Archives :: Editor's Comments

Displaying 21 - 40 of 96 stories.
September 1, 2012
Last month, we ran a letter from reader, Jason Makansi, commenting on our June story, Chemical Engineering Education Evolution ( Chem. Eng., June 2012, pp. 22–25), which highlighted, among other things, the need for a more-meaningful connection between academia and industry. Makansi’s letter was passionate in itself, expressing frustration at the slow pace of progress over the past 30 years or...
August 1, 2012
This past June, I lost possibly the most-influential person on my career as it stands today. My aunt and colleague, Sandra L. Baccinelli, former human resource manager at Worley Parsons, passed away on June 15th due to the effects of bone cancer. I cannot imagine how I would have become Chemical Engineering’s first female Editor in Chief without her impact. Meanwhile, there is also a very good chance...
June 1, 2012
This month, individuals from across the chemical process industries (CPI) and the globe will gather together for the 30th time at Achema, the world’s largest exhibition congress on chemical engineering, environmental protection and biotechnology (June 18–22; Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Organizers at Dechema e.V. (Frankfurt; are optimistic that the attendance and exhibitor...
May 1, 2012
Control and automation in the chemical process industries (CPI) have evolved by leaps and bounds over the past century, bringing along a host of benefits. As a result, today’s state-of-the-art facilities are more in line with business objectives, less prone to unplanned shutdowns and better able to manage process safety. However, these improvements come hand-in-hand with a relatively new challenge...
April 1, 2012
Given that readers of this magazine are employed across a wide spectrum of the chemical process industries (CPI), our editors go to great lengths to keep most of our content as broadly applicable as possible. In our technical articles, especially, we try to present information that focuses on unit operations, for instance, as opposed to a CPI niche, such as pharmaceutical processing or cement...
March 1, 2012
  Last month, the chemical process industries (CPI) lost an influential leader. Dr. Alfred Oberholtz died February 2, 2012 unexpectedly. He was 59. As former chairman of Dechema e.V. (, Oberholz was often found at the center of a global stage. Dechema, after all, is the organizer of Achema, the world’s largest exhibition-congress for chemical engineering, environmental protection...
January 1, 2012
As we round the corner from 2011 to 2012, economists are painting dimming pictures for global economic recovery. For instance, a report from IHS (Lexington, Mass.; chief economist Nariman Behravesh says, “World growth will slow in 2012 — the only question is how much.” Meanwhile, Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C....
December 17, 2011
As we round the corner from 2011 to 2012, economists are painting dimming pictures for global economic recovery. For instance, a report from IHS (Lexington, Mass.; chief economist Nariman Behravesh says, “World growth will slow in 2012 — the only question is how much.” Meanwhile, Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C....
December 1, 2011
For over 109 years now, readers have looked to Chemical Engineering for practical how-to information that can be used directly on the job, plus the latest about what’s happening in, or will be affecting, the chemical process industries (CPI). While our editors put a lot of time and effort into identifying what the most important and timely issues are, finding good sources of information and...
October 1, 2011
Last month, at a dinner at the Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa., the SCI America International Group (Philadelphia, Pa.;, presented its Perkin Medal to Dr. Rodney H. Banks, a research fellow at Nalco (Naperville, Ill.; As Stephanie Burns, honorary president of SCI explains, “This award recognizes his fundamental contributions to new sensor technologies that have led to...
August 1, 2011
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA;Washington, D.C.; proposed new emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emitted by industrial boilers and solid-waste incinerators (CISWI) based on the performance of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT). The so-called “boiler MACT” final rules were signed by the EPA Administrator on February 21...
July 1, 2011
For a little over two decades now, China’s rise in the chemical process industries (CPI) has often appeared to outsiders like a runaway reaction. Low wages, a very low-valued currency and certain government policies have provided the perfect migration spot for jobs, contracts and intellectual property that had previously been sheltered in developed nations. According to analysts, however...
June 1, 2011
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA; Washington, D.C.) recently released the complete version of its Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (AEO2011;, which includes projections for energy production, consumption, technology and market trends, and the direction they may take in the future for the world’s second-largest energy user. “EIA’s projections indicate...
April 1, 2011
Good troubleshooting skills are invaluable in chemical engineering practice. While their value is clearly gleaned from the impact they have on plant performance, it is also a reflection of the intangible process of learning them. Last month, at the AIChE Spring meeting in Chicago, Ruth Sands, former CE author and mass transfer consultant at DuPont Engineering Research & Technology, presented attendees...
March 1, 2011
The United Nations (U.N.) has named 2011 the International Year of Chemistry (IYC). The designation has given rise to a host of programs, initiatives and events, the collection of which has afforded the chemical community a unique opportunity to pursue the IYC’s stated goals of increasing public appreciation of, interest in and enthusiasm for chemistry. Leading the yearlong effort are the U.N...
February 1, 2011
When I was growing up in western Pennsylvania, we used to have notebooks in school with a map of the state on the cover. Back then (1960s), local children quickly learned that by tracing the boundaries of certain counties, one could create a silhouette of a coal miner at the center of the state. The point is, coal was important; we heated our homes with it, we burned it to make electricity, and if we...
January 1, 2011
Many of you know of a company — perhaps your own employer — that has recently commercialized an innovative process, product, or other chemical-engineering development. If so, we would like to hear from you. Nominations are open for this magazine’s 2011 Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award. We aim to honor the most-noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized...
November 1, 2010
Last month, I had the rare honor of sitting down with about 40 students from Booker T. Washington High School’s engineering magnet school (Houston), who are all on the path toward careers in science and engineering. While the experience itself was inspirational, it also caused me to reflect — again — on what defines inspiring chemical engineering practice. My encounter was at a student...
October 1, 2010
When it comes to a geographical concentration of chemical engineers and chemical process facilities, few cities in the world rival that of Houston, Texas. Given that, it might be surprising that this month will essentially mark the first time in more than a decade that the chemical process industries (CPI) will converge on that metropolis for an integrated conference and exhibition. The inaugural event is...
August 1, 2010
Innovation is the key to economic growth, and research and development (R&D) is key to innovation. While industry recognizes that R&D is vital to longterm success, it focuses, of course, on marketable results from research — after all, R&D is expensive, and cost without any foreseeable return is not good business. From my R&D background in the chemical process industries (CPI)...
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