D I S T I L L A T E S  Newsletter
 American Institute of Chemical Engineers 
Indianapolis Section

October 2005 Newsletter
Editor: Kevin Keating



October Meeting -- Indianapolis Section AIChE and Scientech Joint Luncheon Meeting

Fluidized Catalytic Gasification Process

Date: Monday, October 17, 2005

Schedule:     11:30 to about 11:45 $9 buffet available

12:00 introductions

2:10 to 1:00 pm presentation and questions.

Location: The Children’s Museum at 3000 N. Illinois Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. Park in the lot on the west side of Illinois street across from the museum or in the adjacent lot northwest of the museum. At the north end of the Children’s Museum enter under the Infozone sign on the sidewalk walled by brick, enter the doorway at the end of the sidewalk, proceed down the hallway, and sign in at security as a guest for the Scientech meeting. The luncheon room is immediately to your left after security.

Presentation: Past President of the Indianapolis Section of AIChE, Tom Leas PE, from Indianapolis, Indiana will be speaking about the patented Fluidized Catalytic Gasification Process (FCG) developed by Arnold M. Leas.  The technology is an advanced process for the conversion of coal and other carbonaceous feed stocks into medium-Btu syngas, which consists mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.  Its development is based upon petroleum refining operations.  Market applications include power generation via integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants, production of transportation fuels such as methanol and/or mixed alcohols, and use by industrial plants.  The talk will cover gasification reactions, key benefits of the FCG process, and the technology development.

Background: Tom Leas worked with Arnold Leas almost 10 years after graduating from Tri-State University with a chemical engineering degree in 1980.  During this time under Arnold's mentoring, he studied coal gasification technologies and completed process design work for the FCG process.  From 1989 until 2005, he worked at the Indiana Department of Commerce and is currently employed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.  Tom is Vice Chairman of the Indianapolis AIChE Section.  Thomas E. Leas PE, 401 W. Hampton Dr, Indianapolis, IN, 46208 Tel: (317) 283-3302 Email:

About Scientech: This will be a joint meeting of our local AIChE with the Scientech Club (, which regularly meets every Monday for a buffet and presentation.  Scientech is in its 87th year as a forum for the exchange of information in the scientific and technical fields. Scientech also supports local science fair judging.  Scientech membership is open to all persons interested in scientific and technical subjects.

RSVP: Please call Dr. Alan D. Schmidt, at (317) 233-5190 by Friday October 14 with your intention of attending, any questions on Scientech, or interest in future meetings. The approximately 45 regularly attending Scientech members do not make reservations, but we will be an extra pulse of attendees that we need to estimate for the food and table count.  

2005 Meeting Schedule:

October 17, 2005: Tom Leas speaks at Scientech Meeting Lunch

November 3, 2005: National Chemistry Week – Children’s Museum Science Fair

Announcement from the Local Indianapolis Section

Jim Lowes Awarded AIChE Fellow

The primary professional society for chemical engineers is the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  This society, with nearly 50,000 members, announced that it has bestowed its highest honor, that of FELLOW, to a member of the Indianapolis Section.  This recognition, given to less than 1 % of their members, is for major contributions to both the profession and to AIChE.

Jim started with Eli Lilly & Company in 1970 after earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.  Later, after earning his MBA and serving with the US Army in the early 1970s, he returned full time with Lilly in 1973.  Jim is the first Lilly employee in the history of Lilly to have earned this AIChE distinction.

Jim is also very active in AIChE Activities.  He is the past Chairperson for the Research and New Technology Committee.  This is one of AIChE’s most effective organizations for the nurturing of new technologies within AIChE.  He is also a member of the Chemical Technology Operating Council, a past member of the Executive Board for the National Programming Committee and has served 10 years as a member of ABET (which reviews, audits, and accredits university engineering departments).

Outside Lilly and AIChE, Jim was a member of the Tri-State University Industrial Advisory Board and was appointed by Governor Evan Bayh and Governor Frank O’Bannon to the State of Indiana Boiler and Pressure Vessel Rules Board, serving on the Executive Committee for 13 years and as Chairman for 4 years.

Please join the officers of the Indianapolis Section of AIChE in congratulating Mr. Jim Lowes on this great honor and achievement.

Message from the Indianapolis AIChE Chairman

On Monday, October 11th, Scientech will be hosting a presentation on the topic of Fluidized Catalytic Gasification.   The speaker will be Tom Leas of AIChE.  Tom has recently authored a paper on the technology of coal gasification.  Further information can be found at or at

IDEM at Intel International Science & Engineering Fair


There are over 1,400 Grand Award Judges needed May 9 and 10, 2006 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis to judge the best 1,500 high school student exhibits from around the world at the 2006 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  Judges determine awards and scholarships totaling $3 million.  The judges also may interact in a panel discussion with ten Nobel Laureates.   It should be an excellent outreach/education/development opportunity for AIChE members to interact with talented high school students and scientists from Indiana, the nation, and the world.


This event will require Grand Award judges in several categories including Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences including geochemistry, Engineering, and nine other categories.  Judging will require time over two days - Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10, 2006. 


To register, start at the  website using the judge’s icon, signing up, and on-line registration.  A judge needs to have six years of related professional experience beyond receiving their B.S., B.A., or a master’s degree, or have a Ph.D.


Pam Fleck Oldknow, one of the Grand Awards Judging co-chairs, ( pamela.oldknow at  317 231-7361) notes:  “Since people with fewer than 6 years of professional experience are not likely to qualify as judges, it would be acceptable and enjoyable for them to consider serving as volunteers to the judges.  During those two days, judges need help with various things, so volunteers can sign up on the volunteer page (see below).”  Pam has served as a volunteer to the judges in the past and it was very enriching for her to listen to the judge’s discussions.

Volunteers can sign up by visiting the volunteer registration page at    In that form there is a field for entering the specific area where they would prefer to serve.  In the field titled "Any special skills you possess" a statement, for instance, stating a desire to volunteer to help the judges, could be entered.


Past President for the Indianapolis Section of AIChE, Dr. Alan D. Schmidt, in the IDEM, Office of Land Quality, has volunteered to be one of the Environmental Sciences (code: EV) co-chairs for the judging.  The Environmental Sciences category alone needs 168 judges and he asks potential judges to especially consider volunteering for that category and one of the subcategories which are:   Air Pollution and Air Quality, Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous and Solid Waste, Environmental Toxicology, Water Pollution and Water Quality, and Other. 


Highlights from AIChE

Visit the AIChE web site to find information, visit forums, renew membership or find benefits, career listings, and other advice from our national headquarters.  Current items include;

Call for Officers

We are looking for members who would like to become officers for the 2005-2006 year including those wishing to start the climb to the role of Section Chairmanship.  Interested individuals could start as Secretary or Treasurer, or even as Vice-Chairman leading then to Chairman.  There are also committee chair openings, if you can help or have an interest, the officers will help you with a committee.

Science and Engineering Presentations:
There are interesting scientific or engineering presentations given during lunch time at Scientech every Monday except for major holidays.  The Scientech meetings have a $9 buffet starting from 11:30 to noon, and then there are introductions and the presentation from 12:10 to 1:00 PM.


Current planned topics are:   October 24 a Year of Physics, Andrew D. Gavin; October 31 War on the South Seas, Calvin Arnold. 

Meetings are at the Children's Museum,
3000 N. Illinois St, Indianapolis; use the north entrance under the Infozone sign.  Reservations are not necessary, but call Dr. Alan Schmidt, 317 233-5190, to check on any changes or for further information.

2005 - 2006 Officers