AIChE | The Global Home of Chemical Engineers

Switzerland: The Success of Its Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Industries

December
2013
Global Outlook
Konrad Hungerbühler, Stavros Papadokonstantakis, Marcel Sennhauser
The strong international presence of Switzerland’s chemicals industries — characterized by a major export market and substantial investment in its companies abroad — has helped to make the Swiss chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries among the world’s most successful.

CEP: Commentary - Educating Students to Become Engineers

June
2014
Commentary
R Russell Rhinehart
The article “How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?” in the Update section of the April issue of CEP (pp. 4–5, 14–15) meshed with my career-long concern about engineering education. I graduated in 1968, with pride in my skills, from “a strong program” that “was about to break into the top ten,” as we were told. It was a good program in many ways, but after two years in industry, I came to realize the misdirected perspectives I had acquired as a student. After 13 years in industry and 28 in academia, I have concluded that neither the academic perception of excellence nor the tasks students are required to complete align with the perceptions and tasks that lead to success in industry.

CEP: Editorial - It’s All About the Culture

December
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the worst chemical accident in history — the catastrophic release of methyl isocyanate (MIC) from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984 that resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries. Two articles and the Process Safety Beacon in this issue review some of the lessons learned from that tragic incident.

Employment of Chemical Engineers

January
2002
Special Section
Freeman Self , Freeman Self
An analysis of past employment data can help identify future trends in chemical engineering. FreemanSelf-EdEkholm-

Chemical Looping Rises to the Challenge

May
2015
On The Horizon
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.

CEP: Process Automation Corner – The U.S. Chemicals Industry in Perspective

June
2015
Process Automation Corner
Terrence McMahon
If the U.S. economy were a professional sports league, the chemicals industry would be a franchise player. A healthy economy needs a core of financially strong, internationally competitive industries making products that can be sold in any geographic market. These industries provide highly compensated employment opportunities, which in turn creates flourishing communities and intellectual capital potential. Improved production processes and higher-quality products do not develop in a vacuum, but rather in the context of solving day-to-day production problems. Without domestic manufacturing, these opportunities are lost. Franchise industries are also export machines. This last quality is vital to a healthy economy — chronic trade deficits are a harbinger of decline.

Patent Update: Process Claims: Know Your Infringer

September
2015
Patent Update
Henry Heines
Process patents are an important class of patents, as many inventions are best-defined, or most clearly patentable, as processes. In many cases, a well-crafted process claim can keep the most threatening competitors at bay and be highly lucrative...

Profile: Emily Leproust: Revolutionizing DNA Syntheses

December
2015
Profile
Emily Leproust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience, is reinventing the wheel when it comes to DNA synthesis. “I have one goal with respect to DNA synthesis — that’s to make cloning obsolete,” she says. Synthetic DNA can be used to modify the...

Consider Recycled Water for Your Cooling Tower Makeup

February
2013
Heat Transfer
Paul Puckorius
Many types of “used” water may be appropriate as cooling tower makeup. Here’s how to determine which waters are suitable and cost-effective for the equipment in your cooling system.

Sizing Pressure-Relief Devices

October
2013
Back To Basics
Dr. Daniel A. Crowl, Scott A. Tipler
Although relief devices may never be activated, they must be designed and sized to function correctly every time they are necessary. This article provides an introduction to sizing pressure-relief devices for liquid and vapor service.

CEP: Editorial - Whatever You Do, Don’t Look Down

March
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
You’ve spent hours writing your paper, preparing the slides for your presentation, and practicing your talk. You’ve endured the humiliation of the airport security inspection, the frustration of the weather-related flight delay, the discomfort of the cramped airplane seats, and the disruption of your circadian rhythm after crossing several time zones. You arrive at the meeting room early, check your slides on the session chair’s laptop, get comfortable with the remote, and test the mic. You are excited to be part of this group of experts, and are looking forward to sharing your thoughts and engaging in a lively dialogue.

CEP: YPOV - Anything Can Change, But Not Everything Must

September
2014
YPOV
Alex Ruddick
Good morning! Or should I say good evening? The sun is just setting as I write this in Mangalore, India, where the time leads the U.S. by half a day. By the time this article is printed, India Standard Time will join the growing list of time zones...

Apply Can’t Rather than Don’t to Your Process

December
2014
Safety
William Levinson
Many safety systems rely on human intervention to prevent incidents. A different approach is to make it impossible for a catastrophic accident to occur. Learn how to implement the Can’t Rather than Don’t principle.

Recognize Hazards to Recognize Change

April
2015
Safety
Donald Lorenzo, Mark Suyama, Della Wong
Improve your management of change (MOC) system by training workers to recognize hazards as indicators of change.

Do Your Due Diligence

July
2015
Career Catalyst
Herbert Cooper
Use this guidance to conduct comprehensive due diligence assessments and help ensure your acquisitions — of equipment, technologies, facilities, or companies — are operationally and technologically successful.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Sensing Safety

August
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Most of us are fortunate enough to have five working senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. We use these personal, internal feedback loops to perceive and understand our surroundings, which makes our senses some of our most valuable and essential safety equipment. Before the advent of optical, vibrational, and auditory sensors, the chemical process industries (CPI) depended on sensory perception to identify operational upsets or changes. Although sensing equipment is now ubiquitous in CPI facilities, we must also use our senses to collect critical safety data, rather than blindly relying on equipment to signal unsafe conditions.

CEP Editorial: Help Grow AIChE’s Apprentice Program

April
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
If you are a young professional under the age of 35 and are willing to assume a leadership role in AIChE (on a project of your choice), the AIChE Foundation, through its Young Professionals Apprentice program ( CEP, Sept. 2012, p. 72), will...

The Growth of a Chemicals Industry in Russia

October
2014
Global Outlook
German Dyakonov, Nelly Lyzhina, Nadir Ziyatdinov
Russia’s chemicals industry has experienced ups and downs since its formation. Although the country was hit hard by the Great Recession, it appears to have bounced back and is now investing in modernizing highly outdated equipment and processes.

SBE Special Section: Lignocellulosic Biofuels - Full 32-Page Supplement

March
2015
SBE Special Section
Tristan R. Brown, Robert Brown, Sergio C. Capareda, Bruce E. Dale, David Edwards, Vonnie Estes, Cesar Granda, Mark Holtzapple, Sagar Lonkar, Darlene Schuster, Charles Wyman
SBE Update; The Need for Biofuels; Producing Biofuels via the Thermochemical Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Sugar Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Carboxylate Platform; Scaling Up Bioenergy Technologies; Commercial-Scale Production of Lignocellulosic Biofuels

The Road to Sustainability

June
2007
Special Section
Darlene Schuster
What are some of the resources available to support industry's implementation of sustainability?

Algal Biofuels: The Research

March
2011
SBE Special Section
Kuan-Chen Cheng, Kimberly Ogden
The individual technical elements of the algae-to-biofuels process have already been demonstrated at the laboratory scale. Ongoing research seeks to refine the technology to enable scaleup to commercial production.

Bioactive Devices: Uniting Form with Function

March
2013
SBE Special Section
Sujata Bhatia
Bioactive implants that combine a medical device with one or more biologic therapeutic agents show promise for the targeted treatment of complex medical conditions. Implantable medical devices, such as stents, grafts, and joint replacements, are...

Understand the Basics of Process Analytical Technology

August
2013
Instrumentation
Joseph Alford
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies can reap benefits from PAT, which involves identifying critical process parameters (CPPs) that influence key product attributes and controlling these CPPs to improve process efficiency and product consiste

Ten Steps to an Effective Bin Design

November
2013
Back To Basics
Eric Maynard
Before choosing a bin and hopper for your bulk solids application, the flow properties and characteristics of the powder or bulk material must be known. Use this ten-step approach to determine the optimal bin design for your process.

CEP: Career Corner - Is Starting a Consulting Practice Right for You?

June
2014
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
Are you considering starting your own engineering consulting practice? One of my best career moves was leaving my corporate position to open my own consulting firm. Perhaps, like me, you were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, or perhaps your current employer is downsizing and a severance package will provide you with the opportunity you have been waiting for — not to mention the cash reserves you need to get through your first year. Consulting may seem like a glamorous career, one in which you get to work when you want and make lots of money. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must be able to work without having the structure and accountability that being employed by someone else provides.

CEP: Editorial - Energy Cost Averaging

March
2015
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Last year, when we chose biofuels as the topic for this issue’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) supplement, we did not anticipate the precipitous drop in oil prices of recent months. As we were pulling the articles together, guest editor Mark Holtzapple expressed concern that oil prices would be low when the issue appears. “If readers do not think too deeply, they might say ‘These academics are sure out of touch. Don’t they know oil prices are low?’”

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Verify, then Act

May
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
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.

New Products: December 2015

December
2015
New Products
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...

CEP: Editorial - Elements of Fun

September
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, September 2014. Whenever I come across an interesting article or tidbit of information in the general media that I think might make a...

Revive Your Columns with Cyclic Distillation

December
2015
Reactions and Separations
Costin Sorin Bîldea, Anton A. Kiss
This process intensification technique involves changing a tower’s internals and operating mode and the separate movement of the liquid and vapor phases. This can significantly increase column throughput and reduce energy requirements, while improving separation performance.

CEP: Career Corner - Don’t Stop Learning

December
2013
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
When was the last time you learned something new for your job? A generation ago, chemical engineers could expect to settle into a well-defined position at one company and remain there for an entire career. Today, things could not be more different. Many engineers change jobs at least once, or take on additional responsibilities that require new knowledge and skills.

CEP: Editorial - ChemEs Just Need to Have Fun

January
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
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.

Complete Your Capital Project Efficiently

January
2015
Career Catalyst
Glen Rosentrater
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.

Refocusing Chemical Engineering

January
2002
Special Section
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.

SBE Special Section: Biopharmaceuticals (Full 19-Page Supplement)

December
2015
SBE Special Section
Chun Chen, Chetan T. Goudar, Huong Le, Todd Przybycien, Nigel Titchener-Hooker
SBE Update: Continuous Progress in Biopharmaceuticals; Continuous Processing in Upstream Operations; Continuous Processing in Downstream Operations; A Look at the Regulations

CEP: Editorial - Batteries — Can’t Live without Them …

October
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
And living with them isn’t always easy, either. Two experiences drove the latter point home to me recently. As we were working on this issue with its special section on lithium-ion batteries, both of my laptop’s batteries — the main battery that...

SBE Supplement: Biochemical Engineering - Cell-Free Bioprocessing

November
2013
SBE Special Section
James Swartz
The ability to exploit a cell’s contents and capabilities unimpeded by cell walls opens new opportunities for the field of biochemical engineering. Cell-free biology could become the basis for making products from hydrogen to cancer vaccines and more.

CEP: Editorial - Getting ChE Education Right — Part 2

June
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Our discussion of chemical engineering education began in the April issue, with the news story “How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?” and my editorial, “Getting ChE Education Right.” This month, we look at education again, with two more articles. The April articles resonated with Russ Rhinehart, a professor at Oklahoma State Univ., and inspired him to write a letter to the editor, which became this issue’s Commentary, “Educating Students to Become Engineers” (pp. 14–15). By coincidence, the AIChE Journal Highlight, “A Broader Role for the Evolving Engineer” (p. 13), also focuses on education.

Consider the Role of Safety Layers in the Bhopal Disaster

December
2014
Safety
Dr. Ronald J. Willey
As the situation unfolded, numerous layers of protection failed. Take a look at the safety layers that worked and those that did not, and ask whether there are similarities at your facility.

Make Your Plant More Energy-Efficient

December
2005
Heat Transfer
Alan P. Rossiter
Improve energy management by optimizing current equipment and operations, implementing economic investments, and engaging in sustaining activities.

Recombinant Protein Therapeutics from CHO Cells -- 20 Years and Counting

October
2007
SBE Special Section
Dr. Wei-Shou Hu, Karthik P. Jayapal, Katie F Wlaschin, Wei-Shou Hu and Miranda G. S. Yap
The CHO cell is at its height of technological prominence thanks to its adaptability to various culture conditions and plasticity in the context of genetic alterations. With further research, the application ofCell Culture Strategies based on...

Improve Energy Efficiency via Heat Integration

December
2010
Heat Transfer
Alan P. Rossiter
Process heat integration using pinch analysis is a respected tool for achieving energy efficiency. This article explains what pinch analysis is and how to use it in process design and operation to attain real-world energy efficiency gains.

OSHA's New Chemical NEP: How to Make the Grade and Earn Extra Credit

October
2012
Safety
Heather Forgione, Henry Ozog
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration evaluates chemical facilities’ process safety management systems through a new national emphasis program. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of receiving citations, streamline the inspection process, and pave the way for future excellence.

CEP: Editorial - Energy Literacy

November
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
A poll conducted by the Univ. of Texas at Austin ( www.utenergypoll.com/newsroom ) in September found that the average American does not have a good understanding of energy issues. What’s saddening is that many don’t seem to care much about energy...

Size Control Valves for Lab-Scale Laminar Flow

March
2014
Fluids and Solids Handling
Grant Girouard, Paul Martin
Existing equations used to size control valves are inadequate for laboratory- and pilot-scale work. Use the simple equation introduced in this article to accurately size needle control valves for laminar and transitional flow.

CEP: YPOV - Electricity and the Environment

July
2014
YPOV
Noah Meeks
Electricity generated by fossil fuels is a relatively stable and low-cost commodity, and fossil fuels will continue to be an important source of energy for the forseeable future. The environmental impact of electricity generation is minimized...

Control Column Pressure via Hot-Vapor Bypass

February
2015
Back To Basics
Daryl Hanson, Henry Z. Kister
Hot-vapor bypass employs a flooded condenser located at ground level to control distillation tower pressure. It offers capital cost savings, but can be tricky to implement. This article offers guidance on designing and troubleshooting a hot-vapor bypass system.

Automate Your Batch Process — Part 2

September
2015
Instrumentation
Cecil Smith
A chemical engineer’s knowledge of the process is an asset to batch process automation efforts. Learn what aspects of batch process automation deserve special consideration, as well as issues on the horizon for this developing field.

Commentary: Why CRS Does Not Publish Its Reports

October
2015
Commentary
David Gushee
The Congressional Research Service provides objective, nonpartisan analyses that enable Senators and Representatives to make informed public policy decisions. The public policy world these days is filled with biased, distorted, or just plain...

Editorial: A Vote for Science and Engineering

December
2015
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Even though the election of a new U.S. President is almost a year away, it’s hard to ignore the news media’s extensive coverage of the many candidates — their debates, their campaign speeches, their experience; almost anything they do or say is fair...

Benchmarking Sustainability

June
2007
Special Section
Darlene Schuster, Calvin Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff and Dicksen Tanzil
Unlike other sustainability indices, the AIChE Sustainability Index (SI) accounts for key factors that are fundamental to the chemical process industries.

A MagDot-Nanoconveyor Assay Detects and Isolates Molecular Biomarkers

December
2012
SBE Special Section
Jeffrey Chalmers, Maryam B. Lustberg, M.D., Kalpesh Mahajan, Brandon Miller, Gang Ruan, Ratnasingham Sooryakumar, Gregory B. Vieira, Jessica Winter
The ability to quickly analyze, separate, and manipulate multiple types of biomarkers from small sample volumes is a significant step toward personalized medicine.

CEP: YPOV - Successfully Navigating in a New Career

May
2015
YPOV
Kyle Kramer
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...

CEP: Editorial - From To-Do to Done

June
2015
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
I find inspiration for my editorials in all sorts of places. This month’s topic came to me from a list of strange holidays, where I came across September 6, Fight Procrastination Day. You might expect this in the October issue, or later, given the...

New Products: December 2015

January
2016
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...

CEP: Profile - A Rock Star Among ChEs

December
2012
Profile
Emily Frangenberg
Rock star is not a term associated with many chemical engineers. It does, however, accurately capture the accomplishments and accolades — the phenomenon — of Robert Langer. His vision and technical excellence have propelled scores of significant...

Graphene Marches Down a Long Road to Commercialization

April
2013
News Feature
Michelle Bryner
With so much graphene research underway, it can be hard to keep track of the progress, as well as to evaluate the commercial viability of such developments. Here’s a look at what scientists and engineers are doing and saying about graphene.

Nuclear Waste Policy in the United States

July
2010
Special Section
Bond Calloway, Sarah Widder
The current U.S. reactor fleet produces 2,100–2,400 ton/yr of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). After 50-plus years of nuclear power generation, 64,000 tons of SNF has accumulated in temporary storage at the reactor sites. How did we get where we are, and...

Assess Hazards with Process Flow Failure Modes Analysis

March
2013
Safety
Rosalynn MacGregor
Process flow failure modes (PFFM) analysis is an intuitive, process-flow-directed way to identify potentially hazardous scenarios. Learn how to apply this technique to your process hazard reviews.

Minimize Electrostatic Hazards During Process Operations

June
2013
Safety
Vahid Ebadat, Ph.D.
Understand the electrostatic hazards of your process so you can limit the accumulation of charge and prevent static discharge in flammable atmospheres. Select the appropriate combination of electrostatic mitigation measures to ensure safety from electrostatic ignition hazards.

Take the FUN Out of Process Safety

February
2014
Safety
Peter Lodal
Process safety can be approached in many different ways. This article provides an unconventional way of looking at process safety that ties together wide-ranging ideas from seemingly disparate fields.

CEP: Editorial - Getting ChE Education Right

April
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
When I was in college, I earned some spending money as a shoe model for a local freelance photographer. Little did I know I would become a cover girl. But a few years later, shortly after I began my career as an editor (at a different magazine), I was tapped for just that role. Wearing a black cap and gown and photographed looking out into a maze of piping in a chemical plant, I represented a young graduate facing my first job in industry. The cover line — “Chemical engineering education: How good is it, really?” — referred to an article that discussed the results of a reader survey conducted by two of my colleagues. That was 31 years ago. Today, we are still pondering the same question.

CEP: Editorial - Take a Hike

July
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Although I recently returned from a vacation and would love to tell you about the hiking we did, that’s not the topic of this editorial. Previously, I wrote about jump-starting creativity through relaxation and trying something new (Dec. 2013) and by incorporating play into your day (Jan. 2014). Here’s another powerful creativity booster to add to your toolbox — walking. Your walk doesn’t have to be an eight-mile trek from the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the rim nearly a mile higher. Walking can be as simple as doing laps around the office, or getting off the bus or train a stop or two early and walking the rest of the way to your destination.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Personal Growth and Lessons Learned from Two Global Tragedies

November
2014
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
The 30-year anniversaries of two events of significance to the chemical engineering profession, particularly the process safety community, occur in November and December — the PEMEX disaster outside of Mexico City, Mexico, and the Union Carbide Corp. tragedy in Bhopal, India. These two incidents, two-and-a-half weeks apart, molded my professional career and ultimately motivated me to work for the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) at AIChE, where our mission is to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

Turkey’s Chemicals Industry Expands into Global Markets

May
2015
Global Outlook
Metin Turkay
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.

YPOV: Is a Nontraditional ChemE Career for You?

September
2015
YPOV
Victor Manrique
The rapid growth of technology, globalization, the changing demographics of the workforce — all of these factors have eliminated the former notion of a linear career path. Modern-day employment requires workers to be adaptable to any and every...

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