What is a chemical plant? (with photos)

Petrochemical processing facilities are often located close to oil refineries.

A chemical plant is an industrial facility designed for the purpose of processing and producing chemical products. Chemical plants can be found all over the world, producing a wide range of products, from photographic chemicals used in developing rooms to herbicides sprayed on commercially produced crops. Numerous specialist facilities, such as wastewater treatment plants, operate using methods similar to those seen in chemical plants.

Some chemical factories produce herbicides.

In a chemical plant, the objective is to produce new chemicals or process chemicals. A variety of processing techniques are used depending on what the plant manufactures, and most chemical plants manufacture many different types of related chemicals. A common feature of chemical plants is the large vats or tanks where chemicals are processed and stored.

Chemical engineers working in chemical plants may be tasked with managing safety programs, among other responsibilities.

Many chemical plants are located in industrial areas and close to transport lines or railways, so their products can be moved easily. Safety is a major concern for facilities where chemicals are made and processed, as mistakes at a chemical plant can be very dangerous and chemical plants are vulnerable to acts of sabotage and terrorism. As a result, chemical plants are often required to undergo regular safety inspections that confirm that the plant is operating safely, and the facilities have extensive security to protect the plant from outside threats.

Chemical factories may employ security guards.

Chemical engineers are typically responsible for the design of the chemical plant, developing designs that meet the needs of the plant and provide room for growth and expansion. Chemical engineers also work in chemical plants, overseeing production and managing safety programs, as well as developing new manufacturing and processing techniques. Other employees at chemical plants include security guards, technicians and administrators who process chemical orders and requests.

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A specialized form of chemical plant, the petrochemical, works exclusively with petroleum-derived chemicals. Petrochemical processing facilities are often located close to oil refineries for convenience, with the two facilities sharing security teams and efficiently moving goods between factories as needed.

Growing environmental concerns in the late 20th century led to increasingly difficult regulation of chemical plants. First world facilities need to meet stringent environmental standards, which are designed to prevent pollution and reduce the number of hazardous chemicals produced each year, and consequently, chemical manufacturing is heavily focused in developing countries where regulations are less rigid. The disparity in regulations has been criticized by many environmental advocates, who are concerned that developing nations are exposing themselves to environmental risks in their eagerness to attract business.

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