In America, there is an urgent need to graduate more students in the engineering profession, which offers opportunities for various high tech industry jobs. This is particularly true for chemical engineers, whose skills have historically been responsible for developing world class chemical and energy industries. Challenges and opportunities have never been greater, as world trends in the areas of energy, demographics, material sciences, sustainability and the environment create needs for new products and solutions. Other countries, such as China, are rapidly increasing the number of graduating chemical engineers, many of whom enter careers in industrial chemistry. More and more innovations in this field are coming from countries other than the U.S.
The American manufacturing economy has over the last decades been largely supplanted by a service economy. The manufacture of many products has strongly shifted to parts of the developing world, as these countries industrialize, often with the advantage of inexpensive labor and abundant, low cost raw materials. There is a need for America to revitalize its manufacturing economy. The development and commercialization of new industry sectors serving the new world trends will require a large number of chemical engineers. A key objective for this blog is to bring to the attention of students the excitement of working in the field of industrial chemicals and energy. A second objective is to track interesting development in these fields and to initiate a dialog on industry trends and the revival of our domestic manufacturing economy.
In the developed world, the chemical industry and other heavy industries are unfortunately losing appeal to science-oriented students, who tend to consider these as “smokestack” industries, part of these countries’ industrial history, with few new challenges. The latter statement is far from the truth, considering the rapidly changing world we are living in. It is difficult for students to visualize their role in taking the current industries to new heights. There is a need to portray the excitement of industrial chemistry, meaning the practical application of thermodynamics, physical chemistry and unit operations, in actual manufacturing plants.
This blog will therefore have the objective of presenting the chemical engineering profession in the favorable light it deserves. Challenges and opportunities for chemical engineers will be discussed in terms of both existing and new technologies, generally tied to America’s need to reverse the slide in manufacturing capability with dramatic macrotrends providing the incentive.
Bright, science-oriented students can choose careers in many other fields, including finance, law and consulting, which offer lucrative employment opportunities. But a career in chemical engineering can likewise lead to high compensation as graduates rise through the ranks of management while contributing to the rebirth of American supremacy in innovation and manufacturing.