January 2008

Automation by the Numbers

Today, we typically only extract 30-40% of oil contained in most reservoirs, reports ARC Advisory Forum. By boosting recovery rates just a few percentage points, organizations can dramatically increase long-term supply. Injecting steam, gas, or chemicals into reservoirs can slow the natural decline in production from mature fields. Shell is investigating the possibility of injecting waste CO2 into oil fields off the coast of Norway, which would boost production and reduce green house gas emissions.

Ziegler-Nichols closed loop method is one of the more common methods used to tune control loops, and it debuted in 1942, published by J.G. Ziegler and N.B. Nichols who, at the time, were working at Taylor Instrument Companies of Rochester. In the micro processed age, that might as well be 1492, which, of course, is when Columbus "discovered" America. The Z-N method is still going strong today.


H1-B is the visa designation that allows U.S. employers to seek temporary help from skilled foreigners. There is a cap on the total number issued per year. The cap has prompted Microsoft to establish an R&D center in Vancouver, B.C., where foreign talent is more readily available and welcome. The National Association of Manufacturers said 80% of manufacturing companies in the U.S. report difficulties in filling positions requiring technical skills.

If Texas were a country, it would be the seventh-largest CO2 polluter in the world. If you think that would be because of the state's chemical and petroleum industries, you'd be wrong though they do, of course, contribute. The CO2 is primarily the result of large coal-burning power plants and gas-guzzling vehicles.