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Changing times present different opportunities

By Chemical Engineering |

Like it or not, 2009 will go down as a year when massive structural change began in the chemicals business. We are far from feeling the full effects of the upheaval, but there is a sense of revolution in the air that will cause lasting change for chemical engineers everywhere. Historically, the financial crisis, and the global recession that followed it, will be seen as accelerators of changes that were already waiting to happen. In 2009 the world realized that China and India were in the driver’s seat for determining the rate of future economic growth. It was the year that the Middle East saw the true dawn of its predominance in petrochemical production based on low-cost feedstock, and South America began to rise in industrial prominence. It was also the year when North Americans and Europeans realized that only game-changing innovation — especially in the fuels and energy sectors — was the route to lasting success for the future. Hopefully, it was not the year that protectionism started to gain a foothold. But there are signs that governments will try to protect their domestic industries and their populations by employing covert protectionism, dressed up as environmental legislation to manipulate markets. In…
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