Chemical Processing Readers Sound Off

Letters to the Editor discuss gas engines, the environment and ethics.

Gas Engines Shouldn’t Consume Too Much Oil

In regards to the August 2016 article “Consider Gas Engines,” I offer the following clarifications about these helpful devices:

The basic technologies for engines are, first, the more familiar spark ignited where the fuel mix is introduced into the cylinder, and when it’s fully compressed at the top of the piston stroke it’s ignited to initiate combustion. Common fuels for this process are gasoline and gaseous fuels (natural gas and propane). Natural gas can be supplied directly from the pipeline at moderate pressures or as CNG (compressed natural gas) or LNG (liquid natural gas) — both of which are reduced to the lower pressure before being introduced into the engine.

The second engine is the compression ignited where the air in the cylinder is compressed to a much greater degree and from the heat generated when fuel is injected as the piston reaches the top of the cylinder it promptly self ignites. The primary fuel for this of course is diesel.

A common dual fuel engine would be of the basic compression ignition type, relying on the compression ignition process, with some additional blending of the gasoline or gaseous fuels as an additional beneficial source of energy.

To be effective, these engines will actually operate over several-thousand rpm range.

As the basic mechanical configuration of the engines is the same, it’s difficult to conceive a gas engine consuming more oil if its operating conditions are properly occurring.

Finally, for those entrusted with ensuring operation and longevity, the current oils — and the new ones coming along in several months, are blended so as not to harm the catalytic converters that might be used.

John Fischer, engine consultant
Palatine, Illinois

In Response

First of all, I appreciate John Fischer’s letter; I understand John’s point that “it’s difficult to conceive of a gas engine consuming more oil if it’s operating conditions are properly occurring.” In fact, what was explained in the article was “gas engines can burn large quantities of oil during operation if operating conditions are not properly occurring.” After the examples/reports noted for gas engines burning large quantities of oil, the article clearly mentioned that “many gas engines should consume oil at less than 5% of this rate” which means that for noted engines “operating conditions were not properly occurring.”

Again, I appreciate John Fischer and Chemical Processing’s editors for this opportunity to further discuss “these helpful devices,” as John says.

Amin Almasi, principal machinery consultant
Sydney, Australia

Do More For The Environment

I enjoy reading Chemical Processing, and found Mark Rosenzweig’s piece on greenhouse gas reduction interesting (see the August issue: “Business Efforts Bolster Climate Accord.”). I didn’t even know outfits like We Mean Business or the CDP existed. You never hear anything about these organizations.

Looking up these websites, I can clearly see they do have some big names onboard, such as Microsoft. But I couldn’t help but also notice not a single fossil-fuel corporation was on board. And while I can see why that is, I have to wonder how that’s going to work with congress. It’s hard to imagine the likes of some senators and congressmen ever backing climate change legislation.

My feelings are that we, as a nation, should be doing more about our own pollution — especially with regards to burning fossil fuels. It honestly is a no-brainer that we are causing great harm. Yet, that is just me. I know I carry little sway with anyone in Washington.

So do you honestly think outfits such as We Mean Business and CDP can change the tone of the discussions in Washington?

Randy Juras, retired development engineer
Goss International

AIChE Takes Ethics Seriously

The editorial, “You Must Blow the Whistle!” first, misrepresented the strength of AIChE’s commitment to whistle-blowing in its Code of Ethics by replacing the Code’s use of the word “shall” with “should.” This is a substantial difference that undercuts the key point of your editorial. The intent of the use of “shall” in AIChE’s Code was to mean “must.” However, in light of your misinterpretation, AIChE will consider changing the language in its code to ensure that the language is consistent with the intent and the mandate is clear and unambiguous.

Second, the timing of your editorial is unfortunate, since it coincides with the onset of discussions between AIChE and IChemE on a number of matters, including ethics.

Third, for AIChE’s part, I would point out that, over the last 25 years, we have been supplementing our Code of Ethics with other codes and guidance. Last year, we launched a Code of Conduct for participants in our events. For years, we have offered ethical guidelines for those who publish in our journals, magazines and books. The members of AIChE’s Board of Directors and all members of the AIChE staff must annually affirm compliance with a strict Conflict of Interest policy. And, of course, the work that our Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) has done with its series of world-renowned safety guidelines, often referenced in legislation and regulation; CCPS’s efforts to vastly improve training of undergraduates in process safety are other demonstrations of AIChE’s deep ethical commitment. In fact, AIChE has often been acknowledged as a leader in ethics among engineering and scientific societies. That’s why AIChE’s Society for Biological Engineering has been selected, along with the American Physiological Society and the Biomedical Engineering Society, by the U.S. National Science Foundation to develop ethical guidance and training for publishing in the life sciences, where new advances require consideration not just of traditional publishing concerns, such as plagiarism and data integrity, but also of issues such as animal testing.

I want readers of Chemical Processing and all chemical engineers to be assured that AIChE remains vigilant and at the forefront of efforts to assure the highest ethical practice of chemical engineering and ethical conduct in safeguarding our coworkers, our communities, and all of society.

Gregory Stephanopoulos, president
American Institute of Chemical Engineers

In Response

The editorial did not question that AIChE takes ethics seriously. Rather, it pointed out the Institute has the opportunity  to do even more by emulating the action taken by IChemE.

You are right — I should have said “shall” instead of “should.” However, that doesn’t alter the main point — namely, that while AIChE says members shall advise their employers and clients, it doesn't require members to do more than “consider further disclosure.” So, if a member does consider disclosing an act that may harm public wellbeing but decides not to reveal it to others beyond the person’s employer and client after such consideration, the member has complied with AIChE’s code. IChemE now requires such wider disclosure as well as support of a member who reveals such an issue. That’s an important difference.

Mark Rosenzweig, editor-in-chief
Chemical Processing

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  • I want to compliment AIChE in their efforts to set a standard for ethical behavior. I checked the internet and read through their presentations. Setting a standard is a fine thing but your efforts stop there. AIChE should establish guidelines that include what the whistleblower can do once ethical transgression has occurred. It should go further. There should be instructions on who to contact and how. What not to do. And, especially, how to protect the whistleblower from retribution. How to avoid being ensnared in the various HR traps companies use to justify firing whistleblowers. Lastly, the AIChE should help the whistleblower put this unfortunate situation behind him/her.

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