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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.;, 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; The award, which will be presented at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF; Philadelphia, Pa.; in May, honors outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage. Kiran...
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.; 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;, 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.;, 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.;, 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...
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....
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