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Chemical Engineer's Role in the American Economy

  • 1.  Chemical Engineer's Role in the American Economy

    2017 35 Under 35 Winner
    Posted 01-23-2018 17:13
    What is the chemical engineer's role in building the American economy and what will be your contribution?

    Christina Borgese
    VP of Development
    San Ramon CA

  • 2.  RE: Chemical Engineer's Role in the American Economy

    Posted 01-24-2018 08:47
    ChE's have an excellent basis in mass - energy balances which should allow us to contribute in the area of process and energy optimization.  Particularly in the developed economies, total energy demand is flat, there is strong demand for improved economics and there are still great opportunities to do more with less.  My interest is in on-site energy and combined heat and power.  By integrated the electrical supply/demand with on-site process loads/generation the total integrated energy usage can be reduced and applied better.   These methods tend to be more custom so they don't get the political support of simplier (Solar PV, wind, battery storage) but in most cases add much more value and their real costs are lower.  Just as importantly, the environmental impacts are just as significant as any energy that is not used does not pollute.

    Gary Hilberg PE
    Continuum Energy
    Cypress TX

  • 3.  RE: Chemical Engineer's Role in the American Economy

    Posted 01-24-2018 14:04
    Big question, Christina....I always have thought that what differentiates a chemical engineer from a pure scientist is that 'no matter what scale they are working at' a chemical engineer never forgets that they have to make or produce something useful in the real world on a large scale and in a reproducible manner efficiently at an affordable price.

    Joseph Cramer PhD,PE,Fellowof
    Director Emeritus, Program Development
    Independent Consultant
    Hendersonville NC

  • 4.  RE: Chemical Engineer's Role in the American Economy

    Posted 01-25-2018 08:50
    Let me count the ways.........  one example.......the polyethylene terephthalate  (PET) "cycle of life."    Jobs at the plants that make the raw materials for the polymerization.  Jobs at the plants that make the large quantities of heat transfer fluids needed to drive the reaction.  Jobs at the PET bottle polymer plants.  Jobs in distribution of the bottle tubes to bottlers who then blow the bottles.  PET, I believe, is the most widely recycled plastic due to the low energy required to deconstruct the polymer into it's two monomers.   Non-virgin PET is then made (more jobs) and used to make things like men's T-shirts (Jobs) and even the fabric on your sofa.  (Jobs at the furniture plant.)

    John "Mufasa" Sharland

    John Sharland PE,FSFPE
    Bridgewater MA