Mike Spear

editor at large

It’s a slow road to alternative energy

Oct. 1, 2007
Government delays force BP to pull plug on a carbon dioxide project, reports Mike Spears, editor at large, in this month's End Point column.

Diagnostics dig deeper

Aug. 20, 2007
Today’s plants come ready equipped with their own team of doctors in the shape of the many diagnostic and monitoring systems incorporated into instrumentation and other process...

New seals get their turn

July 24, 2007
As pressure rises on plants to improve productivity and equipment reliability levels, seals and gaskets are being called upon to provide even better performance. Their challenge...

Chemical makers tackle biodiesel byproduct glut

June 6, 2007
A rash of plans to produce glycol from glycerin is good news for green chemistry.

Gamma scanning seeks an inside edge

May 8, 2007
Many companies decide not to build up certain capabilities in-house mainly because they don’t have sufficient regular demand for them. Gamma scanning of distillation columns is...

What’s in the air for continuous emissions monitoring?

April 13, 2007
More attention to mercury and increased acceptance of predictive approaches is emerging. Such monitoring not only can keep plants on the right side of regulators but also can ...

Remember the basics of maintenance

March 1, 2007
Despite the “buzz” about asset management systems don’t forget the “oilers”, advises Mike Spear, in this month's End Point column.

Plants get help in boosting reliability

Feb. 26, 2007
More and more companies are placing greater emphasis on maintenance and seeking help from vendors to boost the effectiveness of their efforts, as some recent major investment ...

Energy Savings Pick up Steam

Jan. 30, 2007
More attention to steam systems and trap monitoring provides big benefits. At most chemical plants, plant management and operators face increasing pressures to improve the energy...

Where is wireless going?

Jan. 11, 2007
Increasing interest will translate into far more monitoring applications. The worldwide market for wireless technology will grow 26% annually over the next few years, forecasts...

Chemical industry sees green

Jan. 3, 2007
Developments target economics, not just environmental benefits. While pollution prevention was the original goal of green chemistry, today’s efforts promise to have a substantial...

Industry can do well by doing good

Nov. 29, 2006
Ignoring climate change could eventually damage economic growth, according to an authoritative report, says Mike Spear, editor at large, in this month's End Point column. Read...

Rise to the challenge of global legislation

Oct. 24, 2006
Despite having a parliament that regularly shuttles itself, lock, stock and ballot box, for four days each month between Brussels, Belgium, and Strasbourg, France, the European...

Industry tackles a grave issue

Oct. 24, 2006
End-of-life and other product stewardship initiatives will impact chemical plants. An agreement to lessen the environmental impact of chemicals production will have global ramifications...

Keeping safety on the right track

Aug. 17, 2006
The chemical industry has, in general, an amazingly good track record on safety. Outside of those plants, however, can be another story.

Try before you buy

July 24, 2006
There is another side to toll processing. It involves the companies that arguably have the best possible know-how and hardware — for the simple reason that they are the equipment...

Better Design Is No Pipe Dream

July 17, 2006
The benefits of using pipeline simulation tools at the piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) level, rather than running simulations just on the process flow diagram, can...

Outsourcing moves up the maintenance ladder

May 29, 2006
Outsourcing of non-core operations within a company, large or small, is now a well established corporate strategy. By entrusting services such as IT support, accounting, human...

Nanotechnology raises big concerns

May 25, 2006
Nanotechnology is grabbing headlines these days and the growing prospects of its use is spurring increasing attention to safety issues. This article examines the worldwide reaction...

Separations in flux

Feb. 15, 2006
Separation processes often account for more than 50 percent of a chemical company's operating costs. Read how membranes and other non-thermal technologies poised to win a wider...

Flow metering gets more fluid

Jan. 9, 2006
There are more and more funcationalities being added to your most trusted instrumentation. These established technologies have expand their reach and performance.

Making safety a sure thing

Nov. 27, 2005
Only experience can prove that safety systems will work when they have to.

New ideas hatch in process development

Nov. 9, 2005
Don’t expect pilot plants to disappear as better tools and techniques enhance efforts.

Today’s China Syndrome

Sept. 27, 2005
The country boasts not just booming exports but a strong desire for the best technology.

Chemical makers play the power game

Aug. 25, 2005
Chemical manufacturers are using a range of strategies to cope with rising power costs. They are relying more on pooling and cogeneration.

Drive up energy efficiency

June 16, 2005
The constant-speed approach to AC motors made a lot of sense when energy was cheap and drives technology was in its infancy. With their latest advances, adjustable speed drives...