Career Opportunities in the Air Pollution Control and Monitoring Industry
The Air Pollution Control and Monitoring Technology Industry is growing, forward-looking, high-tech, and diverse. It requires firms to harness new technology to cost-effectively obtain emission reductions, often where reductions have not previously been obtained. It is also an industry that we at the Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC) feel good about because its technology and services help our Nation achieve the environmental goals which the American public and rigorous health and environmental studies support.
Today, engineers seeking employment in the air pollution control and monitoring technology industry will find numerous opportunities. Indeed, industry members are actively seeking to fill engineering positions as the current workforce retires and as new positions are created.
Looking for a way to expand your professional development? Trying to demonstrate your understanding of environmental issues? The Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP) provides a multi-disciplinary environmental certification that demonstrates a strong commitment to excellence in applied environmental science and your professional accomplishments. IPEP is an independent, not-for-profit certifying organization for the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) certification that has certified over 1,000 professionals in the environmental sciences. IPEP has full accreditation from the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), which is an independent third party that accredits engineering, scientific, and technology programs. For more on the QEP certification process, go to www.ipep.org or contact ICAC.
We urge you to contact all ICAC members listed in the Membership section of ICAC's web site. The following member links go directly to current job openings:
Many members of the Institute of Clean Air Companies list career opportunities on their web sites. Here are just a few that are currently listed and which we have chosen to illustrate the diversity of engineering jobs available.
Environmental Engineer: Duties include development of process design for the proposal, contract, and plant improvements of air pollution control technology systems; technical process support for the start- up of environmental projects, integration of different chemical and material handling processes into an efficient process plant design; determination of process design (pumps, piping, filtration and material handling equipment, valves, instruments) and specifications. Requires bachelor’s degree in chemical or mechanical engineering.
Process Design Engineer: Duties include design of selective catalytic reduction systems and wet flue gas desulfurization systems including sizing, fuels evaluation, emissions, functional descriptions, ammonia system design, mass balances and equipment specifications. Requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering.
Engineering Resource Manager: Duties include coordination of engineering and graphics personnel from out-sourced companies. Requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering.
Engineering Manager: Duties include managing three engineering departments (electrical, mechanical, and structural), establishing the overall engineering schedules for customers and in-house projects, establishing and maintaining company design criteria and standards, and assisting the sales and project management teams in meetings and product development. Requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Product Development Engineer: Duties include scientific advice in the development of air pollution control systems and solving problems encountered in the applications and administering all testing programs. Requires a master’s (preferably doctoral) degree in mechanical or chemical engineering, engineering physics, physics, or material science.
Product Engineer: Duties include detailed engineering and design of electrostatic precipitators including structural calculations, mechanical and structural layout work; preparing proposals; and field visits to investigate and resolve customer problems. Requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or structural engineering.
Process Maintenance Engineer: Duties include designing manufacturing processes and tools, developing process documentation, supervising maintenance associates. Requires knowledge of programming PLC’s and control systems and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Structural Steel Design Engineer: Duties include structural analysis on boiler and environmental equipment structural support steel. Requires a bachelor’s degree in civil or structural engineering.
Stress Analysis Engineer: Duties include stress analysis calculations and designs on power boilers and all related equipment.
Pulverizer Staff Engineer: Duties include designing and applying coal pulverizing equipment to utility and industrial boilers.
Boiler Design Engineer: Duties include technical guidance, supervision and training, and interaction with customers and site operating personnel. Requires knowledge of calculations in areas of heat transfer, metals, auxiliary equipment sizing and boiler operations.
Auxiliary Systems Engineer: Duties include specification and application of vendor products and systems applied to power plant and environmental equipment. Vendor products include ASME code valves, sootblowers, fans, airheaters, ESPs, baghouses, SCR systems, pumps and ash handling systems.
Project Engineer: Duties includes interdepartmental coordination, technical lead on all project matters with Project Manager, and technical liaison with the customer. Requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Field Engineer: Duties include inspections of newly installed equipment, obtaining performance and test data, and effective interaction with customer. Requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Network Engineer: Duties include troubleshooting and managing the information systems department.
Instruments & Controls Engineer: Duties include the conceptual and detail design of analog and sequential control systems for power plants and specifying instrumentation.
Project Engineer (Monitoring): Duties include PLC system design, programming and installation: HMI/SCADA application development; visual basic/relations database programming; networking and serial communications. Requires a bachelor’s degree in electric or mechanical engineering, or computer science.
Software Engineer (Monitoring): Requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, math or science.
John Buschmann, ALSTOM Power
"I grew up in metropolitan New York / New Jersey during the 1950s. The air quality was horrendous. A shopping trip to the city would give me a splitting headache (CO poisoning) and I had a persistent dry cough that worsened with any physical exercise (ozone and SO2 caused asthma). At the time everyone thought that this was a necessary price of progress. Today the air is 90% cleaner than it was in the '50s, thanks to the Environmental engineers and scientists who have worked long and hard to that goal. During my 23 years in the Air Pollution Control industry I have designed and helped to install pollution control equipment that has removed millions of tons of pollutants from the exhaust of power plants around the country. I feel great satisfaction in knowing that I contributed in a substantial way to the increased health and life span of the U.S. population. I would strongly recommend Environmental Control as a career for any young person who wants to have a positive effect on the world."
The most important reason for the environmental products (EP) industry is that its technology and services help our Nation achieve the environmental goals which poll after poll shows the public supports. These goals seek to improve the health of Americans and the environment on which we depend so fewer Americans get sick or die, health care costs decline, business productivity improves, building and materials damage is reduced, and ecosystems are preserved for current and future generations.
The U.S. EP industry delivers real economic benefits: over 1.3 million U.S. jobs and a trade surplus.1 These jobs are widely dispersed throughout the states, and occur in many sectors of the economy as well.2 Many are high-tech, such as engineering and computer-aided design, others involve traditional manufacturing, transport, and communication.3 Only 11% of EP industry jobs are governmental, compared to 17% economy-wide.4
Numerous, rigorous studies conclude that environmental protection is compatible with and can even aid economic growth,5 and that environmentally-regulated industries do better than others.6 Studies speculate that investing in clean air technology stimulates the investment in more productive technology generally.7 In fact, improved environmental performance can increase a firms stock value from 5%8 to as much as 10%9. From 1990-1995, there was a net gain of 2.2 million jobs in nonattainment areas (which must achieve the greatest air quality improvements), and 63% of those areas had average annual employment growth rates greater than that of their region of the country.10 Even in Los Angeles, site of the most costly air pollution control rules in the Nation, researchers found the rules caused a slight net positive effect on employment.11 Nationwide, from 1970-1997, emissions of the six criteria pollutants declined 31%, while U.S. population increased 31%, GDP increased 114%, and vehicle miles traveled increased 127%.12
Moreover, the U.S. EP industry, including air pollution controls, is generating a trade surplus of over $9 billion.13 The U.S. EP industry exports almost 10% of the total goods and services it produces, and these environmental exports have doubled since 1993.14 This U.S. EP industry should be one of the world's fastest growing, and promises to provide even greater economic benefits to our Nation in the future. Exports of the U.S. EP industry also further our Nation's foreign affairs objectives regarding global environmental protection. Finally, ensuring a domestic EP industry guarantees cheaper, better products for regulated U.S. industry than would dependence on foreign suppliers, as shown by the U.S. EP industry's reductions in the cost of controls, and simultaneous improvements in performance and reliability.15
1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Environmental Industry of the United States, January 1999.
2. Id.; Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC) and U.S. EPA, Employment Created by NOx Control and Continuous Emission Monitoring Requirements of Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, March 1994, passim.
4. Goodstein, E.B., Jobs and the Environment, Economic Policy Institute, 1994, pp. 7-12
5. E.g., Goodstein, supra n. 4; Meyer, S., Environmentalism and Prosperity: Testing the Environmental Impact Hypothesis, MIT, 1992; Meyer, S., Environmentalism and Prosperity: An Update, MIT, 1993; Templet, P.H., The Complementary Nature of Environment and Economy, Environmental Science & Technology (American Chemical Society), vol. 27, 1993; Wendling, R.M. and Bezdek, R.H., Acid Rain Abatement Legislation: Costs and Benefits, OMEGA International Journal of Management Science, vol. 17, 1989.
6. Repetto, R., Jobs, Competitiveness, and Environmental Regulation: What Are the Real Issues?, World Resources Institute, 1995.
7. Business Week, Do Pollution Regs Cost Jobs?, November 16, 1998.
8. Feldman, S.J., Soyka, P.A., and Ameer, P., Does Improving a Firms Environmental Management System & Environmental Performance Result in a Higher Stock Price, ICF Kaiser International, Inc., January 1997.
9. Dow Jones Newswires, KPMG Survey on Environmental Reporting, September 1, 1999.
10. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Urban Air Toxics Strategy Briefing Document, September 1, 1998.
11. Business Week, supra, n. 7.
12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Air Quality Trends Report, 1997, December 1998.
13. U.S. Department of Commerce, supra n. 1, p. 3.
15. E.g., ICAC, White Paper: Selective Catalytic Reduction Controls to Abate NOx Emissions, November 1997; White Paper: Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) for Controlling NOx Emissions, October 1997; ICAC, White Paper: Scrubber Myths & Realities, May 1995; ICAC.
American Academy of Environmental Engineers, www.aaee.net
American Institute of Chemical Engineers, http://www.aiche.org/
American Society of Civil Engineers, http://www.asce.org/
American Society for Engineering Education, http://www.asee.org/
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, http://www.asme.org/
National Engineers Week, http://www.eweek.org/ (ICAC is an official endorser)
National Society of Professional Engineers, http://www.nspe.org/