Chemical engineering industry transition towards sustainability

Hasna, Abdallah M. (2009) Chemical engineering industry transition towards sustainability. In: SSEE 2009: Solutions for a Sustainable Planet, 22-24 Nov 2009, Melbourne, Australia.

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The past decade has seen vast changes in both chemical industry and chemical engineering profession for example what was once a vibrant industry in some countries are now mere memories of yesteryears. Similarly the current chemical engineering workforce is undergoing many challenges that have affected the sector from pollution control, CO2, NOx SOx emissions to labour shortages to an economic downturn. So what are the Implications for chemical engineering? Why has it lost its shine? Will chemical engineering become a seasonal profession, at the mercy of commodity prices? Can Chemical Engineering afford to live in isolation, and must it consider interactions amongst industrial processes, human and ecological systems. At the present rates, i.e. lack of skilled labour and dwindling interest from students studying degree level (or above) presents the biggest challenge for chemical engineering. This article investigates the nature of transition required to assist chemical engineering towards sustainability. The purpose of this study is to assist the chemical 'industry' in defining the transition by developing awareness, knowledge, and ability to minimize the environmental impact of the chemical manufacturing processes towards sustainability. We argue that the chemical engineering profession is uniquely placed to support in sustainability and the industry and professionals need to move away from the present philosophy of optimizing the existing process to a new generation of novel processes that would eventually lead to more equity in prosperity and stable economical situations worldwide. It remains to be seen whether these old-established 'invisible' barriers will be overcome in the future or the professional formation of a contemporary chemical engineer will remain halfway between paradigms of technocracy with this mind set. For this reason sustainability in chemical engineering was once confined to research needs however now it is to be the 'new frontiers'.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2010 00:51
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2014 01:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: chemical engineering; industry; transition; sustainability
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0904 Chemical Engineering > 090499 Chemical Engineering not elsewhere classified
03 Chemical Sciences > 0305 Organic Chemistry > 030502 Natural Products Chemistry
09 Engineering > 0904 Chemical Engineering > 090401 Carbon Capture Engineering (excl. Sequestration)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering

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