Chemical engineers call for less reliance on fossil fuels

Paul Boughton
Europe must do more to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, according to the results of a new survey commissioned by the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE).

Almost 1800 chemical and process engineers took part in the study and 87 per cent agreed that their country must do more to reduce its fossil fuel reliance with 81 per cent of voters citing climate change as a big challenge for the future of humanity.

However, 58 per cent of participants admitted that they needed more factual information to understand energy and climate issues.

The survey findings were presented yesterday by EFCE president, Richard Darton to an audience of invited guests in Brussels, Belgium.

35 countries were represented in the survey and the data was gathered throughout January and February 2011. The data was analysed to determine the broad view of the European chemical engineering community as a whole and findings from nations with more than 100 responses (Denmark, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and UK) were also reported in more detail.

Participants were also asked for their views on ethics in industry. 74 per cent agreed that their management had a genuine commitment to ethical standards with just 23 per cent citing the need for training on ethical issues.

83 per cent of participants agreed with the statement ‘chemical engineering is the right career for me’ and 70 per cent of voters said that there are good opportunities for chemical engineers in their country. Chemical engineers based in Denmark and Germany both displayed markedly higher career satisfaction levels than the survey average.

Elsewhere, just 60 per cent of voters claimed to have been helped by industry during their education and training and 36 per cent of participants thought they may be working in another country in five years time.

Yesterday’s meeting included a contribution from the president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek and a roundtable discussion involving senior representatives of the European chemical industry council, Cefic, SusChem and executives from the European chemical industry.

Buzek was also presented with a certificate of Honorary Fellowship by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), founder members of the EFCE, in recognition of his achievements as a chemical engineer and occupying a leading position on the international stage.