What I’m Researching this Week

I recently started a part-time Research Position for AIChE Institute for Sustainability and have been keeping up with new trends in a few industries. These are a few of the articles I compiled from around the web and were indicative of future trends. Enjoy!

Toyota announces they will build “Tri-Gen” to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen from California agriculture waste. 2.35 MW of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen will be produced each day and the plant will have a hydrogen hookup for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Bio-based and Bio-degradable Poly-urethane from PMVL (poly β-methyl-δ-valerolactone) was developed by University of Minnesota. The key to making this very adaptable and recyclable is the end product is able to be recycled and recovered as the monomer which allows it to be reformed into many different molecular weights for different applications.
Europe has allowed the use of a PET competitor plastic called PEF to be collected in the PET recycling stream. PEF is bio-based and has similar PET functionality but with improved strength and gas permeability.
P&G has developed (with their spin-off company Pure Cycle Technologies) a mainly mechanical way to sort through PP recycled material to near virgin plastic qualities. There is a large demand for recycled PP in the US and this allows the expansion of recycled PP to many other applications it was unsuited for previously.

What I’m Researching this Week

I recently started a part-time Research Position for AIChE Institute for Sustainability and have been keeping up with new trends in a few industries. These are a few of the articles I compiled from around the web and were indicative of future trends. Enjoy!

Mango Materials enters Textiles

Mango Materials finds application for their methane eating bacteria in textiles.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40476430/the-shirt-of-the-future-is-made-from-polyester-thats-been-created-by-methane-eating-bacteria

 

Reducing Cow Burp Methane

Methane-blocking molecule cuts down on methane emissions from cow burps.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-29/cutting-down-on-cow-burps-to-ease-climate-change

California’s Low Carbon Definition

Plans to expand California Low Carbon Fuel Standards to jet fuel will increase incentives to develop lower carbon jet fuels.

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2017/12/01/lo-carb-at-any-speed-the-digests-2017-multi-slide-guide-to-californias-low-carbon-fuel-standard/

Trend – Electric vs gas compressors

Electric drives require less maintenance cost and, in light of regulations, cost less because they are greener.

http://www.lead-central.com/AssetManager/02427e68-6f15-4f3a-9749-d37abf613741/Documents/ABBReview/ABB-1878-WPO.pdf

Don’t Blame the Person

pills

I only spent a half an hour behind the scenes at the pharmacy but in that time, there were several “errors.” Pill bottles dropped on the floor, several people bumped into one another, too many pills were poured out of the bottle which made counting more difficult. All within an environment with already heightened stress levels. Every Pharm. Tech tried their best to correct the “errors” as they came. But, these are all products of the environment and not of the people.

Every one of the errors can be consistently avoided, and “better training” is not the answer (I’ve been told this is the root cause of many things – which is WRONG, wrong, wrong, “training” is almost never the answer). The work station where the person dropped the bottles on the floor was much too small for the task they were performing. People bumped into one another because the aisles in the Pharmacy are so tiny. And pouring too many pills was a result of rushing, a cramped workspace, and a very large bottle of pills. All making dexterity difficult.

Through all my experiences, techs and operators – the people who actually carry out the tasks, make a lot of decisions on their own in order get the job done. Even if it makes their job 10 times harder, they will figure out how to move or “deal with” the obstacle to continue working. This is a terrible work environment and things can be so much better! But the people doing the work don’t always have the perspective or, more likely, don’t have the support from management to improve anything. Management must engage with the people on the floor – hear their input and observe their problems. That is key to a better workplace.