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