27 May 2010

King appointed new IChemE president

Desmond King

Desmond King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, has been appointed as the 69th president of IChemE.

King succeeds Ian Shott CBE in the post and used his presidential address in London yesterday to examine the challenges and opportunities that face chemical engineers and scientists in the energy industry.

King told an audience of IChemE members and invited guests: “For those of us from the developed nations of the world, energy is easy to overlook precisely because it is so accessible. But without access to energy, society would quickly devolve back to the very basics of survival.

“For billions of people around the world, affordable energy is the lifeblood that delivers nutrition, sanitation, health, education, transportation and every other critical element of life...energy is more than just a fuel. It is the catalyst that makes modern life possible.”

King’s address, Energy, Carbon, Renewables and the Chemical Engineer, suggested how chemical engineers could play an important role in the growing renewables sector and discussed the significance of energy efficiency as global energy demands increase: “For energy efficiency and renewables to reach the scale required to make a difference it will require a lot of people to work together. And it all starts with entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers – including chemical engineers – to come up with the great ideas and the technical breakthroughs.

“But those ideas and breakthroughs aren’t enough. Investors must provide capital to help take these ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. Governments also have a role to play. They must develop sound public policy, encourage and enable basic research, and ensure a business environment in which the market determines winners and losers. Society needs to appreciate that it will take a lot of time and development for renewables to reach the scale to be a significant contributor to the energy mix.

“Finally, it will take industry to demonstrate emerging technologies and deploy them at scale. Delivering massive amounts of electrons and molecules to a global marketplace reliably and affordably will require organizations with experience, expertise, infrastructure, and capital. And that’s true regardless of their origin of the electrons – be they from natural gas, wind, or solar. Or of the molecules, be they from oil or biomass,” said King.

King, who holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Cambridge University, UK and a Bachelor’s degree from Imperial College, was a chemical engineering college professor for two years before joining Chevron in 1981.

At Chevron he worked his way up from process researcher via refinery management positions to key roles in technology marketing and to head of corporate strategic planning. Previous roles include general manager at Chevron’s Pembroke refinery in Wales and ceo of Caltex Australia.

King also spoke about his vision for IChemE during his presidential term: “My goal as IChemE president for the coming year is to ensure that the Institution continues to inspire, promote and sustain the development of chemical, biochemical and process engineering, its practical applications and the profession, for the benefit of all members. There are a lot of challenges out there waiting for us.”

IChemE ceo, David Brown said that he’s looking forward to the year ahead: “Des brings a wealth of experience to IChemE. He’s worked in and with academia, and has held a succession of senior industry positions all over the world – proof of the great career that a chemical engineering background can offer. Des is also dedicated to the profession, and committed to IChemE’s success.”

2010 Presidential Address

Energy, Carbon, Renewables and the Chemical Engineer  

Notes to Editors

  1. For further media information, interviews or supporting photography please contact:

    Matt Stalker, Communications Manager, IChemE
    tel: +44 (0)1788 534455 / +44 (0)7802 834459
    email: mstalker@icheme.org

  2. About chemical engineers

    Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths and economics to the process of turning raw materials into everyday products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.

  3. About IChemE

    IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) is the hub for chemical, biochemical and process engineering professionals worldwide. With a growing global membership of some 30,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society, encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. For more information, visit www.icheme.org

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).