RAPID’s networking and poster session at AIChE’s 2018 Annual Meeting surpassed expectations. Over 120 RAPID members and supporters converged on our session to view 38 posters and engage presenters on their projects. Breakthrough technologies and novel equipment models are not often easy to articulate verbally, let alone graphically or textually; however, RAPID members managed to rise to the occasion. Fereshteh Farzad, RAPID’s new Technical Program Manager, who managed the entire poster session from beginning to end, notes that “our objectives were manifold: to detail and communicate vital research work being done by members to other members and to foster future collaborations and connections.”

Clearly, the combination of clear and vibrant posters along with enthusiastic presenters contributed to the success of the event.

Yang Luo, R&D Director at Praxair shared her perspective, “You could clearly get a sense of the types of innovative process intensification (PI) technology development activities RAPID has funded. I was glad to meet many senior process industry professionals and academic leaders who attended.  I would encourage more members, especially industry members, to take advantage of such events in the future to get a first glance at the emerging PI technologies in development.”

The poster session was not confined to RAPID members alone—graduate and undergraduate students who participated in RAPID’s inaugural summer intern program also presented posters on their research work. Adds Yang, “It was even more gratifying to meet RAPID interns and graduate students who proudly presented posters for their projects. I was able to talk to several students about pressure swing adsorption modeling, advanced composite membranes for natural gas purification, and process intensification to transition the traditional batch process to continuous process.”

Yang Luo was not only impressed by the caliber and knowledge of these students, “who could be our future leaders in process intensification technology,” but also found it refreshing to see advanced process technology development making waves in current chemical engineering graduate education.

RAPID CEO Bill Grieco echoed similar sentiments, “Taking a leadership role in PI means making information readily available to our community through education and workforce training and information exchanges such as poster sessions and workshops. Innovation and big ideas don’t just happen in a bubble; they have to coalesce while solving very real industry problems.  That is what RAPID is all about—bringing together the right members in a community dedicated to problem-solving. The resulting big ideas will lead to new technologies that transform our industry.”

Smaller member organizations, who have limited resources and need to make every effort count, also found the event extremely beneficial for showcasing their big ideas. “The poster session provided an ideal informal venue for connecting with other organizations who were interested in what we are working on. We had several promising discussions that we look forward to following up on,” affirms Hannah Murnen, VP of Business Development for Compact Membrane Systems.  

Professor Chau-Chyun Chen of Texas Tech, along with a chorus of other members, pronounced the event a “resounding success” and many hope it will become a RAPID tradition because of its distinct value to the RAPID community. As RAPID continues to grow, so too will more member programming to enhance member experiences and outcomes.