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

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 communications@icheme.org

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


Continue reading IChemE Books – All you want for Christmas?

10 things chemical engineers learned from #Hazards27

Risk will never be eliminated, but it can be greatly reduced.

Our flagship process safety conference Hazards continues to build momentum and we were pleased to welcome over 300 delegates to Hazards 27, at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, UK, last week. Various speakers, workshops and exhibitors from across the world gave excellent insight, advice and tips into the ways to review process safety practices, and useful services and products that could help improve process safety performance.

One of the most anticipated talks of the conference is the Trevor Kletz memorial lecture. Last year, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave gave some great insight into the RAF Nimrod enquiry, and how it could be applied to engineering. This year Formula 1 Analyst Mark Gallagher took to the stage, drawing parallels between risk management in the world of motorsport and the process industries.

Continue reading 10 things chemical engineers learned from #Hazards27

Think you have a construction contract? Well, think again.

For chemical engineers working as contractors in the design and construction of a plant, your contract is key to ensuring that your rights are protected. However, the lines are often blurred when it comes to which activities are covered by the Construction Act and which aren’t.

The Construction Act (also known as the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act) came into force in 1998. It fundamentally changed the nature of contracts in the construction industry, through the introduction of statutory implied terms regarding payment and rights to adjudication. These terms were introduced to address concerns that unfair payment practices were contributing to a high level of insolvencies in the construction sector.

What is a construction contract?

Now, if you are working on a new plant or structure, you should have a contract in place. Whether this is a construction contract as defined by the Construction Act (a contract for the carrying out of construction operations), depends upon the nature of works.

It’s in the definition of construction operations where confusion can arise as a number of activities within key industries are excluded.

What activities are excluded?

Drilling for, or the extraction of, oil and natural gas is explicitly excluded as a construction operation. Certain activities in relation to nuclear processing, power generation and the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil, gas or steel are also all excluded from the ambit of the Construction Act.

So what?

Continue reading Think you have a construction contract? Well, think again.

Guest Blog: How have chemical engineers advanced wastewater management? #WorldWaterDay

How have chemical engineers advanced wastewater management? #WorldWaterDay

It’s World Water Day and to celebrate Chris Short, Chair of our Water Special Interest Group has given his thoughts on this year’s theme – ‘Wastewater’.  We have members working all over the world in this area, as well as researchers looking at new and innovative ways to treat wastewater to help benefit society.

Check out Chris’ thoughts below, and don’t forget to comment with your own views on the subject.

Name: Chris Short
Job: Consultant and Chartered Chemical Engineer
Company: Chris Short Water Quality (previously Yorkshire Water)
Special Interest Group: Water, Chair

I’m not going to claim that chemical engineers were behind all the advances in wastewater management in the past century, greatly improving public health and the environment within industrialised countries.

However, chemical engineers have been increasingly involved in wastewater treatment over the last 100 years.

Whether applied to industrial processes, human, or animal wastes, their skills are ideally suited to add value in this area.

Continue reading Guest Blog: How have chemical engineers advanced wastewater management? #WorldWaterDay

Guest Blog: What happens to the batteries when cars die?

Not all chemical engineers end up on an oil rig. It’s a profession that can pull you in various directions, to various places and companies, tackling various problems. No chemical engineer is the same  – that’s the beauty of it.

In a relatively short time Amrit Chandan has established himself as a serious entrepreneur. His company, Aceleron, uses fundamental chemical engineering principles to tackle very real challenges in our society. In today’s blog post Amrit tells us, in his own words, about his chemical engineering journey and why Aceleron, a business under 18 months old, has been turning heads.

Amrit Chandan
Amrit Chandan

Name: Dr. Amrit Chandan

Qualifications:

PhD in Chemical Engineering (Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and their Applications)

BSc (Hons) Chemistry Class I

Job Title:

Co-Founder and Business Development, Aceleron

Bio:

Amrit is an experienced engineer specialising in electrochemical technologies, specifically fuel cell technology. He co-founded battery reuse company, Aceleron in 2015. Aceleron seeks to provide low cost energy storage to developing regions.

Previously, he worked as a Technical Specialist in low carbon vehicles at Cenex, providing expertise and specialist knowledge for Cenex’ programmes and demonstrator trials.

Amrit has published 10 academic papers on a range of topics from marketing to fuel cell technology development, and was named Business Quarterly Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2014. Most recently, Amrit was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2017.

Continue reading Guest Blog: What happens to the batteries when cars die?

Celebrating chemical engineering achievement in sustainability #ichemeawards

5j5a3287It’s time for another round -up of our IChemE Global Awards 2016 winners, and this time we’re focusing on sustainability.

In our modern world projects that deliver a sustainability benefit are usually successful. In fact, all our winners this year have demonstrated some kind of sustainable element in their work. Whether it’s taking on large projects, developing products for poor communities, or innovating to change lives.

But these winners have put sustainability at the heart of what they do. Pushing the limits to find the most environmentally-friendly way of doing things, some of them are also very young companies – and ones to watch in the future.

So please take a look at the following three winners videos, and as always thanks to Morgan Sindall for helping us to produce them.

Continue reading Celebrating chemical engineering achievement in sustainability #ichemeawards

Tackling big chemical engineering projects #ichemeawards

We are now midway through our round up of this year’s IChemE Global Awards 2016 winners. Produced in association with Morgan Sindall, we have got a special interview video for every single winner.

awards-tables

So far we have seen some life-changing products that will make a difference all over the world, as well as chemical engineering projects designed to benefit resource-poor communities in developing countries.

Today we go to the big projects in chemical engineering that require strategy, innovation and teamwork. These winners are demonstrating great chemical engineering in its purest form. All of the projects below have demonstrated a key chemical engineering skill, systems thinking, and a drive for achieving the best results.

Take a look at their work below and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Continue reading Tackling big chemical engineering projects #ichemeawards

Chemical engineering creates products that are changing lives #ichemeawards

Last month the IChemE Global Awards 2016 were held in Manchester, UK, in one of the biggest celebrations of chemical engineering achievement worldwide. Our judges had a difficult task narrowing down 16 winners from 120 amazing finalists.jr3c3275

The ceremony was held at the Principal Hotel and welcomed over 400 guests from around the world to recognise and celebrate chemical engineering success stories.

For many, success doesn’t end after collecting a trophy, but marks the starting point on a journey to excellence. An IChemE Award can take you to some unexpected places, make commercialisation easier, help to develop your team or grow your portfolio. You could even get a letter from the US President. 

So every day this week we’ll be dedicating special blog posts to the 2016 Award winners and their innovative, fascinating, problem-solving projects. With the fantastic support of Morgan Sindall we have produced a video for every one – enjoy!

Continue reading Chemical engineering creates products that are changing lives #ichemeawards

Ten things to do after graduation

Graduation hats

This week’s heatwave has reminded us all in the UK that summer is finally here, and for many students this means one thing – final projects have been handed in, last exams have been sat, and the ceremonial end to University is in sight – graduation.

If you are a final year chemical engineering student you may have already had your graduation, if not it’s just around the corner. This is a time to celebrate all your hard work and thank those who have helped you make it this far.

It may be the end of an era, but don’t panic about what comes next. You are about to begin your journey to become a professional chemical engineer.

But where to start? Here’s our ten top things to do after graduation:

Continue reading Ten things to do after graduation

Relevance in a Changing World

On 24 May 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Professor Jonathan Seville was inaugurated as IChemE President for 2016-17. The Executive Dean of Engineering at University of Surrey delivered his Presidential Address on the subject of relevance. Jonathan challenged us all to think: how will the Institution and the profession stay relevant in a world that is rapidly changing?

Continue reading Relevance in a Changing World

“It’s about valuing diversity”, an interview with Dame Judith Hackitt for #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2016

Today is International Women’s Day, and to celebrate we decided to put a chemical engineering leading lady in the spotlight – Dame Judith Hackitt.

Judith Hackitt, who was IChemE’s second female president (2013-2014), has had an eventful 2016 so far. The Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), was made Dame in the New Year Honours, and has recently announced her new appointment as Chair at the EEF, the manufacturers organisation.

We sat down with her to look back on her career so far, and get her perspective on the gender debate, and the future of chemical engineering.

IChemE AGM 20 05 13

Thanks for joining me today Judith. You have had quite an impressive career. I’m sure you’re a bit sick of this question but what was it like to be made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours List?

Well on a day-to-day basis it doesn’t make any difference, I’m not using the title anywhere and everywhere and insisting people call me Dame Judith! I was at home on the day the letter arrived, it was first of all a big surprise but also a massive honour. It’s hard to describe but you feel like it’s something special. I really am genuinely honoured to be offered this, and it was a delight to write back and say yes, of course I’d accept.

Continue reading “It’s about valuing diversity”, an interview with Dame Judith Hackitt for #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2016

Why join IChemE?

We hope you have been keeping up with our ChemEngProfiles video blogs. Over the last few weeks, we have shared the stories of twenty chemical engineers – at various stages in their careers, and working for some of the biggest companies in the world.

Last week we gave you ‘Five powerful reasons to be a chemical engineer at Shell’, following the success of our previous posts – ‘Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez’, ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP’, and ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta’. So what’s next?

The thing that our interviewees had in common was that they are all IChemE members, and they view membership as an important addition to their CV.

IChemE_10mm_RGBIn today’s post we’ve turned the spotlight on ourselves – IChemE, the global professional membership organisation for chemical, biochemical and process engineers.

Continue reading Why join IChemE?

Five powerful reasons to be a chemical engineer at Shell

Over the past few weeks we have been sharing real-life experiences of IChemE members, working at some of the world’s most innovative organisations. So far, our ChemEngProfiles video blogs have covered: ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta‘, ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP‘, and most recently, ‘Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez’.Royal_Dutch_Shell

Today we turn our attention to Shell – one of the six oil and gas ‘supermajors’ and an IChemE Gold Corporate Partner. Through oil and gas exploration, production, refinement and distribution, Shell makes it possible for us to heat our homes, fuel our cars and cook our food.

But what is it like to be a chemical engineer at one of the world’s most valuable companies?

Exciting, diverse, challenging – maybe all of the above? Check out our latest ChemEngProfiles videos to find out.

(1) You work on meaningful projects that affect various stakeholders, right from the start.

Carlyn Greenhalgh, a process improvement practitioner at Shell, loves the complexity of chemical engineering. She explains how she went from University, to working on a production site with her own unit. Her pilot plant is now being manufactured and sold worldwide.

Continue reading Five powerful reasons to be a chemical engineer at Shell

A breath of fresh air (Day 351)

Chemical engineering has to be one of the most creative of all professions. We look for opportunities in everything, even in the air that surrounds us.

In the early 20th century, Carl von Linde pioneered the process of air separation, splitting air into its pure components. He developed a technique to obtain pure oxygen and nitrogen by means of fractional distillation from liquefied air.

Since then, air separation has been applied to many products we use every day. In February, I attended an IChemE event at the University of Surrey. During the event, I met Jama Salimov, an Advanced Process Control Engineer at Air Products. Jama was keen to shine a light on his work in air separation and ensure that we all understand its many applications.

liquid nitrogen
Liquid Nitrogen

Air separation typically separates air into its primary components – nitrogen and oxygen. However, it can also isolate some of the more rare parts of the air such as argon.

The products of air separation have a wide variety of uses in our everyday lives. Many of us use them without even realising it – and Jama was keen to tell me all about them.

Continue reading A breath of fresh air (Day 351)

Training the next generation of chemical engineers (Day 339)

I think I may be a little unusual amongst chemical engineering professors in that I started out in academia, before switching to a career in industry and then switching back again. I recounted the story in my presidential address: Chemical engineering matters everywhere – reflections on a journey from academe to industry, and back again

Based on these experiences, I am always keen to initiate and promote new relationships between industry and academia.

However, I am by no means alone in valuing the importance of such relationships.

Delegates who attended ChemEngDayUK2015 in Sheffield, UK last month, heard from a range of industry speakers.  The main conference sponsor was the German industrial conglomerate Siemens.

Sean McDonagh
Photo Credit | Siemens
Sean McDonagh

Sean McDonagh, who leads the chemicals team for Siemens Digital Factory Process Industries & Drives, gave a very insightful contribution during the opening session.  I caught up with him shortly afterwards and he told me about one of Siemens’ latest projects –  which focuses on strengthening those all important links between industry and academia.

Last year’s ChemEngDayUK, hosted by the University of Manchester, saw the official opening of a new pilot plant situated within the James Chadwick Building. The plant features Siemens’ distributed control system’. It is designed to help students learn about advanced process automation.

Continue reading Training the next generation of chemical engineers (Day 339)

England’s North East – still a powerhouse of industry and innovation (Day 323)

For a long time now, my mantra has been “Chemical engineering matters.” If you’ve read anything by me, or listened to me speak, the message will have been loud and clear. And that’s why this principle is now embedded at the core of IChemE.

Playing table football at the North East annual dinner with Teesside Member Group Chair, Adrian Northey
Playing table football at the North East annual dinner with Teesside Member Group Chair, Adrian Northey

But sometimes even I am overwhelmed by just how strongly other people feel the same way. And my recent visit to Teesside, in England’s North East, was one of those times.

I had the privilege of addressing the North East IChemE annual dinner, as well as visiting several sites in the area where chemical engineers are creating sustainable solutions for a wide range of challenges. Time and again, I was impressed by the dedication and achievements of the people I met.

Continue reading England’s North East – still a powerhouse of industry and innovation (Day 323)

Think like a chemical engineer to save time and money (Day 322)

Excellent chemical engineering can transform businesses.

Costain is a British construction and engineering company that provides innovative engineering and technology-led solutions. They are also one of IChemE’s Bronze Corporate Partners.

Strensham water treatment works
Strensham water treatment works

A project that highlights their novel way of thinking involved working with Severn Trent to upgrade their Strensham water treatment works in Worcestershire, UK. Severn Trent, a leading utility company, had set challenging efficiency targets.

They asked Costain help them with the refurbishment of 21 rapid gravity filters.

However, all this needed to be done without disrupting the water supply to 350,000 customers. And they wanted the project completed in less than 88 weeks, which is pretty demanding for the water industry.

Continue reading Think like a chemical engineer to save time and money (Day 322)

The sweet stuff in the white stuff (Day 319)

milkLactose is a sugar found in milk. Typically, it makes up between 2 to 8 per cent of milk and is a significant byproduct of the dairy industry.

Lactose is a major export good. In 2012 the US exported 170,000 tonnes, the EU 142,000 tonnes and New Zealand 20,000 tonnes of lactose – making the lactose a billion dollar industry.

The world’s largest dairy product exporter, Fonterra, has worked in partnership with Aurecon to develop an innovative evaporation system – CrystalLac for which a patent is pending.

Continue reading The sweet stuff in the white stuff (Day 319)

The world’s biggest oil refinery (Day 315)

CP logos 2014IChemE’s Corporate Partners make a major contribution to the chemical engineering profession and to the world around us. The list of Corporate Partners is growing and it’s worth highlighting some of their success stories in my blog.

Our three-tiered Corporate Partner scheme was launched in 2009 to build links with industry. Corporate Partnership recognises a company’s commitment to engineering excellence, employee professional development and inspiring the next generation.

Bechtel celebrate achieving IChemE gold corporate partner
Bechtel celebrate achieving IChemE Gold Corporate Partner status

Bechtel is a global leader in the design, procurement, construction, and project management of oil, chemical, and natural gas facilities.

They employ 500 chemical engineers worldwide and became a Gold Corporate Partner in 2013. They even baked us a cake to help celebrate!

Since 1898, Bechtel have completed more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents. That’s no mean feat. And recently, they constructed the biggest oil refinery in the world.

Continue reading The world’s biggest oil refinery (Day 315)

Happy Birthday to a cracking champion of chemicals (Day 303)

Most people who work in the chemical industry have had to deal with the sharp intake of breath and disapproving voice of someone saying “but chemicals are bad”.

But then we explain that ‘chemicals’ are all around us – the oxygen and water we need to survive; in the food we eat; the clothes were wear; even our bodies – are all made up of ‘chemicals’: see my blog ‘Can you lead a chemical-free life?‘.

BASFIt is rare, certainly in the UK, to see an advert openly using the words ‘chemistry’ or ‘chemicals’. However, there’s one company that wears its chemical credentials proudly on its sleeve and I want to congratulate them for this and at the same time say ‘Happy 150th Birthday’ to BASF.

Today, BASF produces agrochemicals, chemicals, plastics, high performance materials and catalysts. They are also involved in biotechnology as well as oil and gas exploration.

Continue reading Happy Birthday to a cracking champion of chemicals (Day 303)