Becoming an IChemE Trustee: want to know more before applying?

You can apply for one of the six Trustee vacancies available for IChemE’s Council.

As an IChemE Trustee you will be sharing your expertise and experiences and contributing to the advancement of the Institution and chemical engineering more generally. This voluntary position provides an opportunity to develop new skills, broaden your experience and help shape the future of IChemE for the benefit of society.

Continue reading Becoming an IChemE Trustee: want to know more before applying?

A fourth win in a row for Birmingham at Frank Morton 2018

There’s only one thing on your mind in February if you’re a UK chemical engineering student. Nope, not Pancake Day, not Valentine’s, not even your exams or Final Design Project (okay maybe that’s on your mind a little). It’s the Frank Morton Sports Day!

The annual gathering is special because it is just for them, chemical engineering students from up and down the UK. One day to get to know prospective employers, compete with rival Universities in sports from hockey to chess, all rounded off by a night of entertainment.

University of Leeds took on the monumental task of hosting this year, with a committee of eight students. The Frank Morton Sports Day is a huge undertaking for the students, who find time to organise a sports competition, careers fair, and night out for more than 2,000 students – all whilst studying.

The event was generously supported by Essar Oil, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, AstraZeneca, Essar, GSK, Pfizer, Phillips 66 and TeachFirst. IChemE was also there to support the event, and invited students to participate in I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! 

Like the TV Show (I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!), IChemE had designed it’s own Bushtucker Trials, and competition was fierce to make the High Scoreboard. Individuals participated in Critter Chaos – digging for IChemE stars wearing oven gloves in a mound of spiders, snakes and jungle debris. In true sporting spirit, the team game gave contestants a chance to become ball boys, with a twist – they could only pick them up using straws.

Students test their skills in IChemE’s Bushtucker trial Critter Chaos

Congratulations to Adam Raut and Alex De-Koning, University of Edinburgh – winners of our team game. They soared ahead by sucking up 55 ping pong balls in one minute. University of Bath’s Arjun Wadhwa managed to find 45 stars in the same time, and took the Critter Chaos crown.

They win an Amazon voucher each and a personalised I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! T-Shirt. Check out the IChemE team styling out theirs:

The IChemE team at Frank Morton

There was a plethora of sports for all 26 universities to participate in this year, including; badminton, basketball, chess, climbing, dodgeball, football, frisbee, funrun, hockey, laser quest, pool, quidditch, rounders, rugby, squash, table tennis, tennis and ultimate frisbee.

In the overall sporting event, third place went to Leeds and Bath. Leeds won table tennis and basketball; while Bath took the lead position in badminton and dodgeball.

Imperial College London and University of Strathclyde came in joint second place, each accumulating 14 points. Imperial College secured the top spots in chess, the fun run (which was based on the average time for the whole team) and climbing – a new sport for the year. Strathclyde, who had travelled through the night to attend the sports day, won the football and rugby.

Birmingham win overall at the sports day

But, for the fourth year in a row, the University of Birmingham were declared winners at the Frank Morton closing ceremony, and presented with the coveted trophy by IChemE Director Andy Furlong.

The university took the top spot in ultimate frisbee, quidditch, hockey, pool and tennis, and accumulated 25 points.

Not forgetting of course, the T-shirt Competition. Frank Morton is known for every University designing and wearing quirky T-shirts, often featuring chemical engineering-related humour. But this year University of Strathclyde took first prize with their pirate-themed t-shirt doning the equation for walking the ‘planck’.

Strathclyde win the t-shirt competition

The evening then continued late into the night. Various DJ’s accompanied the ‘Festival’ element of the evening, which included fairground rides and new music from Leeds Student Radio. This was followed by a club night, featuring Mistajam and various other DJs.

Callum Birkin, a student from University of Birmingham, said: “I’ve had a great day. The atmosphere has been really good. I know not everyone is so happy about it, I think it’s good that Birmingham have won.”

Speaking shortly after presenting the trophy to a jubilant Birmingham team captain against a backdrop of raucous celebration, IChemE Director, Andy Furlong, said: “The Frank Morton Sports Day has been running for more than half a century and it’s a rite of passage for undergraduate chemical engineers. This year they played hard; and as usual they are set to party hard too.

“IChemE is delighted to be in the mix but we don’t want to take any of the credit away from the student committee at Leeds who delivered another great day out for competitors from every corner of the British Isles.

“Big thanks go to out to Ethan, Kimberly and the team for delivering such a spectacular success. Months of planning and hard work must be fitted in around the weekly routine of lectures, labs and assessments; and that’s no easy task.  But it’s an unbeatable experience, and one that will stand them in good stead in the future. They did Frank proud!”

The Leeds committee delivered a fantastic event, and we’d like to give them a special mention in this post. Well done to…

University of Leeds Committee

Matthew Powders – Bid Lead/President

Ethan Errington – Sponsorship Coordinator

Kimberley Pavier – Event Treasurer

Jiara Rama – University Liaison

Lucia Vilajoana-Ricon – Sports Organiser

Abdullah Ali – Opening Ceremony

James Storrow – Closing Ceremony

Georgia Panayi – Evening Entertainment

Daniel Vincent – Secretary

Ethan Errington, from the Leeds committee, said: “This year saw the welcomed return of Frank Morton to Leeds – marking the 10-year anniversary since its last appearance on the University campus. To celebrate, Leeds did things differently – introducing climbing as a new competitive sport and hosting, for the first time ever, the well-received Frank Morton Festival.

“On behalf of the entire organising committee, I would like to thank everybody that participated and those who worked hard to ensure the smooth running the event, making the day such an unforgettable experience. Perhaps in 2019 we can finally see Birmingham knocked from their throne…”

They will shortly be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.

Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – Competition Winners

Competition Winner Runner-Up
Football Strathclyde Leeds
Hockey Birmingham Strathclyde
Tennis Birmingham Imperial
Rugby Strathclyde Birmingham
Ultimate Frisbee Birmingham Bath
Quidditch Birmingham Sheffield
Rounders Aberdeen Heriot-Watt
Fun Run Imperial Heriot-Watt
Table Tennis Leeds Bath
Chess Imperial Birmingham
Badminton Bath Strathclyde
Dodgeball Bath Cork
Squash Manchester Birmingham
Climbing Imperial Heriot-Watt
Netball Newcastle Nottingham
Basketball Leeds Heriot-Watt
Laser Quest Aberdeen Leeds
Pool Birmingham Chester

Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – League Table

Birmingham 25
Strathclyde 14
Imperial College 14
Leeds 11
Bath 11
Heriot-Watt 10
Aberdeen 6
Manchester  5
Newcastle  3
Chester  2
Swansea  2
Sheffield  2
Cork IT  2
Nottingham  2

View the Frank Morton 2018 photo gallery.

Check out the event’s social media highlights on Storify.



Spotlight on: Chemical Engineers and Horlicks #ichemeawards

111 GSK - imageTea, coffee, ice cream, chocolate, pizza – just some of our favourite foods and drinks that have been around for hundreds of years. Nearly all of them involve a process, and that process was probably refined and scaled-up by chemical engineers.

Horlicks is no different. It’s associated with bedtime in the UK, but in South Asia it’s the country’s number one health food drink.

GSK Consumer Healthcare are responsible for producing more than 150,000 tonnes of Horlicks every year, and up until recently were continuing to use the original 135-year-old process.

CKEVnTcUYAEql3W (002)GSK’s small technical team were tasked to fundamentally re-think the process, considering energy, water usage, and cost.

Previously only incremental changes had been made, due to concerns about negative consumer feedback. As a result, the team of chemical engineering put the consumer first – and through reverse-engineering took the product back to the fundamental flavour, protein and carbohydrate chemistry.

From there, the process could be re-assembled to optimise every step – from converting starch to sugar, to drying the product in to a powder. The results are astounding – with the team eliminating any water usage and reducing the amount of energy used by 80%. Both factors are extremely advantageous to Horlicks’ main market of India, and the energy saved in the process alone could power 400,000 homes in the region. What’s more, the cycle time has been reduced from 18 hours to just 10 minutes.JR3C8371

And that’s what our profession is all about isn’t it? Or, as GSK’s Ben Jones puts it: “Chemical engineering matters because it is the bedrock of how we’re going to improve physical and chemical processes for the next generation.”

Ben was joined by Paul Heath at the IChemE Global Awards in November 2017 where they collected the Food and Drink Award for this project. The Award was presented by Nigel Hirst, on behalf of category sponsor – IChemE’s Food and Drink Special Interest Group.

Check out their reaction below:

The original team took five years to take this project from concept to pilot plant. Now the very same team is leading the construction of a full-scale commercial plant. What a fantastic achievement for all involved.

We’re delving into the pharmaceutical industry in our next ‘Spotlight’ piece, so don’t forget to swing by the IChemE blog tomorrow.

Are you feeling inspired to apply for the IChemE Global Awards 2018? Whether you would like to enter your own project, sponsor a category, or just attend to support your fellow professionals – register your interest here.

The IChemE Global Awards 2017 were held in Birmingham, UK on Thursday 2 November, held in partnership with Johnson Matthey and Wood.

Read the IChemE Global Awards 2017 Review


Spotlight on: Going Beyond Energy Neutrality in the North West #ichemeawards

179 United Utilities - imageThe world is becoming more focused on sustainability. For chemical engineers working in the water industry, sewage sludge is rapidly becoming a valuable resource that can be reused for a variety of purposes.

In the North West of England, the Davyhulme Treatment Works is one of the biggest wastewater treatment plants in the UK. It operates 24 hours a day, treating more than 30,000 litres of water a second. It also operates an integrated energy generation centre.

In 2015 the energy generation centre was turning 91,000 tonnes of sludge into 36 million Nm3 of biogas. The biogas generated 73,000 MWh of electricity per year – enough to run the entire works.

However, an opportunity arose to make the process more efficient. There was also a need to integrate a ‘biogas to grid’ solution – which would export excess energy to National Grid.  This is where a collaborative team of chemical engineers were needed.

JR3C8355Cue United Utilities, Jacobs and Laing O’Rourke – a collaborative team that had twelve months to take energy generation at Davyhulme to the next level. Working together, they delivered a solution that uses water scrubbing at medium to high pressures to process biogas and deliver a high grade biomethane product for supply to National Grid.

The design has delivered a carbon emissions reduction of 7,400 tonnes of CO2 per year, as well as financial benefits that will keep energy costs low for customers.  It also has a strong focus on operational flexibility – to manage demand of electricity, heat and green gas – with an option to produce green fuel in the future for transport.

5J5A5851A great deal has been achieved by the team, particularly in the timescale. According to United Utilities Pat Horne: “On 11 March we had to commission this plant within two weeks. From a chemical engineering point of view, we turned it on, it worked – from start to finish within 24 hours. To see something come from paper to reality in one day was fantastic.”

There was a triumphant whoop from the floor when we announced this project had won the Energy Award at the IChemE Global Awards in November 2017. We just managed to get them all on stage, as they were presented with the trophy by Lee Greenlees, Design Manager at Rolls-Royce, who sponsored the Energy Award.

Watch our interview with some of the team, and find out more about the works:

It’s also been great to see United Utilities engaging with the local community around this project. They have invested £48,000 in community parks, centres, and education, and visited several schools around the Davyhulme plant to get them excited about engineering.

Join us tomorrow when the spotlight is on that favourite British bedtime drink – Horlicks!

Are you feeling inspired to apply for the IChemE Global Awards 2018? Whether you would like to enter your own project, sponsor a category, or just attend to support your fellow professionals – register your interest here.

The IChemE Global Awards 2017 were held in Birmingham, UK on Thursday 2 November, held in partnership with Johnson Matthey and Wood.

Read the IChemE Global Awards 2017 Review

Spotlight on: Vaccination Research at University of Bath #ichemeawards

Ensilicated proteins in powder form Credit University of BathEvery year millions of people around the world die from vaccine preventable diseases. Why?

Well, researchers at the University of Bath, led by Dr Asel Sartbaeva found that keeping vaccines cold was the one of the biggest challenges in transporting these vital medicines around the world.

If the proteins in vaccines reach a temperature above 8ºC they can become ineffective and unusable – and in some cases, even toxic.

As a result, vaccination levels are 16% lower in low-income countries compared to the developed world, in part, because they do not have the electricity, infrastructure or equipment to store and transport these vital medicines.

To help tackle this challenge, Asel and her team have developed a method called ‘ensilication’ which involves encasing vaccines in silica to protect the proteins, and eliminate the need for refrigeration.


The technology has been several years in development, and as well as helping millions of people around the world, it is also highly sustainable. The material is non-toxic and biocompatible, and the elimination of refrigeration ultimately reduces the environmental burden of generating power to run medical fridges.

As Asel says: “It’s very important because today we don’t deliver vaccines to millions of people. In fact, statistically more than 7 million people die around the world from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

This amazing project won an IChemE Global Award in November 2017, under the category ‘Biotechnology’. Asel collected the Award from Peter Farrelly, Managing Director of PM Group – category sponsor.

Watch her reaction and find out more about the project in our short video:

What’s more, just one week after getting her IChemE gong, Dr Asel Sartbaeva was awarded the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) World Award for her vaccinations project. Congratulations Asel!

Come back tomorrow when we’ll be shining the spotlight on another 2017 IChemE Global Award winner.

Are you feeling inspired to apply for the IChemE Global Awards 2018? Whether you would like to enter your own project, sponsor a category, or just attend to support your fellow professionals – register your interest here.

The IChemE Global Awards 2017 were held in Birmingham, UK on Thursday 2 November, held in partnership with Johnson Matthey and Wood.

Read the IChemE Global Awards 2017 Review

IChemE in Numbers: a 2017 round-up

cropped-ar1.jpgIChemE’s offices close from today until 2 January 2018. It’s been a busy year, and in today’s blog post we take a look at some of the highlights in numbers.

Remember, our Annual Review is published in May 2018 – giving a comprehensive overview of IChemE’s 2017 activities and achievements. Check out the Annual Review archive here. 

We look forward to working with you in 2018. If you are a volunteer, thank you for your support. If you have engaged with us, if you have attended our events, if you have joined the conversation via this blog or social media – thanks for helping us to advance chemical engineering worldwide.

Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 2018.

Continue reading IChemE in Numbers: a 2017 round-up

IChemE Books – All you want for Christmas?

Journals in a libraryFor many years, IChemE was a stand-alone publisher of chemical engineering books and had a small but dedicated team of staff administering the process. More recently, we have conducted our publishing activities in partnership with Elsevier. This has seen the introduction of many new titles, while other successful titles with Elsevier have been adopted by the joint programme.

However, there is still a lengthy back catalogue of titles which were published by IChemE prior to our Elsevier partnership. They are unfortunately at the stage where they are getting a little out of date. But just like a dog isn’t just for Christmas, neither is chemical engineering knowledge! That is why we would like to work with our members to develop new and updated editions for some of these titles.

Initial feedback is that some of the books below are still incredibly useful to our members, and new editions would be a good initiative. But which titles do you think need updating first? Which are the best of the bunch?

Please see below all the books currently on the IChemE back catalogue. We would value your feedback on which titles you would most like to see a new edition of, and why.

To tell us, simply comment below or send an email to

We are looking to collate the feedback at the end of January 2018.

Continue reading IChemE Books – All you want for Christmas?

EGM Events – a chance for you to find out more

An Extraordinary General Meeting will take place on Thursday 11 January 2018. Ballot information has been circulated to all Voting Members by post and email, and an announcement was made on our website last week.

To help you better understand why the EGM is happening, and to have an opportunity to ask questions directly to Council members and the executive team a range of events – online and offline – will take place between now and 4 January 2018.

If you’re an IChemE member, you can  register for any of the events or webinars. A full list of the various meetings can be found at the bottom of this post.

This is an important phase in our Institution’s history – we urge you to take part.

Continue reading EGM Events – a chance for you to find out more

EGM Update for IChemE Members

IChemE_10mm_RGBYesterday, we announced that an Extraordinary General Meeting would take place on Thursday 11 January 2018. Full details were posted on the IChemE website, and ballot information has been circulated to all Voting Members via email and post.

The President and Council are grateful for the many messages of support that have been received from different parts of the IChemE community around the world.

Naturally, an EGM calling notice has prompted a range of questions. We aim to address these in today’s update, and will continue to post answers via the IChemE’s blog as questions come in to us. If you have a question on the EGM, please send it to

Continue reading EGM Update for IChemE Members

Was your commute today #poweredbycoffee?

coffee beanA brilliant piece of news hit our desks this morning, and chemical engineering is at it’s heart. London-based start-up Bio-Bean have teamed up with Costa and Shell, to power London buses with bio-fuel derived from coffee waste.

Bio-Bean has a number of products in it’s growing portfolio, but it is it’s B20 biodiesel that has been hitting headlines, and powering London buses from today.

Continue reading Was your commute today #poweredbycoffee?

GUEST BLOG: The future of our energy systems

Our energy system is ever-evolving. Over the past 200 years, we’ve seen a huge shift in our energy consumption and production. From the start of the industrial revolution, where coal was the central cog keeping the world ticking, to now where renewable and alternative energy is taking the world by storm.

Matthias Schnellmann chairs a group of other early-career professionals from across the energy sector, known as IChemE’s Future Energy Leaders. Together, they help to support the IChemE Energy Centre, engaging with policy debates, responding to consultations and producing original research and position papers. The group also lead on public engagement activities that support the centre’s priorities.

In October, Matthias and his colleagues represented the IChemE Energy Centre at New Scientist Live – one of the UK’s largest scientific festivals. With interactive presentations and posters, they gave other engineers, scientists and students visiting the four-day event at ExCeL London just a glimpse into the complexity of our energy systems.

Continue reading GUEST BLOG: The future of our energy systems

GUEST BLOG: Advocating chemical engineering to the next generation – Madeleine Jones

By day, Chartered Chemical Engineer Madeleine Jones works as Deputy Operations Manager, Legacy Ponds & Silos at Sellafield, and is responsible for three nuclear facilities.

In her spare time, she is a passionate advocate of chemical engineering – promoting engineering to primary and secondary school children, and mentoring new engineering graduates at the nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning company, to inspire the next generation of chemical engineers.

She also actively volunteers for her professional engineering institution, IChemE, with roles including Student Representative on the Midlands Member Group Committee, and Webmaster for IChemE’s North West Member Group Committee.

For all of this – and more – she was recently awarded the Karen Burt Award, after being nominated by IChemE. The annual award is presented by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to a top Chartered Engineer or Chartered Physicist in memory of Dr Karen Burt.

Continue reading GUEST BLOG: Advocating chemical engineering to the next generation – Madeleine Jones

GUEST BLOG: Advising MPs from a ChemEng perspective – my Ashok Kumar Fellowship

In January 2017, Erin Johnson, a postgraduate chemical engineering student at Imperial College London, UK, was awarded the Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2017.

The annual Fellowship, supported by IChemE and the North-East England process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), grants funding for a graduate chemical engineer to spend three months working at the  UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). During this time, they get to experience life inside the Houses of Parliament and produce a POSTnote (briefing paper), or assist a government select committee with a current inquiry.

MPs rely on scientists, engineers, and academics to help inform the decisions they make. Erin’s Fellowship began in September, so we thought we’d find out how she’s been getting on.

Name: Erin Johnson
Education: Postgraduate chemical engineering student at Imperial College London, UK
Job Title: PhD candidate
Research interests: Optimisation of biomethane and bio-synthetic natural gas supply chains in the UK. I recently co-authored a white paper on options for a greener gas grid.


Continue reading GUEST BLOG: Advising MPs from a ChemEng perspective – my Ashok Kumar Fellowship

10 job hunting tips for chemical engineering graduates

The first semester of university is underway. For some chemical, bio-chemical and process engineering students, it’s their final year; for others it’s their first September for sometime not spent in a lecture theatre or lab.

Those who have recently graduated and haven’t yet found a placement or role at a company, you’re probably thinking hard about your career. For those in their final year, it’s never too early to start getting some ideas of what job you’d like.

Either way, it can be a daunting prospect. Where do you begin? How do you prepare for job hunting and those all important interviews to come?

Here are our top 10 tips to help in your job hunting journey.

Continue reading 10 job hunting tips for chemical engineering graduates

Be inspired to advance process safety worldwide

Each year hundreds of professionals gather to be a part of our flagship process safety conference Hazards.

Process safety is fundamental to chemical, biochemical and process engineers. IChemE’s three-day event encourages them to come together and discuss: the current best practice, the latest developments, lessons learned in the process industry, and how to make operations even safer.

The conference was first held in 1960, and is now is an annual event. Hazards brings together around 100 presenters from leading industry practitioners, researchers and regulators, as well as keynote speakers invited from industry.

Continue reading Be inspired to advance process safety worldwide

Why should engineers engage with government? #LinksDay17

InviteChemical engineers descended on the Houses of Parliament yesterday, to ask MPs and policymakers about UK Science and Global Opportunities at Parliamentary Links Day – the largest science event in the Parliamentary calendar. They had been selected by IChemE, as a special thank-you for the time they had dedicated volunteering for the organisation.

In the wake of the Election result and as Brexit negotiations begin to take shape, Parliamentary Links Day, organised by the Royal Society of Biology, saw a record turn-out of scientists and engineers all keen to discuss how the political landscape impacted their industry and work.

Continue reading Why should engineers engage with government? #LinksDay17

Fire safety expert gives interviews on Grenfell Tower fire

As the police and safety investigations into the Grenfell Tower fire continue, media across the world has been reporting on the tragic event that saw more than 150 homes destroyed and around 80 people presumed dead.

Police have said the London tower block fire started in a fridge-freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests.

In the early stages of the investigation and as the incident unfolded, fire safety specialist Joe Ruane, Associate Member (Process Safety) of IChemE, was interviewed to give his expert opinion.

Listen to Mr Ruane speaking to Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 news on Thursday 15 June.

Watch Mr Ruane speaking to American news network CBS at the site of the fire.

Mr Ruane also spoke to the Associated Press news agency and the article was subsequently reported by media across the world, including The Daily Mail, Time, Fox News and Hindustan Times.

Why do we need female engineers? #INWED17

Why do we need female engineers? 

It’s a simple, in some ways controversial question, that we put out to IChemE members a couple of weeks ago to mark today’s International Women In Engineering Day.

1 TITLE.jpg

We received a fantastic response from chemical engineers working all over the world – take a look at them below and stay tuned on Twitter where we will be sharing them throughout the day.

How will you or your organisation be celebrating gender diversity today?

Continue reading Why do we need female engineers? #INWED17

KBR are #RaisingProfiles for International Women in Engineering Day

INWED LogoTomorrow is International Women In Engineering Day (INWED), and it’s been great to see an overwhelmingly positive response from our community in the form of events and activities.

The INWED website has some fantastic ideas for organisations to improve their diversity agenda, from organising networking events to completing an equal pay audit. It isn’t too late for your company to get involved, visit the website for more ideas.

Global engineering services provider KBR, a Gold Corporate Partner with the IChemE, is already ahead of the curve. Aspire, an employee-driven resources group committed to female engineers and promoting gender parity, was launched in Houston, US in 2016. In January it was rolled-out across the pond, and Aspire UK was born.

Aspire UK

To celebrate #INWED2017 the Aspire UK team joined with KBR’s graduate network, Impact, to host students from a local school. They attended the KBR Campus in Leatherhead today (Thursday 22 June) and inspired to take a career path in engineering.

The students were immersed in a working engineering environment and given several interactive workshop presentations about engineering, the opportunities the profession presents, and the pathways into an engineering career. They attended a networking lunch where they were able to meet with more engineers from KBR, including the business leaders.

The final activity was a team building game, where the students had to use their problem solving skills to build an Oil Rig Jacket Structure (oil platform) out of paper.

We caught up with the engineers who spoke at the event.

Continue reading KBR are #RaisingProfiles for International Women in Engineering Day

IChemE Energy Centre responds to US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

This press release was published on the IChemE Media Centre.

Continue reading IChemE Energy Centre responds to US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Guest Blog: Rhamnolipids promise a renewable revolution

Environmental impact is something that has become increasingly important for organisations and consumers in recent years. It is a topic discussed on a global scale by world leaders, and an issue of contention for many.

For some chemical engineers it has provided an opportunity for them to use their knowledge of chemical processes to create environmentally-friendly alternatives to the products we rely on daily.

In today’s blog Dr Dan Derr gives an insight into biosurfactants – which he hopes will spark a ‘renewable revolution’ in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.

2015 12 16 Dan Derr picture

Dr Daniel Derr

Current Position:
Project Leader, Internal Research & Development, Logos Technologies

Dan gained his PhD from Colorado State University, and went on to study bio-based jet fuels and photocatalysis at General Electric’s Global Research.

Following this, he led an integrated BioRefinery effort called the Corn to Cellulosic Migration (CCM), focusing on the migration of billions of dollars of capital deployed in today’s corn ethanol industry toward cost-effective production of greener ethanol from corn stover, switchgrass and woodchips.

Now working for Logos Technologies, Derr is currently focused on NatSurFact® – a rhamnolipid-based line of biosurfactants.

Continue reading Guest Blog: Rhamnolipids promise a renewable revolution

Ten ways chemical engineers can save the world from climate change #COP21

COP21 logo12 December 2015 will go down in history as the day the world agreed to do something about climate change. The impact of countries around the world reaching such an agreement cannot be ignored. However, for us to actually achieve the targets set in Paris we need to act now.

Chemical engineers have been working for some time to find and implement ways to combat climate change.

Here are just ten of the ways that chemical engineers can save the world from the impact of climate change:

1. Systems-thinking

systems engineeringChemical engineering makes its professional contribution by understanding how whole systems work, and generating engineered system solutions to meet desired targets. The ideology and discussion behind climate change solutions is in place, but it needs a chemical engineering, systems thinking approach to apply the technical solutions.

2. Energy efficiency

shutterstock_274012796Becoming more energy efficient is the obvious easy win (at least for chemical engineers). The 2012 Global Energy Assessment stated that 66 per cent of the energy produced today is wasted. The chemicals sector is the most energy intensive industry, but current internal rates of return stand at just 12-19 per cent. Chemical engineers can change this and make energy efficiency the number one priority

Continue reading Ten ways chemical engineers can save the world from climate change #COP21

Making renewables work through energy storage and grid management #COP21

solar power plantIn order to deliver a low carbon economy, we must move away from our current low efficiency, high carbon energy system. Our new energy system must be much more efficient, and low carbon.

This will mean abandoning the linear system of large scale, centralised energy production from fossil fuels.

The replacement should be a non-linear system where electricity is produced at widely distributed sites, at various scales, using renewable sources of energy.

To meet base load power demand, this system will need to combine fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS), and other sources of energy – such as nuclear.

This future low carbon energy system can only work if the way we generate and consume energy becomes much more flexible, and is able to respond rapidly to external weather and price fluctuations.

Matching supply with demand, particularly when a significant proportion of electricity is being generated by intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, will require energy storage.

Continue reading Making renewables work through energy storage and grid management #COP21

The future of nuclear power generation #COP21

Nuclear power is already playing a vital role in decarbonising the global energy economy. Its capacity to provide base load power makes it a stable and low-carbon energy supply.

Nuclear power provides approximately 11 per cent of the world’s energy. In the UK, nuclear power generation makes up 19 per cent of the energy landscape. The proportion is much higher in France, at 75 per cent.

Thorp reprocessing plant - Sellafield Ltd
Thorp reprocessing plant – Sellafield Ltd

However, there are still significant public concerns over the safety and environmental impacts of nuclear power, and the legacy issues of waste. These concerns mean there is often very little support for new nuclear power plants.

As we move to a low carbon future nuclear, new build will have to play an even bigger part in the energy strategies of many governments, because nuclear doesn’t emit carbon dioxide during power generation.

Continue reading The future of nuclear power generation #COP21

Carbon capture and storage is part of the climate solution #COP21

Bulbs and energyThe world’s population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050. With this growth there will be an increasing demand for energy.

As it stands, fossil fuels provide more than 85 per cent of the world’s energy. And despite significant global efforts to shift to renewable energy generation, renewable sources only accounted for 2 per cent of the global energy supply in 2014.

It is therefore logical and reasonable to believe that fossil fuels will remain an indispensable part of the world’s energy landscape until at least the end of this century.

Climate Change - sliderAt COP21, representatives from over 190 countries will try to reach an agreement to limit global warming to the two degrees target, and this will involve stabilising atmospheric COconcentrations at a level of 450 parts per million (ppm).

So what does this mean? For fossil fuels, it means we need to decarbonise electricity production; and carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a readily deployable technology solution to do this.

Continue reading Carbon capture and storage is part of the climate solution #COP21

Chemical engineers can help solve the climate challenge #COP21

COP21 logoThis week saw the start of the 21st Conference of Parties, COP21. More than 190 countries and 150 global leaders have gathered in Paris, France, to discuss a new global agreement on climate change.

The United Nations (UN) event will host around 40,000 people and runs right through until the end of next week (11 December).

The future of the natural world, and the animals and plant life that call it home, depends on the outcome of this conference. If we don’t limit global warming to 2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic.

Polar bearWhilst we cannot accurately predict the scale of any potential impacts now, what we do know for certain is that climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to reduce any further damage.

Chemical engineers are part of the solution, and the IChemE Energy Centre has identified five priority areas where technology can be deployed now to help mitigate climate change.

Continue reading Chemical engineers can help solve the climate challenge #COP21

Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez

If you’re an avid follower of this blog (and you really should be!), then by now you will be familiar with our series of ChemEngProfiles video blogs. We’ve had two so far: ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta‘ and ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP‘.

From practical problem solving at BP to travelling the world with work for Syngenta, it’s clear to see that life as a chemical engineer brings great benefits and opens up a world of opportunities.

mondelez bannerToday it’s time to shine a spotlight on the lads and lasses at Mondelez International – one of the world’s largest confectionery, food and beverage companies. Their products and brands, including  Cadbury, Philadelphia and Oreo fill the shelves in shops and supermarkets all over the world.

So what’s it like to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez?

Are they the modern day Willy Wonkas? Check out the videos and find out for yourselves:

(1) Chemical engineers at Mondelez work out new and inventive ways to produce more with less

Benjamin Hodges, a graduate trainee at the Mondelez Bourneville factory in Birmingham, UK, talks about the demands on a chemical engineer in the food industry – from reducing waste  to increasing raw material yield:

Continue reading Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez

Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP

Earlier this week, we launched the first in a new series of ChemEngProfiles video blogs.  Our good friends at Syngenta started the ball rolling and you can check out their stories in ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta‘. But it’s not only chemical engineers at Syngenta who want to share their passion for the profession and we’ve got lots more in the pipeline.

BP logo - BP Hummingbird...Today we’re featuring a diverse group of chemical engineers from BP – an IChemE Gold Corporate Partner and one of the word’s six ‘supermajor’ energy companies.

We’re all familiar with the big energy challenges confronting humanity 21st century. Chemical engineers are on the front line in the battle to deliver affordable, secure and sustainable energy supplies and IChemE members at BP are no exception.

But don’t take our word for it, check out these video clips from the boys and girls at one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies. 

(1) Protecting the planet by switching to biofuels

Aidan Hurley is a Chief process safety engineer at BP Alternative Energy. Here he’s talking about his work with biofuels and how, as a chemical engineer, he is developing solutions to the challenges associated with energy including climate change:

Continue reading Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP

Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta

You’ll probably know by now that IChemE exists to advance chemical engineering worldwide and the reason is a simple one – chemical engineering matters. As such, it’s important  to highlight some areas where the Institution and its 42,000 members make a difference.

Graduation hatsThe first is to inspire the next generation of chemical engineers, particularly young women. Because let’s face it, who else is going to solve the grand challenges of the 21st century and beyond?  And the more diverse the chemical engineering workforce, the better.

Next, we need to promote the wide variety of careers available within the broad spectrum of chemical engineering to improve graduate retention in the process industries.

Finally, we need to stress the importance of achieving chartership and continuing professional development (CPD) throughout a fruitful and rewarding chemical engineering career.

And what better way to do this than to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth? Through our ChemEngProfiles videos, you can listen to our members share their passion for chemical engineering.

syngenta bannerToday’s blog focusses on what it’s like to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta – one of the world’s leading agrochemical companies and also one of IChemE’s Bronze Corporate Partners.

So without further ado, here’s five reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta:

(1) You can be responsible for making a process profitable

Dan Clarke, a process engineer at Syngenta, explains how chemical engineers are usually the ones who make a process profitable. Listen to him talk agitators, scale-up and scale down here:

Continue reading Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta

ChemEng makes the wheels go round

Photo Credit | Radu Razvan /
Photo Credit | Radu Razvan /

Over the last few years, cycling has seen a meteoric rise in both popularity and participation. Its most gruelling and testing competition, the Tour De France, drew to a close last month with another British victory.

So it seems quite apt to share how chemical engineering plays a part in this sport.

The phrase ‘chemical engineering in cycling’ may raise a few eyebrows. Indeed, some of the ways in which competitors have broken the rules can be – if you’re able to discount the morality of the outcome – seen as impressive feats of human engineering.

I’m sure you’ve heard of blood doping, where athletes improve their aerobic capacity and endurance through either one of the two following ways:

Continue reading ChemEng makes the wheels go round

Your ChemEng research round-up: June 2015

Since ChemEng365, our new ChemEng blog has become a little quiet – except for a last minute hurrah from Geoff Maitland, see his guest blog ‘Five of our Past President’s favourite ChemEng365 blogs‘.

lightbulbThe ChemEng365 campaign concluded at the end of May when Geoff’s term as president ended. But of course, all the amazing chemical engineering research and innovation still goes on. So, it seems only fitting to give you a research round-up on all things chemical and process engineering for the month of June – just in case you missed anything!

Injectable hydrogel could help wounds heal more quickly

A team of chemical engineers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), US, have a developed a material that creates an instant, superior scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Continue reading Your ChemEng research round-up: June 2015