Renew, Sustain, Disrupt and Advance – discussing the challenges faced by chemical engineers. #Chemeca

Chemical engineers create innovative technologies and solutions, adapt to disruption, and make processes more efficient and sustainable to benefit society.

But when the world is faced by unexpected challenges such as COVID-19, how do we create, maintain and improve upon safe, sustainable and cost effective solutions?

Despite the disruption of the pandemic, the organising committee for our Chemeca conference – made up of volunteer members and hosted by IChemE, Engineers Australia, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute and Engineering New Zealand – were keen to ensure sharing knowledge on these challenges still took place.

So our physical conference has been reshaped into a series of one-hour to 90 minute webinar sessions across four weeks and renamed Bite-Sized Chemeca. Under the theme ‘renew, sustain, disrupt and advance’, our expert engineer plenary speakers and panellists will discuss and present upon the hot topics affecting both industry and academia, including on COVID-19, industry 4.0, circular economy and energy efficiency.

Ahead of the event in two weeks’ time (29 September), we caught up with Dr Bronwyn Evans, Chief Executive of Engineers Australia, and our Deputy President, Jane Cutler who will be delivering plenary sessions in week one and two, respectively. Read their thoughts on how engineers might need to adapt to address these challenges and gain an insight into their plenaries below.

Continue reading Renew, Sustain, Disrupt and Advance – discussing the challenges faced by chemical engineers. #Chemeca

A path to the stars (Day 134)

On Day 100 of my presidency, I mused about possible future careers of chemical engineers. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that engineering in space – whether as a space fuel processor or galactic engineer – featured in my top ten list.

But you’ll be pleased to know that chemical engineers have already been travelling into space for decades.

When you ask a small child what they want to be when they grow up, more often than not, you will hear them say: “I want to be an astronaut and go into space”. And yet, little is known about how you become an astronaut and career paths that can lead to space travel.

One such path that can lead to the stars is chemical engineering.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding, so I’ve compiled a list of individuals who started their career in chemical engineering, and then went on to become astronauts:

Continue reading A path to the stars (Day 134)

Elephants in the room? (Day 8)

Elephant in the roomI had an interesting message from IChemE member and MediaEnvoy Keith Plumb overnight.

It covers a sensitive and sometimes controversial issue – the growth of human population – but he also points out the power of individuals to make a difference.

Using Keith’s words he says: “The elephant in the room with respect to climate change is the growth of the human population. I used to think that chemical engineers could do little until I read an article about a man in India who developed a simple machine for making sanitary towels.”

Continue reading Elephants in the room? (Day 8)