WBF, the organization formerly known as World Batch Forum and the B2MML and BatchML developers, is meeting in Austin, Texas. Dr. Thomas Edgar, a professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas, just finished his opening keynote address. He surveyed the area of energy–usage, production, resources and control. A couple of key points. First, he looked at why discussions of energy technology are confusing. Not only are there many ways of talking about it (differing units of measure, for example), but few understand it in detail, there are no undergraduate requirements in engineering to study it, journalists apply “sound-bite” journalism to discuss it, and even if they wrote long articles, no one would read it.
He concluded that once we had a saving economy, now we have a consumption economy. “We need to develop a culture of personal responsibility (vs. personal freedom) for energy consumption in the US,” he noted. Other actions he challenged the 70 or so assembled automation engineers with included getting engineering departments to increase the energy IQ of engineering graduates, encourage the chemical industry to use renewable energy sources and encourage engineers to contribute to energy technology.