Earth Day 2012 – What Role Do Engineers Play?

An image of hands holding EarthWhat better day to talk about the role that engineers can play in contributing to environmental concerns worldwide than Earth Day. Earth Day started as a movement founded in 1970, by then the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. According to Wikipedia, he was “Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.”  Continue reading

Durability and Reliability for Sea-Floor Oil and Gas Processing Equipment

Developing more efficient water processing units for oil and gas production is becoming an industry focus. Water occurs naturally within oil and gas reserves and can also be introduced as part of enhanced oil and gas recovery process. The water involved in oil and gas production is called produced water and is an undesired by-product in that industry. Both onshore and offshore produced water requires large amounts of pumping energy and the costs for water management and disposal are rising.  The problem is greatest for old wells and for offshore production. Exciting new technologies are being developed to address these issues and engineering simulation can help.

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Simulation and Engineering: State of the Art?

In conversations with work colleagues, we often discuss and debate the question, “What constitutes a state-of-the-art simulation tool?” Having worked in the simulation world for 25 years, I say that the time for a “state-of-the-art simulation tool” has passed. I now answer anyone who asks me, “It is not a tool that represents the state of the art but, rather, a methodology.”

There are many tools that simulate various things, and many of them are quite good. For example, I am firmly convinced that ANSYS HFSS represents the gold standard of 3-D computational electromagnetic simulation tools. However, this is simply one tool in a bag of tools used by engineers; individual tools by themselves do not represent the state of  the art in simulation.

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The State of Industrial Flares

This week, I attended the American Flame Research Committee’s Combustion Symposium in Houston where I presented a paper on radiation modeling.

Most of the papers presented were about industrial flares. If you live near a process plant, you must have seen these large stacks reaching into the clear blue sky. At the end of these stacks are large flames that can be seen from a distance. For most urban area residents, these flares create a concern about public health and safety especially if there is some black smoke as well in the fireball.

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