fluid mechanics, and surface phenomena (among others) whose solution has value well beyond spilled coffee, including the analysis of DNA microarrays, inkjet printing, and coating. In the May AIChE Journal review article, “Transport and Deposition Patterns in Drying Sessile Droplets,” Ronald Larson of the Univ. of Michigan examines this engineering problem — understanding the processes by which a liquid drop (containing nonvolatile solute or colloidal particles) on a surface evaporates and leaves behind the particles that form a stain.
Stick-On Health Tracker Twists, Stretches, and Bends; No Corn Needed: Ethanol Is Produced from CO; Engineered Bacteria Turn Switchgrass into Jet Fuel; Reversing Evolution Promises Cheaper Pharmaceuticals; and more.
Refineries may appear complicated at first glance. Breaking them down into a series of units makes them easier to understand. This article describes the basic building blocks of a fuels refinery, from crude oil inlet to fuels distribution.
One year ago, I was putting the finishing touches on my senior design project, taking my last round of undergraduate final exams, and preparing to move to Cincinnati to start my new job in an engineering and operations rotational program at General...
Margaret W. Hunt
Although corrosion resistance is of paramount importance, many factors must be considered when selecting materials of construction. Follow this four-step process to identify the appropriate material for your application.
We may think of process safety incidents as fires, explosions, and immediate injuries from exposure to toxic, corrosive, or otherwise hazardous materials. However, major spills of hazardous materials, especially into rivers or other bodies of water, are also process safety incidents. They have the potential to impact large numbers of people, including people far away from your plant.
Whether we are talking about occupational safety or process safety, normalizing a deviation can result in unsafe practices, conditions, and operations. Getting comfortable with and accepting these deviations can cause a shift in our perception of what is safe. Why does this matter? Moving the target for safe operating limits and tolerating the higher risk s associated with doing so can ultimately lead to a catastrophic incident.
Shape-Shifting Polymers Go 3D; MOF Cuts Energy Costs of Gas Separation; Plastic Morphs from Smooth to Bumpy, and Back Again; Nanoscale Topography Puts the Brakes on Cancer Growth; Metamaterials Enter a New Dimension; and more.
Understand what kind of pressure-relief valves you have in your plant, and know what you must do to ensure that they work properly.