Archives :: Editor's Comments
November 1, 2014
For the past 19 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.; www.epa.gov) has been honoring innovative technologies that reduce hazards to humans and the environment. These achievements are of great interest since developing safer and environmentally sustainable processes is an important goal for the chemical process industries (CPI). Chemical technologies that are nominated for...
October 1, 2014
I recently read an article in my local newspaper about the Museum of Math, also known as “MoMath” (New York; www.momath.org), which piqued my interest and prompted me to learn more about it. The gallery of photos and videos on the MoMath website reveal a fun, “hands-on” approach to learning mathematics. Many activities seem to be geared to children, but some of the offerings would...
September 1, 2014
It seems that more and more, security concerns — both physical and cyber — have become part of our daily lives both off and on the job. The all-too-frequent news stories on the topic as well as repetitive prompts, such as the “if you see something, say something” slogan, remind us to keep up our vigilance. This past year, security has been the subject of more than one Executive...
July 1, 2014
What do you look for in a job? It is an interesting question, and one that has received more attention in recent years as employers, who are struggling to find and attain the “right” person for a particular job, realize that job expectations are changing. This struggle is perhaps most prominent in finding highly skilled employees, such as those needed in the chemical process industries (CPI)...
June 1, 2014
Last year I visited Yellowstone National Park for the first time. I was appropriately awed by the beauty of the landscape and majestic wildlife. One site that stays in my memory is the Grand Prismatic Spring — a steamy, colorful hot spring that is said to be the largest in the U.S. and third largest in the world. Our expert guide explained that some of the brilliant colors were due to microbes, and...
May 1, 2014
I remember a cartoon a colleague once showed me when I was a process development engineer working on process scaleup in a pilot plant. It showed a huge production-sized Erlenmeyer flask in a plant with several white-coated scientists standing around it scratching their heads. The caption read something like “Why we need chemical engineers.” I also remember friends and acquaintances, who were...
April 1, 2014
Big-time security threats and breaches, like the recent Target data breach involving confidential consumer information, remind us of how vulnerable our interconnectivity makes us. And yet, the advantages of the technological advances that we enjoy are so many that there is no turning back. In his keynote presentation at the recent ARC Industry Forum (February 2014; Orlando, Fla.; www.arc.com), ARC Advisory...
March 1, 2014
This year, the recipient of the Othmer Gold Medal is Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon Ltd. (Bangalore, India; www.biocon.com). The award, which will be presented at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF; Philadelphia, Pa.; www.chemheritage.org) in May, honors outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage. Kiran...
February 1, 2014
Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.; www.epa.gov) honors innovative technologies that make an impact in reducing hazards to human health and the environment. As these are goals that the chemical process industries (CPI) continuously strive for, news of such achievements is of great interest. Over the past 18 years of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge program...
December 1, 2013
One of the chemical process industries’ (CPI) foremost authorities on process safety, Trevor Kletz, passed away in late October at the age of 91. Amongst Kletz’s many achievements, one that stands out is his extensive contributions to the concept of inherent safety — a technique to reduce plant hazards through design, for example by keeping a lower inventory of hazardous chemicals on hand...
November 1, 2013
The Plant Management Roundtable at the ChemInnovations Conference and Expo (September 25–26, Galveston, Tex.) offered attendees the opportunity to hear about what is on the minds of leaders of chemical process industries (CPI) plants. On the panel were Jon Manns, plant manager for Axiall Corp.’s Lake Charles facility, Stan Zisman, technical environmental, health and safety manager for Chevron...
October 1, 2013
Currently, there are around 13,000 desalination plants in operation or under construction in 150 countries, according to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE; Rugby, U.K.; www.icheme.org). A number of these plants are in, or are planned for, locations that might surprise some of us. In the U.S., the Carlsbad Desalination Project (California; www.carlsbaddesal.com), described as the largest...
September 1, 2013
Where will you be on September 25 and 26? The Chemical Engineering staff will be in Galveston, Texas at the ChemInnovations Conference and Expo. We hope you will be too. Four years ago, we had the idea to start a conference and tradeshow dedicated to the chemical process industries (CPI). That idea materialized, rather quickly that first year, into the annual event that has been held in Houston, New...
May 1, 2013
As it has done for more than 85 years, the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI; London, U.K.; www.soci.org), America International Group awarded the SCI Chemical Industry Medal to an individual whose leadership, commitment and contributions have been responsible for substantial progress and performance in the chemical industry. This year’s recipient, Andrew Liveris, received the medal in March at a...
April 1, 2013
In his keynote presentation at this year’s ARC Forum (February 11–14, Orlando, Fla.; www.arcweb.com), Andy Chatha, president and founder of ARC, stated that there were over ten billion WiFi-connected devices in 2012 and that over 50 billion are expected by 2020. He called this the “era of connected devices” and introduced the concept of information-driven manufacturing (IDM), where...
February 1, 2013
At Chemical Engineering magazine, we focus the bulk of our coverage on the unit operations and equipment that tie the various segments of the chemical process industries (CPI) together. Regardless of industry sector, plant engineers perform chemical, mechanical and thermal transformations of raw materials, including petroleum, minerals, air and others, into products, using a host of common processes. But...
December 1, 2012
Many readers of this magazine are familiar with the impact of a hurricane — both professionally and personally. Plants along the U.S. Gulf and the southern Atlantic Coasts, for instance, live with a high probability that one of these storms cross their paths, and therefore are generally prepared for such storms. Last month, however, the force of a hurricane hit a most unlikely place, the Northeast...
November 1, 2012
Leading up to this month’s 2012 U.S. Presidential election, the legislative landscape has been relatively uneventful. On top of their preoccupation with the election campaigns, lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum have been reluctant to pin their agendas to any bill that might significantly alienate large groups of voters. Nevertheless, two relatively significant changes are coming down...
October 1, 2012
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the primary federal law regulating discharges of pollutants into U.S. waters. As far as the developed world’s water priorities go, a great deal has changed since 1972. For one thing, the top challenge back then was eliminating releases of toxic substances. Today, that challenge is arguably being met, and we are now getting more...
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