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The Chemical Engineer's Role in Economic Recovery
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Chemical engineers must lead industry to a clearer view of the thermodynamic potential of existing plants and more realistic expectations for emerging new technologies. The events of recent years have served to remind us of the finite limits of the world's resources. In particular, the tenfold increase in crude oil prices over an eight-year period caused a considerable upset in the progress of the world's economy. Predictions of an energy shortage had been made for so long that industrial and government planners had grown deaf to the warning. When the change came so abruptly in 1973, it required an almost total shift in direction for some industries, such as automobile manufacturing and oil refining. We are now starting to see the response of the free market to the higher world crude oil prices combined with the long overdue deregulation of U.S. oil. The fall in the demand for crude oil has resulted in an oversupply of crude and in, at least, a temporary easing of the prices. If trends continue, there should be a welcome period of consolidation, where the rise in oil prices does not outstrip the general upward trend of commodity prices.
Felch, D. E.; Stine, L. O.; Vickers, A. G. (1984). The Chemical Engineer's Role in Economic Recovery. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from