It has been 60 years since our inaugural Hazards conference took place, and although this year presented its own challenges, we were pleased to have successfully hosted #Hazards30 in a virtual format for the very first time. With an impressive line-up of plenary speakers and presentations, over 260 process safety professionals were still able to get the full experience of Hazards from the comfort of their home.Continue reading #Hazards30 – 60 years of process safety learning and lessons
In today’s blog, IChemE Safety Centre Director Trish Kerin talks about the importance of continuing to raise awareness of managing major hazards during the pandemic.
Name: Trish Kerin
Job title: Director IChemE Safety Centre
As process safety professionals we know that process safety never takes a holiday, and it certainly doesn’t take sick leave for a global pandemic either. We continue to see incidents occur each week and it is unfortunate to note that the circumstances we find ourselves in because of the pandemic contributed to the cause in some cases. Incidents have taken place on restarting after inadequately planned shut-downs and after handling higher quantities of flammable substances, for example when retooling to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitisers. We have also seen incidents caused by equipment failure that wasn’t adequately maintained due to the restrictions and due to the inappropriate storage of oxidizing agents.Continue reading Keeping sight of process safety in these challenging times
We have so many dedicated member volunteers. They are the heart of the Institution performing various roles to ensure we can fulfil our duties as a qualifying body and a learned society for chemical engineers.
Thank you to all our worldwide volunteers for your efforts, which have continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining an excellent standard of activities and support.
As this week marks Ireland Volunteers Week (21-27 September), under the theme ‘health and well being’, we want to say a huge thank you all of our volunteers in the region for their continued contributions.
To celebrate, we’re sharing the stories of just some of our many volunteers to highlight their fantastic work. Read about how in their volunteer roles they are continuously supporting their fellow chemical engineers, and particularly during this pandemic.
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
In this blog, IChemE Trustee Macsene Isles-Ahite shares her vision for ED&I in IChemE and across the chemical engineering community.
“To be an IChemE Global Award winner feels a very large honour and a vindication of all the decisions I’ve made in my career so far.”
That’s how Chartered Chemical Engineer and Chartered Mechanical Engineer Thomas Isaac felt after being presented with the Young Industrialist Award at the IChemE Global Awards 2019.
In this blog, Sam Wilkinson, committee member and communications lead on the Learned Society Committee, discusses IChemE’s ongoing learned society activity that is contributing to achieving Aim 2 of Strategy 2024.
Our dedicated member volunteers around the world are the life and soul of the Institution. Without their efforts we couldn’t fulfil our duties as a qualifying body or a learned society. Or truly be an organisation that is led by members, supports members and serves society.
Their efforts and activities are appreciated by the Institution all year round. And, as part of IChemE’s Strategy 2024, we are working to further improve the volunteer experience to ensure the membership remains a vibrant and thriving community. This is one of President Stephen Richardson’s top priorities, and that’s why at the end of 2019 he initiated a two-year programme to improve support for and better recognise volunteers. We are currently reviewing processes and documentation and planning how we can better align and improve them across the organisation, whilst adopting best practice. We’ll provide further updates on this in the coming months as the programme of work progresses.
As we entered 2020, no-one could have predicted the effect coronavirus would have on individuals, organisations and our health services across the world. At IChemE, we’ve been adapting our procedures so we can still maintain the same standards of services to our members, and our fellow professionals across academia and industry. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers across the world who are leading this effort.
To mark Volunteers Week in the UK (1-7 June), we’re sharing stories from just a couple of our many UK volunteers to highlight their great contributions to help IChemE adapt in this pandemic. They explain why now it’s more important than ever to maintain safe and quality practices in chemical engineering to support the wider community.
In today’s guest blog, chemical engineer David Platts tells us how he has been working to share knowledge to support chemical engineers in his region during the coronavirus outbreak.
Name: David Platts
Job title and organisation: NZ based Food Industry Consultant (semi-retired)
IChemE role: Member of the Learned Society Committee and Subject Area Lead Food
In discussions with IChemE members in my region, it was evident that although much information published globally was centred on the major economic centres, we too had interesting stories to share regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia Pacific.
Working with the country chairs in Australia and New Zealand, and fellow Learned Society Committee member Alexandra Meldrum, a series of short webinars was planned highlighting how we were navigating the myriad of the challenges brought about by pandemic.
We asked two subject specialists to join us for the first webinar on 23 March. Both presenters shared some thought-provoking content which was extremely relevant to current events, but also challenged us to carefully consider future actions post the pandemic.
Trish Kerin, Director of the IChemE Safety Centre, gave a presentation titled “Decision Making in a Crisis”. Clearly this topic was of much interest to the delegates as we are indeed in a crisis and, for many, this provides many challenges to leadership. A key aspect that I took from the talk was that good leaders need to develop a well-stocked bank account of trust with the people they are leading. This point, I suggest, is highlighted by some of the differing global leadership styles that we are witnessing in many countries.
The second presentation was by Kennie Tsui, Principal Analyst at the New Climate Commission and board member of Engineering New Zealand. Kennie talked in depth about climate change issues going forward. Kennie gave us a vision of what could happen post COVID-19 if we let the brakes off too quickly, referencing the bounce back in emissions following the global financial crisis of 2008. We have a decision to make, follow a new path that leads to meeting our goals for emissions reductions or accelerate those emissions thereby making the challenges even more difficult. A direction that we need to carefully manage – informed and well communicated decisions are critical.
We do hope that those who viewed the presentations found them valuable. If you missed the webinar it can be viewed on the IChemE Safety Centre YouTube channel here.
For the future, please keep your eye open for more webinars as we would like to expand this initiative to the wider Asia Pacific region with more varied content. If you have stories to share, please contact us via the regional members portals for New Zealand and Australia. We would love to hear from you.
For more information on how IChemE is responding to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit our Coronavirus Information Hub.
As a membership organisation that is led by members, supports members and serves society, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Institution.
Without our member volunteers, we simply couldn’t fulfil our obligations as a qualifying body or a learned society. Their enthusiasm and drive to help fellow members, the chemical engineering community and wider society is palpable.
In today’s guest blog, Chartered Chemical Engineer and IChemE Fellow Richard Cousins, explains a recent member continuing professional development (CPD) sampling exercise undertaken by IChemE.
A member of IChemE’s Professional Formation Forum and a CPD Assessor Panel Lead, he reviews the key lessons from the sampling exercise, and what comes next.
At IChemE we’re undertaking a series of projects that aim to improve member services, service delivery and the sustainability of our Institution.
One of these is an overarching project called Programme SMART which, as IChemE’s Vice President of Qualifications Ainslie Just discussed in our recent blog, aims to deliver sustainable membership growth.
In today’s blog, Rob Best who is the Chair of the Individual Case Procedure Task and Finish Group, provides an update on one of the projects in the “Flexible Pathways to Membership” area of Programme SMART.
Hundreds of chemical engineering students from across the UK and Ireland descended on central Birmingham this week for the annual Frank Morton Careers Fair.
It was a great chance for us to connect with so many of our Student Members at the event – this year hosted by the University of Birmingham.
In our latest ‘Influencing policy’ blog, IChemE Energy Centre member Tekena Fubara explains the complexities behind transitioning to robust, sustainable energy systems in order to meet international carbon reduction targets.
Also, we explore the role of advanced oxidation processes for sustainable water management, which could be used as evidence to inform policy-makers working on a new Environment Bill.
Chemical and process engineers are key contributors to making working environments safer.
Sharing good practice in this is vital. And so is sharing lessons that have been learned along the way.
That’s why each year we bring leading chemical and process safety experts across Australia and New Zealand together at our conference Hazards Australasia.
This year’s event at the Hilton Brisbane, Australia on 13-14 November 2019 focusses on the theme ‘competence and capability’ and the technical programme features a new panel made up of process safety experts from the regulating bodies across the two regions.
Under the title, Lessons for industry safety cases, the panellists will discuss the importance of sharing lessons from process safety incidents and how the recent Work, Health & Safety review could affect process engineers.
Ahead of this panel discussion, we caught up with some of the panellists to understand some of the challenges and opportunities to improve the safety culture in the process industry in Australasia.
Activities to share knowledge and support the professional development of chemical engineers are happening in a whole host of communities across the world every day.
At IChemE, we have various communities that focus on helping individuals enhance their technical knowledge, competence and skills, as well as assist them in becoming professionally qualified engineers.
We have many enthusiastic members who volunteer in our communities, so will be sharing their stories in specialist areas and regions in regular blogs.
In this blog, Jim O’Donnell, Chair of the Aberdeen Members Group, explains more about what the group does to support all levels of chemical engineers in their region and why he feels younger members in particular can play a positive role in shaping a sustainable future for our Institution and the profession.
Our members want to know more about how we support them to influence the development of national policies that affect chemical engineering.
Following this feedback from our member engagement survey, we are bringing you regular updates on the various policy areas in which we work with our members to provide evidence that inform policy- and decision-makers.
In our latest blog, we explain more on our collaborative approach with the National Engineering Policy Centre to urge the Government to spend more on research and development, what’s new for IChemE’s Energy Centre, as well as an update on the various consultation responses that we are working on.
We work closely with many engineering bodies in the UK; particularly when providing evidence to inform policy-makers. It is important that we collaborate across the engineering disciplines to provide one unanimous voice on policy issues.
In today’s blog, Nick Starkey, the Director of Policy at the Royal Academy of Engineering, explains why engineering input is so crucial for policy-makers, and how we can be far more effective in influencing positive action that will benefit society by working together.
At IChemE we do a lot behind the scenes to support our members in respect to influencing the development of national policies that affect chemical engineering.
We work in a multitude of policy areas, sharing knowledge and providing evidence to inform policy makers. But we can only create impact by working with you, our members, other professional engineering institutions, and directly with the governments across the world. Progress in this area takes time and requires a consistent and proactive approach.
In our recent member engagement survey, it was clear that our members wanted to understand more about this work. So, we’ll be giving you regular insights via our blog and The Chemical Engineer.
In today’s blog we explain more about our contribution to a government consultation on building regulations and how we also advise on government strategies that could affect the future of electronic, plastic, food and farming waste.
Today we are faced with many challenges in society. For example, how to provide sustainable and affordable sources of energy; develop the latest advances in mining minerals and resources; enable access to clean water and food for all; provide efficient waste systems; and advance healthcare to help sustain an ageing population?
Chemical engineers across Australasia and the world are at the forefront of programmes to help solve these challenges and emerging megatrends in engineering to make processes efficient, sustainable and economical.
As the fourth industrial revolution progresses, we must question what will be the next chemical engineering paradigm? And, how will the significant challenges, megatrends and our roots as a discipline in manipulating and combining the fundamental chemical elements drive the development of the next chemical engineering paradigm?
These are key questions that chemical engineers will be discussing at this year’s Chemeca conference in Sydney in September. To mark 150 years of the periodic table, Chemeca 2019 will explore the emerging opportunities and challenges for the chemical engineering profession throughout Australia and New Zealand under the theme ‘Engineering Megatrends and the Periodic Table’.
Ahead of their plenary sessions at Chemeca, we caught up with Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, and Belinda Grealy, Area Business Manager, Europe at Orica, both leaders in their respective fields of energy and mining. They gave an insight into their presentations, and how they feel Australian professional chemical engineers and leaders in the profession are key to positively effecting change for our current and future challenges.
Every year on 23 June we celebrate the accomplishments of female engineers for International Women in Engineering Day (INWED).
This year is even more special as the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) – who founded INWED – are celebrating 100 years of inspiring women engineers, scientists and technologists. Happy birthday WES!
#TransformTheFuture is the theme this year for #INWED19. Female chemical engineers are playing a vital part in helping to transform the future.
To mark Volunteers Week 2019, we’re publishing a blog series profiling just some of our many volunteers across the world.
It’s thanks to the effort of all of our volunteers that we can fulfil our functions as a qualifying body and a learned society, sharing the chemical engineering expertise and learnings of our members.
Next in the blog series is Tom Lakey, who explains why he is passionate to volunteer as the Secretary for the Hull and Humber Members Group.
IChemE is led by members, supports members and serves society; but we can’t fulfil our role as a qualifying body or share learnings in chemical engineering without our member volunteers.
Volunteers from across the world contribute to IChemE’s activities on a daily basis across all aspects of our work.
Volunteers in Australia celebrated Volunteers Week on 20-27 May, and this week (1-7 June 2019) marks Volunteers Week in the UK. So, we want to celebrate and say thank you to all of our volunteers for their fantastic contributions. We’re profiling just some of our volunteers to highlight their great work in a blog series this week.
First up, Robert Peeling, Fellow Representative and Chair of the Communications Working Group in IChemE’s Congress, explains why he enjoys his role in the newly established Congress, which advises the Board of Trustees on matters of interest to IChemE and its members.
Last week more than 300 leading industry experts and process safety professionals from around the world attended IChemE’s leading process safety conference, Hazards 29 in Birmingham, UK.
They came together to share knowledge and their learnings from process safety incidents through a range of plenary talks, parallel sessions and workshops.
The message throughout was clear: process safety is a continued priority for all concerned. Sharing experiences, better risk management and competency are integral to mitigating hazards, and improving process safety procedures.
Here are some of our key takeaways from the conference.
The University of Malaya and Berqat Mechanic Engineering won the IChemE Global Awards 2018 in the Water Award category for their project – Self-Cleaning Ultrafiltration System Producing Clean Water.
Together they have transformed the lives of people living in rural villages who haven’t had access to clean water for many years. They have designed an automated, self-cleaning, mobile ultrafiltration system, which has been installed in remote villages in Malaysia to produce clean water from various sources without the use of chemicals.
Find out more about their project in this video.
Chemical engineers gathered at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh this week for the annual ChemEngDay conference. ChemEngDay was initiated to facilitate networking between chemical engineers in the academic community, and this year was the first time it has been held in Scotland.
116 chemical engineering academics, researchers, PhD students and industry experts came together to share insight and knowledge under the following themes:
• bioprocessing and biotechnology;
• catalysis and novel materials;
• particulate technology;
• process modelling and simulation; and
• sustainable industry.
IChemE joined Aramco, Armfield, GUNT Technology and PA Hilton to exhibit at the conference and to speak to the academic community to learn more about their work and how these chemical engineers are helping provide solutions to global challenges.
This week we showcased six videos as part of our latest #ChemEngProfiles series, which were recorded last year with ExxonMobil UK. ExxonMobil are one of the top employers of chemical engineers, and one of the biggest oil and gas corporations in the world. The company has 19 refineries worldwide, one of which is based in Fawley, Hampshire, UK. They are also one of our Gold Corporate Partners.
In this brand new series, five of ExxonMobil’s chemical engineers,tell us what they love about their job, why working towards or achieving chartered status is important to them, and how the company is investing in the next generation of chemical engineers.
Last week we travelled down to the University of Sheffield to chat with chemical engineering students from all over the UK, at the Frank Morton Careers Fair.
The event provides us with a great opportunity to engage with students and host some friendly competition of our own. This year the IChemE stand was transformed into a Harry Potter theme, with photo props, our own IChemE every-flavour-beans, and Quidditch Beaker Pong.
Students took it in turn to play, and with five ping-pong balls each had to get the highest score they could. The balls had to travel through a gold Quidditch hoop, bounce once, and land in one of the chemistry beakers to get points. Serena, part of our Member Communities team, was on-hand to spot any cheaters!
In the end, Assekan Bali from University of Wolverhampton got the high score with 45 points. She wins an Amazon voucher and coveted ‘Yer a Chemical Engineer, Harry’ T-Shirt.
We also had chance to visit some of the employer sponsors who were on-hand to provide practical advice and information about graduate placements to the 2,000 students who filled Sheffield’s Octagon Centre. They included 3M, AstraZeneca, Bechtel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Phillips 66, Total, Unilever and Wood.
The Careers Fair precedes the Frank Morton Sports Day, an annual event for chemical engineering students where they compete against each other to be crowned champions of undergraduate chemical engineering. Competitions range from the more traditional, such as football and netball, to the more alternative, with this year including an Escape Room challenge.
The University of Newcastle came in third, winning the Netball and doing well at the Escape Room and Dodgeball. Sheffield, determined not to be embarrassed on their home turf, took home second prize after coming top in the Tug of War, Fun Run, Men’s Rowing.
But the University of Birmingham triumphed yet again and took home the coveted Frank Morton Trophy for the fifth time in a row. They had a number of successes on the day, winning in Ultimate Frisbee, Darts, Dodgeball and Pool.
Every year at Frank Morton students put their creative skills to the test and design special t-shirts for their teams. The University of Manchester won the T-Shirt Competition this year, with their clever chemical engineering take on Ariana Grande’s smash-hit single, ‘Thank U, Next’.
The evening then continued late into the night, with entertainment to suit all tastes.
Committee President, David Miller commented:
“Frank Morton returned to Sheffield for the first time since 2003 as a smashing success. The great variety of evening entertainments were of particular note with everything from cinema, jazz, gaming and mocktails through to a bar crawl, Scott Mills, Karaoke and our very own DJ Soc. On behalf of the committee I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in ironing out the hiccups of the day, especially to our amazing Student Union.”
Of course, the special thing about Frank Morton is that it is organised by chemical engineering students, for chemical engineering students. It is a significant undertaking to balance around studying, but can be advantageous in the future in terms of boosting your CV. The students on the Sheffield Frank Morton Committee shined this year, putting on a great event for everyone to enjoy. Well done to them all:
David Miller – Committee President
Joel Kirk – ChemEngSoc Liaison
Alex Castling – Secretary
Dimitris Koutris – Treasurer
Zak Nicholls and Sophia Van Mourik – Sports Coordinators
Eve Rosser – Entertainment and Catering Coordinator
Yashodh Karunanayake – Sponsorship Coordinator
Greg Ouseley – External University Liaison
Ellie Langshaw – Transport and Logistics Coordinator
Usman Anwar – Ceremonies Coordinator:
…not forgetting the University of Sheffield Student’s Union which helped to ensure it all ran like clockwork.
Sheffield will soon be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.
Marking a year of chemical engineering achievements
What have chemical engineers been doing to advance the profession for the benefit of society in 2018? Here are just some of our highlights from the year.
It’s 5 November, and across the UK tonight sparklers will be sparkling, and bangers will be banging. Each year fireworks displays are put on to mark the fortunately unsuccessful attempt by a group of conspirators trying to demolish the Houses of Parliament.
In today’s guest blog, Tony Fishwick explores process safety and management of fireworks as part of a special issue of the Loss Prevention Bulletin, entitled Fireworks and Explosives.
Today, 1 October 2018, marks the start of Black History Month. The achievements and events of black people are being celebrated across the world throughout October.
Members of BBSTEM, a non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and presentation of black individuals working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), will be marking achievements of prominent figures in STEM – past and present – with a social media campaign. You can join in using the hashtag #BBSTEMBHM18
Chemical engineer Kayisha Payne founded BBSTEM earlier this year. Subsequently, Eniola Fujamade, who works at KBR, and Paula Nkuli, who works at Johnson Matthey, joined the team. Kayisha tells us more about their campaign and the importance of celebrating diversity in all engineering disciplines, including chemical engineering. Continue reading GUEST BLOG: Celebrating the achievements of black chemical engineers for Black History Month