Notice: Undefined index: mobile in /home/www/web/ucas-en/includes/ on line 210

Notice on “The Einstein Professorship” report

Speaker: Prof. Edward L. Cussler (University of Minnesota)

Title of Lecture: A Sustainable Chemical Industry May Imply Dispersed Manufacturing

Time: 15: 00-17:00, April 22, 2014

Venue: Lecture Room, 2nd floor of the Auditorium, Yuquanlu campus, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

About the Speaker:

Edward L. Cussler, currently Distinguished Institute Professor at the University of Minnesota, received his B.E. with honors from Yale University in 1961, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1963 and 1965, respectively, working with E. N. Lightfoot. After thirteen years teaching at Carnegie-Mellon University, Cussler joined the University of Minnesota in 1980. He has written over 240 articles and five books, including Diffusion, Bioseparations, and more recently, Chemical Product Design. Cussler has received the Colburn and Lewis Awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), for whom he served as Director, Vice President, and President. He has received the Separations Science Award from the American Chemical Society, the Merryfield Design Award from the American Society of Engineering Education, and honorary doctorate degrees from the Universities of Lund and Nancy. Cussler is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

About the lecture:

A “sustainable chemical industry” implies using renewable feeds, especially those derived from agriculture.  The ease of doing so depends on the amount of chemical produced.  For example, antibiotics like penicillin already use agricultural waste products as a feed.  The amount of antibiotic produced is tiny relative to commodity chemicals like olefins, and the transportation cost of transporting this high value-added product to market is minor.  Thus the production of antibiotics will remain centralized, as it is now.

In contrast, the production of fuels from biomass will involve huge amounts of feed and product of much less value per kilo than antibiotics.  Transportation costs of moving both feed and fuel will be major.  As a result, the production of fuels will involve many smaller plants, whose lower efficiency is balanced by lower costs of transportation.

Thus a sustainable chemical industry in the future may involve dispersed manufacture, rather than the highly centralized plants characteristic of today's industry.  This talk will discuss such a future for ammonia, the key chemical fertilizer, which can be made from air, water, and wind power.  We will describe what such a chemical plant could look like, and the advantages and debits of such dispersed manufacture.