(I.) What is to you the Chemical Engineer’s grandest adventure?

For Octave Levenspiel, the grandest adventure for chemical engineer’s involves two functional affairs: conceptualizing something novel and making it a reality. And in the last part of Levenspiel’s memorial lecture, he adds that raison d’être of chemical engineers is the last affair. Octave further adds to his argument that it is the most challenging and I, too, believe it is. Every engineering student in USC knows that “the step for zero to one belongs to GOD,” however, this may not always be the case. This is the challenge facing any chemical engineer – turning nothing into something – for the ultimate purpose, the benefit of mankind. However, the challenges are never-ending. The end of one is the beginning of another. The same goes for engineering design, once a plausible one has been constructed, efforts can still be made to further develop and enhance the design to obtain a better one. In my perspective as a chemical engineering student, chemical engineering is a growing enterprise of theoretical concepts and practical applications with the concepts added with human/ social aspect. A chemical engineer must set himself in a quest of continuous learning and that for me, is the chemical engineer’s greatest adventure. The arguments that I have presented is in conformity to what can be read in between the lines of the Octave’s speech. These can be wrapped up into two. First, the grandest adventure for chemical engineers is essentially grounded into innovation of new ideas and, second, the enhancement of these ideas and concepts to further knowledge and capabilities of different processes. (II.) What is the best option for you for each of the cases below and explain why? Elaborate if you must? a. Reactor options for liquid fuels from shale Evaluating the options, I have concluded that the best option for a reactor system for producing liquid fuel from shale is Sketch C of Slide 18. As a chemical engineer, one has to choose an option that is both technically feasible and at the same time the most economically viable and Sketch C provides several advantages. For one, it involved heat integrations that enable full recycling and utilization of the energy obtained from heating shale to heat up the fresh cold ones. Second, it uses the force of gravity (which is notes to be essentially free) to transport particles from the upper colder unit to a hotter one. One has to realize that as a designer, one has to minimize the cost of operating an equipment as much as possible. The configuration in Sketch c provides permits this as this minimizes the energy required for heating up the shale rocks (which is estimated to be very expensive) and at the same time saves up from the costs of conveying particles from one unit to another. In the theoretical aspect, the units is arranged so that the heat exchanging streams are in countercurrent configuration. This configuration facilitates the heat transfer in a more efficient manner compared to the co-current configuration. Any chemical engineer would know that countercurrent configuration maintains a large temperature difference of the hotter stream from the colder one throughout the pipe. From Newton’s Law of Cooling, the heat transfer is much faster and more efficient since the driving force of the process is the temperature difference. In this natural law, a large temperature difference would generally indicate faster heat removal.

the desired reactor system must be both technically feasible and at the same time. The equipment is subjected with different temperatures throughout the equipment which makes the designing and fabrication costs rather expensive due to the complexity of the design that will be made for this equipment. All flow streams leave at room temperature 6. b. The only problem that I have with this system is the complexity of the procedure as it requires the equipment to be upside down to perform the next cycle. these were the requirements that I also used in the determination of the reactor system to be used. In addition. No N2 leaves with the product gas 3. another concern that I have with such equipment is the controlling of the equipment. WATER and COAL 2. . This has a great effect on the energy requirement of the system since reaction conditions that is nearer to ambient conditions would generally indicate lower energy requirement for thermal heating of the system. What surprised me the most was its capability to let the reaction proceed at normal ambient conditions. As a conclusion. No tar or liquid formed 4. Using the similar argument in the previous example. Sketch C is more advantageous compared to the one in slide 19 since the solids need not be conveyed to a higher elevation just to go down a large equipment for heating. will not require the O2 plant. it provides an N2-free and tar-free gaseous product stream and at the same time. No O2 plant to be used 5. practical and easy to operate and control In assessing the options. economically viable. The system is technically viable and relatively simpler compared to other options as it only utilizes a singular equipment and it only uses a cyclic pattern. Although it may be drawn that for Octave the equipment in Slide 19 is the best design.In practical aspect. Sketch C best satisfies both the requirements mentioned earlier: technical feasibility and most economically justifiable. Octave presented ideal requirements that must be satisfied uttering that the last one is the most critical: 1. Reactor options for syngas from coal Prior to presenting the options of viable reactors that can be used for this process. (the reactor must) only use AIR. Process must be simple.

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