Visualizing the industry

I’ve talked to a number of university and high school science and chemistry teachers  to find out to what extent students with an interest in chemical engineering get exposed to actual industrial plants. It has always seemed to me that if students considering a possible career in industrial chemistry could visit a petrochemical plant,  an oil refinery or a plant making synthetic ammonia and NPK fertilizers they would get excited about considering this profession. Unfortunately, it is a rare student who visits a plant, according to the people I talked to. Soooo…..I decided to provide a sort of virtual tour on this blog after looking at what is actually available on Youtube.

Before getting to that, I want to provide a link to some very good information on many of the activities of engineers who work in this field. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) published an excellent brochure “Chemical Engineers in Action. Innovation at Work” available on the web, which makes good reading. There are articles dealing with energy, materials, biotechnology, electronics, etc. I was particularly struck by the article “Chemical Engineers and Energy” which covers the basic refining and cracking technologies and then goes on to discuss engineering aspects of various synthetic fuels processes, hydrogen and fuel cells, renewable feedstocks and solar energy.

But now, let’s look at a young engineer involved in oil and gas exploration

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c76G7FtMWhs&feature=related

Here is a video taken at Shell Chemical’s cracker complex in Singapore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMpW5bnqx24&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLB1628E97BB2E5234

And finally a virtual visit, in slide form, to a fertilizer plant in Florida.

I think these presentations convey the excitement that I have always felt when engaged in projects in these industries. It’s not as good as being there, but you get the feeling!

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This entry was posted in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Industry, Energy Industry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Visualizing the industry

  1. Joe Porcelli says:

    Pete – I think you are performing a great service to chemical engineering students. The MetroNY section of AIChE, of which I’m the Program Chair, tries to reach out to students and teachers to raise their awareness. I’m gong to forward the address of your blog to a- number of our members. Thank you.

    Joe

    • Peter Spitz says:

      Thanks, Joe. Your getting the message on the blog out to AIChE sections is great! I have already had one post modified and shown on the AIChE blog “Chenected” and the one you refer to will also be posted there in a modified form. The Chemweek blog and that of Chemical Heritage Foundation are also doing this.
      Last evening I attended the dinner given by the NY Academy of Sciences at #7 World Trade Center which marked the end of the International Year of Chemistry. There were about 30 invited students from colleges and universities in the NY area as a result of sponsorship by Dow, Cytec and other organizations. A number of professors from schools such as Colukmbia, Cooper Union, Fordham and Princeton were there as well.

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