July 27, 2021
AIChE SmartBrief
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Business Update
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District in northern California last week voted to require refineries to install wet gas scrubbers and reduce emissions. Chevron's Richmond plant and PBF Energy's Martinez refinery will be affected by the revised rules, which refineries and labor unions say will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, require large amounts of water and potentially lead to layoffs.
Full Story: Reuters (7/21) 
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A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine offer 88% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant, compared with 93.7% against the previously dominant Alpha variant. Two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine offer 67% protection against the Delta variant and 74.5% against the Alpha variant.
Full Story: Reuters (7/22) 
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Solutions in Recycling Precious Metals Catalysts
A trend has emerged in the petroleum and petrochemical refining industry over the years as an ever-increasing percentage of carbon is being found within alumina and silica-alumina precious metals catalysts sent in for reclaim. Read more
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Chemical Technology News
Separate research teams in Denmark and China have developed new electrocatalytic-based processes for producing pure ethylene without the need for steam cracking. The approaches use copper catalysts and may be more economical and efficient than traditional ethylene production methods.
Full Story: Chemistry World (UK) (tiered subscription model) (7/21) 
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Consultants to Chemical & Allied Industries
ACC&CE is a network of independent chemical and chemical engineering consultants with expertise spanning chemical process design, plastics/polymers, cosmetics, regulatory affairs, catalysis, combustion, photochemistry, petrochemicals, and more. Learn more and contact us.
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Energy, Sustainability & Safety
A shelter-in-place order was in effect beginning Wednesday morning after an over-pressurized tank wagon released hydroxyethyl acrylate from the Dow Chemical facility in La Porte, Texas. The order was for a half-mile radius from the facility, which is 25 miles from Houston.
Full Story: ABC News/The Associated Press (7/21) 
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Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, are working to develop a "food generator" that can turn plastic into edible protein. The technology uses engineered microbes "to take the plastic waste generated in the world and turn it into something valuable: food and fuel," said the scientists.
Full Story: Newsweek (tiered subscription model) (7/25) 
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Are You Getting Paid Fairly? Read CEP's Salary Stats
The results of the 2021 AIChE biennial salary survey reveal positive growth for the chemical engineering profession in the U.S. The median annual salary for participants of the 2021 survey is $138,500 — an almost 10% increase over the 2019 median salary.
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
Pfizer is investing $650 million in cash and $350 million in equity to commercialize a protein-degrading drug for breast cancer by Arvinas. The companies will split development costs and profits equally, Arvinas stands to gain another $1.4 billion for meeting regulatory and commercial milestones, and Pfizer will test the drug in combination with Ibrance.
Full Story: Endpoints News (free registration) (7/22) 
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Albireo Pharma's Bylvay, or odevixibat, gained the FDA's approval to treat pruritus for patients ages 3 months and older who have progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis. Approval of the oral reversible inhibitor was backed by results from two late-stage studies.
Full Story: eMPR (7/21) 
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Join #Solar21 next week
Hear from leading researchers, scientists, practitioners and more. Get inspired by new ideas, innovations and partnerships in solar energy science, engineering and engagement. Claim your virtual front row seats today!
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Education & Government Update
The EPA has brought back Section 8(d) of the Toxic Substances Control Act by mandating the submission of health and safety studies on 50 chemicals from chemical manufacturers and petroleum refiners. The chemicals that require reporting are 30 organohalogen flame retardants, requested by the CPSC, and the 20 High-Priority Substances on which the EPA is conducting risk evaluations.
Full Story: JD Supra (7/21) 
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Institute News
AIChE Director Laurencin Selected as Hoover Medalist for 2021
Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD, the University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut, will receive the 2021 Hoover Medal and present an associated lecture at the 2021 AIChE Annual Meeting, to be held Nov. 7-11 in Boston, Mass., and online Nov. 15-19. The Hoover prize celebrates the civic and humanitarian achievements of an engineer whose professional and personal endeavors have advanced the well-being of humankind. Read more.
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Virtual conference shines light on solar energy systems, Aug. 4-6
Organized by AIChE's Center for Energy Initiatives, the 3rd Solar Energy Systems Conference will be held as a virtual event Aug. 4-6. In addition to its exploration of topics including solar fuels, solar thermal power, energy storage, solar energy for industrial processing, CO2 capture and recycling, and more, the program features a roster of prominent speakers. Registration includes flexible access to program content, networking opportunities, and permanent access to proceedings. Learn more and register.
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Career Focus
DMs from the boss can stress out employees
(Chesnot/Getty Images)
Communication platforms help managers reach their employees easily through texts and other direct messages, but overuse can blur professional boundaries and make employees feel like they're on the clock 24/7, says David D'Souza of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. "Organizations and individuals both need to reflect on what that does for the balance of work and life, and be clear on reasonable expectations," D'Souza says.
Full Story: BBC (free registration) (7/20) 
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About AIChE
More than 60,000 engineers, scientists, and affiliates from 110 countries are members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). As the Global Home of Chemical Engineers, AIChE allows for the exchange of information on energy, materials, nanotechnology, sustainability, biological engineering, chemical plant safety and security, and more. Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), the flagship publication of the Institute, provides practical information on these topics and the latest technology news. Learn more at www.aiche.org or contact us.
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