Thursday, July 30, 2009

Runway Reaction

Runaway reaction happens in a reactor most of the time if proper handling not considered during handling chemicals, operating plant, abrupt climate change, etc. This runaway reaction can be categorized as two runaway reactions; marginal and non-marginal. This is because of the allowable margin during design to allow some operating envelope fluctuation. This fluctuation to the operation might because of the abrupt climate change during monsoon season. Besides, upstream unit operation also can cause some fluctuation to downstream and eventually causing runaway reaction.

Marginal runaway reaction is expected to happen during normal operation and can be adjusted or corrected by applying relieving system. This marginal runaway reaction some time might cause unwanted incident but still in tolerable limit. However, there is a case whereby the incident caused to fatality due to some leakage and sudden pressure relief and cause explosion. This is not only happening for the new cases or process technology but even repeating incidents keep on happening from time to time.

There is non-marginal runaway reaction whereby the runaway reaction happens due to negligence of the operators, supervisors, engineers, and up to plant general manager. This is because of the discipline in following the procedures available in plant are not fully complied when operating the plant. This is eventually can cause to the runaway reaction which ends up with losses of dollars and brings to fatality. This kind of accident is not only releasing the hydrocarbons to atmosphere but explosion which made a vessel like a rocket shooting up to the sky. So, all the procedures which are available in plant must be followed even it sounds tedious procedures eventually can give big impact to the plant quality.

So, as time go on, technology also developed and there are chances to repeat the similar mistakes that happened before for different technologies. People might say that it’s very hard to stop the accident from happen but actually all these accidents caused by runaway reaction can be reduced which by reducing human error. This human error can be reduced by practicing the quality management of the plant operational. This is can be done by emphasizing the use of operating procedures with systematic by really follow the work flow given in organization chart. Besides, the authority delegation also must be looked into seriously to avoid any careless mistakes such as signing off permits without checking it properly. It’s again depending upon attitude of the personnel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Competitive World

Everyone are competing to be the best and the first in supplying goods, equipments, services, consultancies, etc. In this competitiveness, the end user is the one will benefit. Everyone is competing everywhere in getting job and satisfy the customer. Even not going into detail engineering world, competitiveness can be seen in retail industry where the products are high demand if economical and quality. So, from this competitiveness, grow the innovation where the research is being done to improve the quality compared to existing technology.

Starting from small items such as chemicals for treating until very proprietary processes, there are very huge competitions to get the customer. Those days, it’s very hard to get any licensor for any particular niche technology but today the similar process technology with innovated technology can be found anywhere. Again the customer will get the benefit in getting the best product in market.

Sometimes the customer or the plant owner needs to perform study properly so that the ultimate objective can be achieved. This is basically to avoid any losses to the production as highlighted in previous article which caused losses of diesel due to jellying.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Alternative Energy

Everyday people in every corner in the world are talking about alternative energy or renewable energy. This is not something that people not realize of it but more viability of develop it. This is because of the current situation with availability of fossil fuel, every one chasing to produce oil and gas. The demand also increases as the oil and gas not only used for fuel purpose but also for other derivative products from these oil and gas. All these derivative products are being used everywhere starting from small baby to variation of age of people. We might not really realize on this if not really dealing with petrochemicals where all these oil and gas based products are produced.

Demand for fuel is keep on increasing from time to time, country to country, etc. This is because of the world circumstances where everyone all over the world is utilizing the fuel. We might see in last 15 years, all Chinese in China are using bicycle to move around and very few using cars or bikes. In those days, America is the largest importer and user of oil compared to other region. Recently, off shoring of job is being practiced everywhere to cheaper place. From there everyone starts realizing the important of urbanization and higher living style. Nowadays everyone competing to reach the highest living style which give better lifestyle and sometime not necessarily. So, as the demand increases from time to time and the source is kept on depleting, there must be something to be done to cater energy demand in future.

As the demand increases, everyone is talking about alternative or renewable energy. Sometimes is not really works if the big player such as Shell, Exxon, PETRONAS, Chevron, etc really keen to invent in this alternative energy. However, it can be seen that some of the country still using some of alternative energy for very minor application. Alternative energy like wood, animal dunk, wastes, etc are still being used but not really in commercial scale. For example in India, people quite often use animal dunk as a fuel for many applications.

So, it’s again depending upon the initiative taken by anybody to fully utilize the sources. The direct gas such flaring always has been an issue to come out with zero flaring. However, this is something that very subjective to the law. This is because of the viability of the process with current sources. So, the only way is that by enforcing the law to the operating company to come out zero flaring. For time being this initiative is only considered to produce money rather than comply with obligation of zero flaring. Same goes to waste management in landfill whereby the methane produced is simply flared or vented to atmosphere. This can be monetized if waste management company willing to take initiative to use it as fuel source.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chartered Engineers

There was question raised in previous article on BEM and IEM regarding the necessity of registering with BEM and/or IEM if registered with some other body such IChemE, AMechE, SPE, etc. Again as an engineer must realize that they are not really professional engineer if there are chartered respective disciplines.

By right it is a regulatory mandatory with Board of Engineers, Malaysia (BEM) if practicing engineering and wants to be certified as professional engineer. In the mean time, engineers can practice parallel to be certified as chartered respective discipline engineer too.

Currently there is no enforcement yet on registering with BEM in Malaysia but as a preparation for facing new challenge as a develop country we as an engineer need to be qualified not only by degree but also acknowledged by regulatory body such as BEM.