20 Small Business Ideas for Chemical Engineers Best Opportunities for Chemical Engineers Who Want to Build Their Own Business

20 Small Business Ideas for Chemical Engineers

Are you a chemical engineer looking to start your own business? If YES, here are 20 small business ideas for chemical engineers.

Chemical engineering in one of the most important professions, because chemical engineers are responsible for energy, clean air, safe drinking water and food, drug manufacturing and other consumer products. Chemical engineers possess the right set of knowledge to bring innovations, new solutions, applications and deliver different kinds of projects.

They are needed to help develop a wide range of products, to improve environmental protection, reduce CO2 emissions, reduce waste, improve solutions for more efficient energy use, work on sustainable development of technologies and products, improve services and more...

However, there are not so many of them starting their own businesses while there is every reason they should be: they are smart, creative and highly educated people.

If you studied chemical engineering and you want to be your own boss, here are 20 business ideas.

  1. Product/process development business: Product development scientists are responsible for identifying and developing new processes for product manufacture. With the global changes that are taking place and increased needs for innovative solutions in environmental protection, emissions and waste reduction, this is a very potent business.
  2. Process design: Similar description to previous - the business is related to defining material and heat balances and equipment: types, dimensions, etc. for existing units, for processes in reconstruction or new processes.
  3. Chemical engineering consultancy: Many chemical engineers work for engineering consultancy and contracting firms. Chemical engineers who possess specialized knowledge or are in process of educating themselves, in fields such as process optimization, control, design, safety, pollution control, environmental protection, energy conservation, recycling and alternative energy are able to build consultancy companies and live from selling their knowledge.
  4. Education: You can set up an education business and train people who are interested in working in the chemical industry and some specific fields of chemical engineering.
  5. Predictive analytics & data expert - Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning, that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events. In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Models capture relationships among many factors to allow assessment of risk or potential associated with a particular set of conditions, guiding decision-making for candidate transactions.
    The models represent opportunity for different process improvement and optimization and represent great business growth potential. 
  6. A recycling business: recycling is all about using discarded materials to create something new and useful. One of the industries chemical engineers do well is in recycling, as they can create just about anything from trash. You can set up a plant where you get to recycle either paper, metal or plastics and you would earn a lot of revenue from it. You can also think of a new product that can be gotten from the trash.
  7. Biofuels Production: another business idea that a chemical engineer can play with is to start a biofuels production business. Biofuels can be gotten from different wastes and materials and can be established on a small scale basis at any place where the main raw material to be used is easily available. There is a continuous search for renewable sources of fuel due to the rate of depletion of fossils. The term biofuel is used to define fuels that are obtainable from plants or animals. Being a renewable source, it is gaining attention all over the world today.
  8. Manufacturing plastics & bioplastics: Bioplastics are an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics such as PP (polypropylene) and PS (polystyrene) and possess comparable characteristics. They are transparent and can be processed easily into various commodities, for example into cups, bowls, and bottles. bioplastics still have a huge market and growth potential because technical progress and increasing production capacities enhance their competitiveness against petroleum-based plastics. It is expected that bioplastics share will continue to increase within the next years and replace old plastics.
  9. Sustainable waste management: The selection of a combination of techniques, technologies and management programs to achieve waste management objectives is called integrated waste management (IWM). The hierarchy of actions to implement IWM is reduction, reuse, recycle, treatment and final disposal. Different phases and materials require different knowledge, resources and activities which chemical engineers can help do and develop.
  10. Natural cosmetics manufacturing company: Many cosmetic products are formulated using chemicals and as such, a chemical engineer can start it. The popularity of natural and authentic products is rising, so if you have a unique idea, it could be a good opportunity to start your own natural cosmetics manufacturing company. Learn what’s involved in launching a product, decide if you have the energy & passion, then go ahead and try.
  11. Chemicals/technologies import and export business: this business is focused on the international trade and distribution of chemicals of various kinds including minerals, rare earth and oxides to businesses and industries that are in need of such chemicals and minerals. Your business can target industries that produce glass, ceramics, construction chemicals, foundry, steel industries, adhesive manufacturing industries, etc.
  12. Analytical chemist business: Analytical chemists assess the chemical structure and nature of substances. Their skills are needed for a variety of purposes including drug development, forensic analysis and toxicology. A chemical engineer can start his business as an Analytical Chemist who basically works in the laboratories along with the team of other scientists. He will be required to study chemical compounds in order to identify their construction. A chemical engineer may start his business in association with an environmental or pharmaceutical company.
  13. An energy managing business: Energy engineering or energy systems engineering is a broad field of engineering dealing with energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and alternative energy technologies. A chemical engineer may also become a freelance energy expert. In this role, he will be responsible for planning ways energy can be utilized effectively in companies. Heavy industries and manufacturing units are energy-intensive and a chemical engineer can provide the services to these manufacturing companies. He may improve the energy efficiency of lighting, campus utilities, laboratories, dining and residence halls, classrooms, etc.
  14. Start a winery: A winery is a building or property that produces wine, or a business involved in the production of wine. As a chemical engineer, starting a wine production company is right within your alley as you would excel in this trade. You can choose not to own a vineyard as well and opt for buying grapes from farmers. But if you have the capacity to also run a vineyard with your winery, then, by all means, do so.
  15. Start a brewery: If you have a passion to make your own beer, the craft beer market is booming. The technology is relatively simple and with moderate investment, it is possible to have an exciting business.
  16. Herbal Soap Making – The same as with natural cosmetics, the herbal industry is also growing globally. Awareness among the people about the benefits of using herbal products is the main reason behind it. The herbal soap making process is simple and it requires simple few raw materials. One can initiate this venture small-scale basis with moderate capital investment.
  17. Safety consultant - Process safety is extremely important today and requires specific procedures across the industries. Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions.
  18. Process optimization expert - If you are an expert in specific process technologies or mathematical modeling, use your knowledge to determine the most effective operating conditions or operating equipment.
  19. Process control consultant - Perform tests throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over variables, including temperature, density, specific gravity, and pressure.
  20. Alternative energy expert - Today there is a wide range of energy production options, from traditional ones to renewables. Having  knowledge of different technologies brings you into a position to suggest the best option for different industry needs.