Luzon Chapters

PIChE Bataan Chapter (June 2021)
Web•Chem Career Orientation Webinar Series Episode 2: Polyethylene Production Process
By Engr. Mark Vincent C. Espinosa

On the second episode of the career orientation webinar series for high school and chemical engineering students last November 21, 2020, Engr. Silayan Cajucom, Operations Manager at NPC Alliance Corporation (formerly Bataan Polyethylene Corporation) and an M.S.Ch.E. candidate, provided an introduction to polyethylene production process. The webinar was supposed to stream on November 14 but was rescheduled due to the destruction brought by the typhoons and to give time for the affected areas to partially recover.

A total of 167 participants comprised of high school and chemical engineering students and professionals have attended the webinar via Zoom Communications, Inc. and Facebook Live. Aspiring chemical engineers from other parts of the world have also joined the virtual event. The webinar was moderated by Engr. Bianca Jamila Ludovice.

Attendees with highest scores on the short quiz thereafter have received special items courtesy of PIChE Bataan. The webinar received a very satisfactory response from the attendees with overall rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Should you have any suggested topics or if you are interested on being a resource speaker for the succeeding career orientation webinar episodes, kindly reach us via Web•Chem Facebook Page, PIChE Bataan Facebook Page, or e-mail us at: or

PIChE Bataan Chapter (June 2021)
PRC License Renewal Assistance
By Engr. Chinn Mei M. Chan

The Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers – Bataan Chapter (PIChE-BC) launched its regular PRC License Renewal Assistance Program on November 13 to December 9, 2020. The assistance was open to all professionals among PIChE-BC members and non-PIChE-BC Members residing within Bataan. Aside from license renewal, the program also catered applications for Certification of Rating, duplicate PRC IDs,  and change of entries.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a mobile service site at Petron Bataan Refinery was not pursued in observance of limited person-to-person contact and minimum health protocols. Nevertheless, PIChE-BC remained committed in assisting its members and adapted to a modified scheme of renewal application without mobile PRC services.The modified process involved the applicants setting an online appointment via PRC LERIS website wherein available slots from November 2020 to January 2021 at any office was accepted. Afterwhich, applicants settled fees through online payment and downloaded the application form. The form and other requirements (such as photocopy of the PRC ID or government-issued ID, authorization letter, and original and photocopied CPD certificates), whether hardcopy or softcopy, were collected and checked by PIChE-BC.

On December 12, 2020, PIChE-BC President Ralph Edrean B. Omadto, Secretary Chinn Mei M. Chan, and Socio-Civic Committee Chairman Karl Sebastien Conos met with PRC Region III Officers at Balanga, Bataan to personally submit license renewal documents and other applications. PRC Region III immediately verified the completeness of documents during the meeting and identified a few requirements which needed changes or resubmission. The short meeting ended with PIChE-BC’s pledge that requirements for resubmission will be completed immediately and PRC Region III’s assurance that printing of renewed PRC IDs will be completed within December 2020. On January 8, 2021, PIChE-BC claimed printed IDs from PRC and distributed it to the members.

The number of received applications were fifty (50) license renewals, two (2) PRC ID duplicates, two (2) Certifications of Rating, and four (4) changes of entry/name. An assistance fee amounting to PhP 150 was also charged from non-PIChE-BC members and was allocated for PIChE-BC Send a Kid to School Program.

PIChE Laguna Chapter (June 2021)
Sustainability in Cleaning & Sanitation: Reflections from a Chemical Engineer’s 48-Year Career
By Engr. Romeo Apolega

What comes to your mind when you hear the words “cleaning” and “sanitation”? For many perhaps not the ideal career choice for chemical engineers. Yet while some may not fully appreciate this sector, the truth is that chemical engineering is at the heart of this industry. Having built my career in the cleaning & sanitation industry over the last 48 years, I have seen chemical engineers behind the industry’s research & development, processes, operations, and growth, ensuring that the products and services consumers experience are safe. At the same time, chemical engineers in cleaning & sanitation are now assuming a greater role and responsibility for society: the pursuit of sustainability.

First, let me tell you why cleaning & sanitation are important. I define cleaning as the process of removing unwanted material from any type of surface. Everyone needs to clean, but there are dozens of ways to do this, depending on factors such as the user, product, and industry.

Cleaning’s complexity and importance are very pronounced in food production. Canned products are manufactured to the strictest sanitation standards, otherwise, bacterial growth will result in swollen cans (and angry retailers and customers). The P70-billion sugar industry always faces the threat of spoilage bacteria, like Leuconostoc. Meanwhile, the delectable ice cream and soft drink, during production, make use of various tanks and pipes that are complex to disassemble and clean. Thus, CIP (cleaning in place) uses principles such as flow (laminar and turbulent) and kinetic energy to effectively clean and sanitize tanks and pipes, ready for another batch of production. 

In 1973, I entered the cleaning & sanitation industry through BASF, which then was providing cleaning products to hotels and restaurants. I saw the application of chemical engineering knowledge across the cleaning & sanitation sector, whether one was in the U.S., Argentina, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia where I trained. In the modern laundering sector alone, the applications of steam production, steam usage, drying, evaporation, absorption, and refrigeration are used on a daily basis.

If chemical engineers lead in the design and operation of various manufacturing, production, and chemical processes, they are also rightfully involved in cleaning and sanitation as part of good manufacturing practices. Today, with the emergence of sustainability, the chemical engineer’s role has grown in importance and potential. Every industry today is called upon to think beyond profits and consider the impact of what we do on the environment, the economy, and society. The technical knowledge and experience of chemical engineers are key to ensuring that the cleaning & sanitation industry follows the path of sustainability without compromising the safety of the consuming public.

Resource efficiency is one step towards a sustainable industry. By maximizing our inputs and designing better ingredients and processes, we reduce waste and carbon footprint and make a more efficient process, contributing significantly to sustainability. For instance, the formation of scales inside pipes increases the amount of energy needed to complete a process. Effective CIP breaks down scales and conserves energy and time. There are also new ingredients in CIP, such as de-ionized or soft water, that are proving to be more environmentally friendly. 

While small savings might seem irrelevant, imagine their application in, say, the hotel laundry service sector, which needs to wash as much as 1,500 metric tons of linen daily. Furthermore, imagine if we could save the amount of food wasted by microbial spoilage (said to be 25% of food produced globally). Sustainability presents chemical engineers with a vast field of scientific, technological, economic, and also professional opportunities, all within one of the most underrated industries around.

Now, let me ask again: What do you think will come to mind when you next hear, “cleaning and sanitation”?

Sources: Sugar Regulatory Administration

Iulietto, Maria et al (2015) “Meat Spoilage: A Critical Review of a Neglected Alteration Due to Ropy Slime Producing Bacteria”

Stoica, Maricica & Galanakis, Charis (2018) “Sustainable sanitation in the food industry”

PIChE Bataan Chapter (May 2021)
Sulfur Plant Operations: Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Petroleum Refining
By Engr. Jared Philip Condez

In addition to the numerous CPD-accredited activities of PIChE-BC, the chapter held a Zoom live-streaming technical seminar last Dec 5, 2020 discussing the processes involved in a sulfur recovery unit (SRU). The webinar entitled “Sulfur Plant Operations: Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Petroleum Refining” was discussed by Engr. Noel Vicente, process engineer from Black and Veatch.

Under the Clean Air Act, it is necessary for industrial off-gas process streams to meet SOx emission standards. Hence, sulfur containing compounds must be removed from acid gas streams (has high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, H2S) and transformed into elemental sulfur which can be sold for use in acid/fertilizer manufacturing.

This was the heart of the discussion which was divided into four major sections delving into the processes, operations, and chemistries behind the units handling toxic gases & sulfur compounds in petroleum refineries and other related companies. The first part described the feed of the SRU – sulfur-containing gas – called acid or sour gas. As these gases are fed into the SRU, a series of chemical reactions recover sulfur from H2S.

Engr. Noel also furthered how sulfur recovery was increased by the reaction process as well as the different designs currently utilized by other refineries. The product streams/effluent gases from the Claus reaction are called the “tail gas”. Usually, this still has residual sulfur compounds and thus are directed to the tail gas treating units to ensure remarkably high sulfur recovery efficiencies.

Around 300 chemical engineering participants joined the event earning them 2 CPD points. Moreover, a recorded video of the webinar was also provided via email to those who registered.

PIChE Bataan Chapter (May 2021)
PIChE-BC Virtual Christmas Sweater Party
By Engr. Jan Tomnick Martin

Filipinos kept on finding new ways of celebrating Christmas due to disruption (suspension maybe a better word) in festivities brought by coronavirus-related restrictions. Most of the provinces in the Philippines, including Bataan, remained under community quarantine until the end 2020. Last December, while decorations had been up, Christmas parties and large family gatherings were not allowed in the country that has the world’s longest holiday season and normally starts the Christmas countdown as early as September.

Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) – Bataan Chapter has found an ally in today’s modern communications technology, allowing each member to see each other face-to-face without the danger of virus transmission. Last December 22, 2020, PIChE – BC celebrated its first ever Virtual Christmas Party via Zoom. It was a fun filled get-together with lots of raffle prizes, games and surprises.

The event was started by Engr. Nathaniel R. Orillos, ASEAN Engr. (PIChE – Bataan Chapter Adviser) by welcoming all the attendees of PIChE BC’s Christmas Sweater Party. Recognizing all the achievements of the organization despite the challenges brought about by natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic, he also expressed how proud he is of becoming a member and adviser of the three-time most outstanding PIChE chapter. It was then followed by an introductory message from Engr. Maricris C. Vines, ASEAN Engr. (PIChE President), to formally open the online event.

Exciting major plus minor prizes were given during the event through PIChE – BC’s raffle fund-raising activity. This was made possible through the support of our Sponsors in sustaining the chapter’s socio-civic programs: Scholarship Program, Community Outreach Programs, and Environmental Programs. Surprise raffle prizes were also given exclusively to Zoom Party attendees to show appreciation to members who continually support PIChE – BC activities.

Parties wouldn’t be complete without party games and performances. Attendees were electrified as they played the online game: Name it to Win it. The game encouraged audience participation by guessing the word or phrase based on visual clues. Part of the program was also PIChE – BC Got Talent wherein members were given the chance to unleash their exceptional unique talents. Performances from partner communities and greetings from LGU partners and scholarship grantee were also showcased to express their gratitude to the organization for the continuous support throughout the year. JM Yosures, Showtime Tawag ng Tanghalan – Semi Finalist, made the online Christmas Party extra special as he serenaded the attendees with his showstopping performance.

PIChE – BC’s achievements and activities for the year 2020 were also presented during the event, following the 5 frameworks of plans and programs: (1) Continued Assistance to Members’ Professional Development, (2) Sustained Socio-Civic Programs to Adopted Community Partners, (3) Support to the Endeavors of PIChE National in Promoting Excellence in ChE Profession, (4) Encourage PIChE members Involvement to Fulfill Organization’s Goals, (5) Guidance and Assistance to the Future Chemical Engineers through Series of Career Development Activities and Scholarship Programs, while providing services amidst the challenging times of the pandemic:.