Dr. Jameel Ibrahim: A Technologist at Heart

Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET has produced many world class Engineers, Researchers and Academics, and Dr. Jameel Ibrahim is one of BUET’s proud engineers. Industrious, dexterous are probably few of the many words that describe Dr. Ibrahim. Accomplished? Undoubtedly. A creative and effective engineer and manager, with over twenty years of experience in process and chemical engineering, Dr. Ibrahim has encompassed different aspects of technology management. His areas of expertise include product and process development, project management and practical implementation. He has developed the first commercially viable fluidized process for producing polysilicon. He has a proven track record of successfully developing and implementing new technology and has ten patents in total.

Dr. Jameel Ibrahim

Dr. Ibrahim began his journey of engineering from the Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET, graduating B.Sc. Eng in the year 1967. After the successful completion of his B.Sc. Eng he joined Titas Gas Company, Dhaka as a utilization engineer (1968-69). There he worked with IMEG Consultants (U.K.) to convert the first twenty industries in Bangladesh to natural gas firing. He then pursued his PhD study and completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Castel upon Tyne, England, UK in 1972 and afterwards did post-doctoral research for one year. Dr. Ibrahim joined HGS Division Humphreys-Glasgow, UK, as a Design Engineer (1974-1977). With his knowledge of chemical engineering and working experience incorporated, he served as an Assistant Professor at the Tri-State University, Angola (1977-1981). After several years of teaching he changed his career track and joined ETHYL CORPORATION, LA, one of the leading fuel manufacturing companies in the US. During the ten long years spent in ETHYL CORPORATION, LA, Dr. Ibrahim served at different positions: Senior Process Development Engineering, Project Leader, Process Development Advisor and Process Development Manager. During this period he led a team that successfully developed the first commercially viable fluidized bed granular polysilicon process. The effort and contribution of Dr. Ibrahim’s resulted in significant developments in the company that continue till date. As Process Development Advisor, Dr. Ibrahim made substantial improvements in the commercial plant design of the company and was the key member of the start-up of the commercial fluidized bed operation. He also directed the process development of the Polysilicon Dehydrogenation Process to commercial scale and was also in charge of the development and production of commercial quantities of Boron and Phosphorus dopants for the CCZ crystal growth industry.

In 1990, Dr. Ibrahim joined ALBEMARLE CORPORATION, Pasadena, TX, US as a Process Technology Manager. There he strategized a new control technology to reduce particulate emission in the polysilicon plant. He was awarded the Apex Albemarle Employee Award, for managing the introduction of a catalyst recovery technology that produced yearly savings of greater than one million dollars in the PAO process.

From the year 1997 – 2008, Dr. Ibrahim worked in MEMC Pasadena Inc, Texas, as Director of Technology, R & D Director and MEMC Fellow. He advised MEMC’s top management on polysilicon business opportunities and expansion options, managing the technology transfer and other design and implementation aspects of several plant expansion projects, totaling more than 200 millon dollars which led to several fold capacity increase. Salient contributions to the company made by this able engineer include doubling the company’s capacity between 1996 and 1998, a three- fold increase in volume since 1999 and improvement of product quality in carbon, boron and phosphorous by ~125%. In recognition of his contributions, he was made an MEMC Fellow.

After his retirement from MEMC in 2008, Dr. Ibrahim formed a consulting company, ICP Consultants, which concentrates on projects concerning solar energy. As the President of ICP Consultants, Dr. Ibrahim has worked as technical expert on a variety of global projects, consulted with a major TCS based polysilicon manufacturer in China and provided expert advice to investment companies on polysilicon industry.

In true sense, the versatile personality of Dr. Ibrahim is an inspiration to all the chemical engineers and chemical engineering students out there! ‘ChE Thoughts’ takes the opportunity to have an interview of Dr. Ibrahim on his colorful career, engineering vision and professional experiences. The interview is conducted by Fauzia Sultana and composed by Mohidus Samad Khan.

It is our pleasure to have you with us for the interview. You are a successful engineer and engineer administrator, and have had many accomplishments in your career. Would you like to share with the ChE Thoughts readers what inspired you to choose Chemical Engineering as a profession?

At my time, I saw Chemical Engineering as the best practical combination of mathematics, physics and chemistry. The potential applications of chemical engineering created a sense of excitement in me. The thought that there could be an opportunity to develop or improve processes to produce useful materials inspired me the most to become a Chemical Engineer.

Any memorable experience in your BUET life?

The two most significant experiences that I would like to mention are: the process design course at BUET, and the industrial training at Karnaphuly Paper Mill.

What have been your most fulfilling accomplishment and experience in your professional career?

There are many. But, if I have to mention one, I must mention my experience of developing the fluidized bed polysilicon process from bench scale, through several generations of pilot plants and culminating in the design, installation and viable operation of that process; it was the first commercially viable fluidized process for producing polysilicon. And this I consider as a notable accomplishment in my career.

You have a long engineering career. What significant changes have you seen in your field during your profession?

I have witnessed many changes over the years. But to me, the most significant one is the narrowing of opportunities, perhaps due to economic conditions.

What do you think are the most pressing needs to be met with, in engineering and science in the coming years?

In the coming years I expect a better combination of skill sets in engineers—a good grasp of fundamentals with an appreciation of practicalities and viabilities.

We would like to ask you about your personal life: do you have anyone in your family inspired by you professionally and practicing engineering or chemical engineering?

Yes! I have two children, one is a chemical engineer and the other is studying to be a lawyer.

We will conclude the interview with your opinion on interdisciplinary collaboration. How important do you think interdisciplinary collaboration will be for solving some of the challenges that lie ahead in your field?

Things are becoming integrated in today’s world and the engineering or scientific world is an instance of that. To me the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration is very high to solve the engineering and scientific challenges in the coming years.

And with that the interview ends. We thank Dr. Ibrahim for his valuable time and sharing his views with ChE Thoughts. We are proud of his career success and versatility. We hope that his highly productive professional experience will inspire new generation chemical engineers and students of Bangladesh.


To cite this article, please use following information:

(use the given format or any standard citation format)

Sultana, F., Dr. Jameel Ibrahim: A Technologist at Heart, ChE Thoughts 2 (2), 33-35, 2011.


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