CEP: May 2013

This month's On the Horizon article introduces the concept of dynamic risk analysis based on alarm databases. Other topics include: developing an effective air-pollution-control strategy; flowmeter selection, energy design reviews; and project management best practices. Also read about the latest developments in materials, nanotechnology, energy and biotechnology.


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 Ankur Pariyani (pp. 20–27).

The February Spotlight on Safety column focused on black swan events — i.e., highly improbable events that are unpredictable, carry massive impacts, and in retrospect can be explained in a way that makes them appear less random and more predictable than previously thought. In my editorial in that issue, I referred to work by Elisabeth Paté-Cornell of Stanford Univ., who suggested that the term black swan is used too liberally after a disaster as an excuse for poor planning.

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Improve Process Safety with Near-Miss Analysis

On The Horizon
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.

Selecting Flowmeters to Minimize Energy Costs

Greg Livelli
Choosing a flowmeter with a low permanent pressure loss can reduce pump or compressor work requirements and increase steam boiler capacities — thereby trimming annual energy costs.

Conducting an Energy Design Review

Emily Thorn Corthay, Megan Dover, Robert Griesbach, Robert Storey
Formal energy design reviews help to ensure that energy is treated as a key factor in decision-making throughout the various stages of a design project. This approach can significantly improve a site’s energy performance. An energy design review (EDR...

Hit the Ground Running on Your Next Project

Career Catalyst
Glen Rosentrater
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.
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