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)

Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

shout outOne of the central messages in my presidential address was the resolute assertion that chemical engineers should stand up and speak out.  We need to tell the world about the difference that we make.

I’ve been repeating this mantra pretty much ever since. Indeed that’s the driving purpose behind this blog.

But there’s a key consideration in all of this that engineers of all types frequently overlook.  We have to talk to the public in a language that they understand. This sometimes proves challenging because let’s be honest, some of the stuff that we do is pretty complicated.

Thirty years ago we could get away with fobbing people off with the argument that “it’s over your head; don’t worry; leave it to us…” But that won’t wash today. We have a duty to explain what we do and we must be able to explain things simply and lucidly.

Continue reading Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

New drug approved to fight ovarian cancer (Day 317)

Now that we are in the home stretch of my presidency, I thought I’d look a little closer to home for examples of chemical engineering success. IChemE’s Corporate Partners are a great place to start.

AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical company employing around 57,000 people worldwide, were awarded Silver Corporate Partner status in 2011.

woman with cancerThey are one of only a handful of companies involved in every aspect of pharmaceutical production from start to finish; from research to supply. So next time you pick up a prescription, there’s a good chance that AstraZeneca might have been involved.

One of their latest drugs to be approved is Lynparza, which is prescribed to patients who have been diagnosed with a mutated form of ovarian cancer.

Over 7,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. It’s the fifth most common cancer among women, mainly affecting the over 50’s – although it can affect women of any age.

Continue reading New drug approved to fight ovarian cancer (Day 317)

Engineering hydrogels to treat spinal cord injury (Day 308)

Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious and the road to recovery is often a long one.

Two million people worldwide are affected by spinal cord problems that result in the loss of motor and sensory function below the point of injury, which can be devastating.

I’ve blogged previously about a team from Stanford University, which is working reduce the trauma of injections and improve the ‘healing help for spinal injuries‘. It’s an area where chemical engineers are making a difference. Here’s another great example.

Dr. -Ing Laura De Laporte
Photo Credit | Dr. -Ing Laura De Laporte

The European Union has awarded a 1.5 million Euro grant to a chemical engineer, Dr.-Ing Laura De Laporte, from DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials to research an injectable hydrogel that will help spinal cord repair.

Laura’s research objective is to develop a minimally invasive therapy for spinal cord injury. She will do this by engineering a biomaterial in a project she calls ANISOGEL.

Her goal is to develop an injectable material with the potential to provide biochemical and physical guidance for regenerating nerves across an injury site.

Continue reading Engineering hydrogels to treat spinal cord injury (Day 308)

Earth Hour, how about Earth Year? Use #YourPower (Day 305)

Tonight at 20:30, all over the world, individuals, companies, government organisations, and possibly even Her Majesty the Queen, will switch off their lights.

03_EH 60+ LOGO_STACKED CLR_JPEGThis symbolic gesture marks Earth Hour, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007 as a lights-off event to raise awareness of climate change.

162 countries and territories worldwide now take part in Earth Hour.

You can get involved and help to raise awareness about climate change by switching off your lights at 20:30 local time for one hour. You can share your thoughts on the climate change challenge on Twitter using #YourPower.

I recently came across the story of one country, Costa Rica,  whose citizens are prepared to go much further in the battle against climate change. Since the beginning of the year, Costa Rica has avoided the use of fossil fuels altogether.

The Costa Rican government recently issued a press release announcing that during the first quarter of 2015, they relied on renewables for 100 per cent of their power generation.

Continue reading Earth Hour, how about Earth Year? Use #YourPower (Day 305)

Raising a sustainable glass of South African wine (Day 304)

Sustainable water research is big news in South Africa especially for the wine industry.

wineThe South African wine industry is the 9th largest wine producer in the world, with over 100,000 hectares of land dedicated to vineyards.

South Africa is committed to sustainable wine growing and recognises the problems of cultivating the majority of its wine in a biodiversity hotspot: the Cape Floral Kingdom.

So the introduction of the integrity and sustainability seal for wine, launched in 2010, certifies that the wine in question has been made in a manner that is respectful to nature, and guarantees sustainable wine production.

To make their wines sustainable, producers are taking responsibility by dedicating land for conservation, removing foreign plants and restoring wetlands and rivers. But there have been particular issues in many regions, for example in the Witwatersrand Basin there are reports of soil being highly acidic and contamination of water resources.

Dr Craig Sheridan, from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering openly confesses to having a passion for chemical engineering and water!

Continue reading Raising a sustainable glass of South African wine (Day 304)

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)

Chemical engineering research matters (Day 245)

As an academic, I know that chemical engineering matters in the research space. And IChemE recognises the importance of forums and meetings where chemical engineering researchers can share their work with their peers.

One such important UK research meeting for chemical engineers is the annual ChemEngDayUK conference.

ChemEngDayUK 2015
ChemEngDayUK 2015

This event brings together researchers, engineers and scientists from chemical engineering departments across the UK to showcase their latest technological advances and research to leading experts within the field.

There is also specific emphasis placed on collaboration between academia and industry.

In 2015, the third annual ChemEngDayUK conference will hosted by the chemical and biological engineering department at the University of Sheffield.

Continue reading Chemical engineering research matters (Day 245)

Can you drink all the water in an Olympic size swimming pool? (Day 220)

Swimming poolIf you’re a fan of the Olympics, and swimming in particular, you’ll be familiar with the size of the pool (50 m x 25 m). But have you ever wondered how much water it holds and how long it might take for one person to drink it?

Depending on depth, the pool will hold between 1.25 million litres of water (1 m depth) to 2.5 million litres of water (2 m depth). And if you assume we all drink between 2-4 litres of water each day, that would take over 3,400 years for one person to consume.

In fact, many of us will consume all the water in the smaller size swimming pool in just one year. It’s all due to the amount of ‘hidden water’ we consume in our food.

These numbers may be hard to believe but here’s a few examples of how easy it is to build up your water footprint based on three main meals a day – even without dessert!

Breakfast – 1,260 litres

Meal
A breakfast of two eggs, two sausages, beans, two slices of toast and butter has a water footprint of 1260.5 litres. Data and image courtesy of Onedrop.org. Click image to visit website.

Continue reading Can you drink all the water in an Olympic size swimming pool? (Day 220)

Best blogs of 2014: What the public really think about chemical engineers… (Day 217)

Crowd of peopleHello everyone. During the seasonal holidays, I am re-posting some of the most popular blogs from the past six months.

One of the topics that fascinates me is what people think of our profession and what we can do to create the best possible image for science.

Today’s blog looks at public attitudes to science and even manages to include a reference to One Direction – thanks for reading!

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I recently came across the Ipsos MORI 2014 Public Attitudes to Science study which focuses on public perceptions in the UK to science and engineering.

The survey did not test scientific knowledge but instead examined the social connections between people and science. This approach is useful as it offers an insight into how a person will respond to a specific issue, for example fracking.

Continue reading Best blogs of 2014: What the public really think about chemical engineers… (Day 217)

Best blogs of 2014: Ten skills chemical engineers should be talking about (Day 216)

SkillsHello everyone. During the seasonal holidays, I am re-posting some of the most popular blogs from the past six months.

For such a demanding profession our skill-sets are diverse and require continuous professional development. In today’s blog – originally posted in September 2014 – I talk about some of the skills we use regularly, but are less well-known.

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Within our profession, it is easy to find lists of the skills chemical engineers ‘should’ have: we are solution focused; we are good with numbers; we are practical.

However, none of these skills sound very exciting.

Interestingly, it is the ‘skills’ which we aren’t so good at and stereotypical engineering ‘memes’ which, arguably, we are more famous for.

I think we need to set the record straight and create an image of our skills which better reflects what we do in the twenty-first century.

Even our employers have a role – they are the ones with the power to present a picture of the modern engineer through their job specifications and approach to recruitment advertising.

So, here it is – a list of ten skills and values I know chemical engineers (and other scientists and engineers) have that we should be shouting about.

Continue reading Best blogs of 2014: Ten skills chemical engineers should be talking about (Day 216)

Best blogs of 2014: Ten future careers of chemical engineers (Day 214)

Looking to the futureHello everyone. During the seasonal holidays, I am re-posting some of the most popular blogs from the past six months.

Today’s blog has been the most popular yet and has been read nearly 8,000 times.

It’s a bit of futurism and if you’re still around in 50 years – and blogging still exists –  it might be useful to look ‘back to the future’ and see just how close I was. Thanks for reading.

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Hello and welcome to Day 100 of my presidency.

Normally, ‘presidents’ cast their eye over their achievements for this mini milestone. But to break the tradition, I am going to look forward to speculate how careers in chemical engineering might evolve.

I find that newspapers often produce articles hypothesising about what possible careers we will be performing in the future. The majority of the time these future careers all involve an aspect of chemical engineering.

I know from working as a chemical engineer that we can be hard to identify as we are rarely called ‘chemical engineers’. We can be process engineers, safety engineers, bioproduct engineers, design engineers, environmental engineers… and some of us aren’t even called engineers!

Reading through the online literature I came across a variety of future professions and roles, some more fanciful than others, that I think will be well suited to the skills of tomorrow’s chemical engineers and some that are already being done by today’s chemical engineers.

Here are ten (possible!) future careers of chemical engineers:

Continue reading Best blogs of 2014: Ten future careers of chemical engineers (Day 214)

Best blogs of 2014: Ten job titles of chemical engineers… and what they actually mean (Day 213)

Great jobHappy ‘Boxing Day’ to you all! 

During the seasonal holidays, I am re-posting some of the most popular blogs from the past six months.

In October, I highlighted how invisible our profession can be. 

I guesstimate that there might be at least half a million chemical engineers dotted around the planet, yet we are hardly household names. Hopefully, today’s blog explains some of the reasons why.

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Chemical engineers can be hard to identify, not just because most people aren’t clear about what chemical engineering actually is, but because chemical engineers rarely can be identified by the job title – chemical engineer!

To help dispel this confusion I have compiled a list of ten job titles that chemical engineers typically fill:

Continue reading Best blogs of 2014: Ten job titles of chemical engineers… and what they actually mean (Day 213)

The twelve (chemical engineering) products of Christmas (Day 209)

Seasonal lightsI have talked in my past blogs about the lack of recognition about what chemical engineering is and why it matters.

When explaining chemical engineering to people I often say look around you, everything you can see or touch wouldn’t be here without chemical engineering.

Christmas offers an excellent opportunity to showcase twelve products that you might miss the chemical engineering in, if you don’t know where to look:

Continue reading The twelve (chemical engineering) products of Christmas (Day 209)

The true meaning of our science (Day 208)

SpeakerI am always in favour of evidence-driven policy making. Who wouldn’t want their country’s decisions made on facts?

However, I often worry if the public, politicians and policy makers really understand or, at least, are accurately interpreting the science behind the evidence.

In the UK, we have seen the recent launch of a report from the ‘What Works Centres’, designed to make the best evidence of what works available to our decision makers.

With top findings from the UK so far including:

  • The use of peer tutoring in schools, where young people work together in small groups, has a high positive impact on achievement
  • Putting more policemen on the beat does not necessarily reduce crime, unless officers are carefully targeted
  • More lives could be saved or improved if people with acute heart failure were routinely treated by specialist heart failure teams

As engineers and researchers, it is our job to ensure that we send a clear message of what our work means, why it matters, where it is applicable and how and when it should be used.

I recently came across a Nature article discussing ‘Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims’ which made me evaluate the message I am sending to decision makers.

From this I have put together a list of just ten things I think we need to tell people know to ensure they understand and correctly interpret the science behind our chemical engineering message:

Continue reading The true meaning of our science (Day 208)

A journey from process engineer to IChemE’s technical vice president (Day 206)

For over 200 days now, I have been slowly fulfilling my presidential mission of sharing chemical engineering good news every day. And over time, I have noticed a pattern amongst my readership; chemical engineers are interested in the journey of where chemical engineering can take you.

By now, you must all know my personal journey inside out; starting in academia, then twenty years in the oilfield services industry working for Schlumberger until I came full circle back into academia in 2005 as professor of energy engineering at Imperial College London, UK.

For today’s blog post, I will let a previous IChemE technical vice president, Ed Daniels, walk you through his journey; a chemical engineer who rose through the ranks to a senior leadership role within a major oil company. Perhaps shining the spotlight on an individual will help shine a light on the profession in some small way…

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Ed Daniels (2)Name: Ed Daniels
Job: Executive Vice President, Commercial and New Business Development
Course: Chemical engineering, Imperial College London
Graduated: 1988
Employer: Royal Dutch Shell

Quote startBack when I started my degree at university, I knew, even back then that chemical engineering was, and would remain to be, a sound foundation of engineering education. Not only is it practical and logical, but it would also prove to serve me well in a career context. Continue reading A journey from process engineer to IChemE’s technical vice president (Day 206)

Ten common misconceptions about chemical engineers debunked (Day 199)

PerceptionWhen I started this blog my main aim was to showcase how chemical engineering is making a real difference across the world.

And I have been amazed at all the incredible tales of chemical engineering I have heard from so many different countries.

Building a detailed picture of chemical engineering is great, but one thing that concerns me are the common misconceptions about chemical engineers and chemical engineering I still hear.

To help dispel some of these I have put together a list of common misconceptions about chemical engineers that just aren’t true:

Continue reading Ten common misconceptions about chemical engineers debunked (Day 199)

Even chemical engineers can pamper (Day 198)

EyesIn some countries, chemical engineers don’t receive the respect they deserve.

Our contribution is hidden from the public as companies don’t want people to think about the ‘chemicals’ in their products.

I discussed the perception that anything natural is good and anything man-made is bad in my blog ‘Can you lead a chemical-free life?’, which demonstrates that this is not the case.

The US gets a lot of bad press about the public perceptions of science and engineering, but one thing they are getting right is the respect that seems to be increasing for chemical engineers working in the cosmetics industry.

An excellent example of this is the company Living Proof, set up by a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including chemical engineering Professor Robert Langer, which initially focused on hair products.

The company has such a strong technological reputation that actress Jennifer Aniston (who I am told is famous for her hair?!) was not only was willing to advertise their products but also invested in the company as a co-owner.

Photo Credit | Living Proof Dr Betty Yu
Photo Credit | Living Proof
Dr Betty Yu

Living Proof is now launching its first skin product – Neotensil – spearhead by another MIT chemical engineering alumnus Dr Betty Yu.

Neotensil uses polymer technology to compress and flatten eye bags.

Continue reading Even chemical engineers can pamper (Day 198)

Designing future medicines – the work of the chemical engineer (Day 192)

Pills packI, like the rest of the world, have been saddened by the devastation caused by the most recent Ebola outbreak in Africa and its wide-reaching consequences.

Unfortunately, there have been many ‘finger-waving’ stories questioning how it can have taken so long for the major pharmaceutical companies to produce a viable treatment or vaccine for the disease.

Sadly, ‘finger-waving’ isn’t the answer when the solutions are complicated and highly regulated.

Sometimes, the media report on the latest breakthroughs. For example, Time recently reported ‘Scientists Develop Drug to Replace Antibiotics’.

This implies that these drugs are available and ready to go, however this distracts us from the fact the article also states ‘researchers hope to create a pill or an injectable version of it in the next five years’.

Anyone who has worked in research will understand how long it actually takes to move these breakthroughs to the next stage and to truly develop them.

IChemE technical vice-president, Jon-Paul Sherlock, has worked in the pharmaceuticals industry for over 15 years and has offered me a brief insight into what the industry is really like for chemical engineers.

Continue reading Designing future medicines – the work of the chemical engineer (Day 192)

Starting a chemical engineering career in academia (Day 190)

Research is an important part of chemical engineering, and chemical engineers going on to further study and completing a PhD make up part of that picture. The importance of chemical engineering research in being at the forefront of tackling many of the world’s tough challenges is also emphasised in IChemE’s technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters.

Graduate destinations data from Higher Educations Statistics Agency
Graduate destinations data from Higher Educations Statistics Agency

In the UK, it is encouraging to see that more graduates are going on to further study within chemical engineering (see graph) than the other engineering disciplines.

So, what is is like to go into further study and start a career in academia nowadays?

I can certainly tell you what it was like back in the 1970s when I started, but I think that it’s probably for the best that I hand the reigns over to a chemical engineer completing their PhD in the present day for today’s guest blog.

Continue reading Starting a chemical engineering career in academia (Day 190)

A chemical engineer and the invention of the Post-it Note (Day 170)

Our stationary supplies would not be the same without the Post-it note. Imagine if we couldn’t bookmark our pages as easily, or write reminders to ourselves and co-workers – life would be less organised, and perhaps less colourful.

Post-it notes are available nowadays in a range of sizes, colours, and even fragrances with sales of the product estimated to be US$ 1 billion per year.

Post-it NotesAt IChemE, we even use jigsaw shaped Post-it notes as a method of engaging with our members through our technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters. I even flew to the other side of the world to attend the Chemeca 2014 conference in Perth, Australia, with a supply of Post-it notes safely packed in my luggage.

The company that invented Post-it notes was 3M, and in fact, it was a chemical engineer called Arthur Fry who thought up the genius idea of the sticky notes we know and love.

It took over a decade for Post-it notes to be released to the market from its inception. The invention of the Post-it started in the 1968 when Spencer Silver, a senior chemist at 3M, was conducting experiments in order to develop a strong acrylate copolymer-based adhesive for the aerospace industry.

Continue reading A chemical engineer and the invention of the Post-it Note (Day 170)

Ten differences between process safety and occupational safety (Day 166)

Work safetyOne of the most important roles that chemical engineers can play is improving safety.

A good example of this is the IChemE Safety Centre (ISC) which sets up a new impetus and framework for process safety.

Despite the good work of chemical engineers in mitigating dangerous events, they still occur.

Often the reason given for these incidents is a lack of understanding of what process safety is and how it differs from occupational safety.

For example people often use this to explain why the BP Texas City refinery explosion and fire, which sadly killed 15 people and injured 180 more, occurred. It has been suggested that there was too great a focus on reducing the high number of occupational safety incidents, rather than the more infrequent but much more serious process safety incidents.

I have put together this list of ten differences between process and occupational (personal) safety to help dispel this (however it should be noted that this list is my opinion and there is a lot of overlap between process and occupational safety – hence the confusion!):

Continue reading Ten differences between process safety and occupational safety (Day 166)

Blocking bacterial biofilms without antibiotics (Day 157)

Our war against infection and disease is ongoing. New bacterial strains are consistently emerging and our current antibiotics are becoming less and less effective at fighting them.

Purple GermsGovernments and researchers worldwide are searching for new methods to help deal with the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Chemical engineers from the University of Washington have proposed a strategy to block bacterial biofilms forming and thus keep the bacteria in their more readily treatable single-cell form.

Continue reading Blocking bacterial biofilms without antibiotics (Day 157)

What’s the water cost of your food? (Day 143)

Yesterday was World Food Day and I’ve taken the opportunity to explore one of the lesser known challenges involved in providing enough food to an expanding population.

The numbers illustratCEM just logoe the challenge – we ‘eat’ 3,496 litres of water everyday and it is one of the issues being explored in IChemE’s first green paper, published yesterday, as a part of our Chemical Engineering Matters technical policy.

Generally, a ‘green paper’ is a policy document designed to stimulate discussion with a wider audience and get the conversation started about what we should do next.

It’s a phrase and approach IChemE is borrowing to help lead the debate on key issues around energy, water, food and health.

Our first green paper – called Water Management in the Food and Drink Industry’ – discusses the importance of water management in the food and drink industry, and the role that chemical engineers play in this.

Continue reading What’s the water cost of your food? (Day 143)

One small step for CCS; one giant leap for the Earth (Day 141)

Big stepCarbon capture and storage (CCS) is something close to my heart. I, and many colleagues at Imperial College Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (IC4S) have been working on this for a long time.

With the amount of discussion about it, people may be forgiven for thinking it’s already happening. There is progress and technology and projects are coming online. However, it’s still in its infancy and we’ve only just reached a vital milestone.

It’s been a long time coming, but at the start of October, the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage plant has come online and started operating in Canada.

Continue reading One small step for CCS; one giant leap for the Earth (Day 141)

Ten job titles of chemical engineers… and what they actually mean (Day 129)

Great JobChemical engineers can be hard to identify, not just because most people aren’t clear about what chemical engineering actually is, but because chemical engineers rarely can be identified by the job title – chemical engineer!

To help dispel this confusion I have compiled a list of ten job titles that chemical engineers typically fill:

 

1. Process engineer

When I met up with chemical engineering colleagues they often describe themselves as process engineers. Process engineering occurs across the wide range of chemical engineering sectors, but a process engineer will typically work to design engineering packages, develop new ideas and processes, and monitor and maintain plant systems.

Continue reading Ten job titles of chemical engineers… and what they actually mean (Day 129)

Ten skills chemical engineers should be talking about (Day 114)

SkillsWithin our profession, it is easy to find lists of the skills chemical engineers ‘should’ have: we are solution focused; we are good with numbers; we are practical.

However, none of these skills sound very exciting.

Interestingly, it is the ‘skills’ which we aren’t so good at and stereotypical engineering ‘memes’ which, arguably, we are more famous for.

I think we need to set the record straight and create an image of our skills which better reflects what we do in the twenty-first century.

Even our employers have a role – they are the ones with the power to present a picture of the modern engineer through their job specifications and approach to recruitment advertising.

So, here it is – a list of ten skills and values I know chemical engineers (and other scientists and engineers) have that we should be shouting about.

Continue reading Ten skills chemical engineers should be talking about (Day 114)

Water versus energy – which is more precious? (Day 107)

Water damSome of you will be aware of the ‘nexus’ approach to the grand chemical engineering challenges. Although, we often look at energy, food, water and health in isolation, in fact many of them should be considered alongside each other.

One of these important relationships is energy and water.

Of course if you’ve got energy and water, the debate is often about cost and service. If you’ve got neither, then it’s a completely different debate where capital, skills and infrastructure become the priority topics.

Continue reading Water versus energy – which is more precious? (Day 107)

What the public really think about chemical engineers… (Day 103)

Crowd of peopleI recently came across the Ipsos MORI 2014 Public Attitudes to Science study which focuses on public perceptions in the UK to science and engineering.

The survey did not test scientific knowledge but instead examined the social connections between people and science. This approach is useful as it offers an insight into how a person will respond to a specific issue, for example fracking.

Continue reading What the public really think about chemical engineers… (Day 103)

Ten future careers of chemical engineers (Day 100)

Young Executive looking to the futureHello and welcome to Day 100 of my presidency.

Normally, ‘presidents’ cast their eye over their achievements for this mini milestone. But to break the tradition, I am going to look forward to speculate how careers in chemical engineering might evolve.

I find that newspapers often produce articles hypothesising about what possible careers we will be performing in the future. The majority of the time these future careers all involve an aspect of chemical engineering.

I know from working as a chemical engineer that we can be hard to identify as we are rarely called ‘chemical engineers’. We can be process engineers, safety engineers, bioproduct engineers, design engineers, environmental engineers… and some of us aren’t even called engineers!

Reading through the online literature I came across a variety of future professions and roles, some more fanciful than others, that I think will be well suited to the skills of tomorrow’s chemical engineers and some that are already being done by today’s chemical engineers.

Here are ten (possible!) future careers of chemical engineers:

Continue reading Ten future careers of chemical engineers (Day 100)

Combating sewer corrosion (Day 96)

Concrete sewer tunnelSewer management is a difficult business; it depends on a careful balance of chemical and civil engineering.

Sewer infrastructure maintenance is a costly business, e.g. in America the federal government has required cities to invest more than $15 billion in new pipes since 2007.

The concrete foundations of sewers are often corroded due to additives used in the processing of drinking water. In Australia some concrete pipes are being corroded by up to 90 per cent.

One group who knows this well are the Sewer Corrosion and Odour Research (SCORe) Team at the Advance Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia, who recently published an article in the journal Science outlining a method to reduce sewer corrosion.

Continue reading Combating sewer corrosion (Day 96)