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.

 

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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

Name:
Dr Daniel Derr

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

Bio:
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.

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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.

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Guest blog: #WorldWaterDay

IChemE’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an essential way for our members to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives, which are of significance to their sector.

drop on water

Today is World Water Day, and our Water SIG is a hugely important part of providing expert advice and consultation to the innovations that could change our world. Water is essential to life, it must be sustainable or we cannot survive. Chemical engineers are an important part of making sure water provision is sufficient, clean, economical, and environmentally-friendly.

Chris Short, Chair of the IChemE Water SIG, explores in more detail the current challenges for the water sector in today’s blog post. Read on to hear his thoughts, and feel free to join the conversation on Twitter using #WorldWaterDay or by leaving a comment below:


chris-short

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

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Today is World Water Day, and I’ll be attending a conference in Leeds, UK, on Innovations in Wastewater Treatment. The focus will be on the recovery of value from wastewater and I expect to hear how leading-edge technologies are performing and what new processes are being evaluated by researchers.

This is exciting stuff.

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A chemical engineer sings about university life! (Day 306)

By now, regular readers of this blog will have realised that I’m pretty passionate about chemical engineering, its application and why it matters the world over. The students I teach share my view, but they can be a bit more creative at expressing it.

Sandy Nimmo, a final year undergraduate at Imperial College, penned a song to describe his experience whilst studying our beloved subject. Rest assured, this is not part of the curriculum, but it just goes to show how inspirational chemical engineering can be.

Have a listen to his song ‘Music for Engineers’ here:

The years spent at university can be some of the best of your life, and as they draw to an end, its only natural to reflect on the time you’ve had. And this is exactly what Sandy did with his song.

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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.

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