This course explores one of the core foundations in chemical engineering – process plant design. A chemical engineer is usually tasked with the development and design of processes that are technically efficient, cheap and safe. To do this, there are several challenges to be dealt with: for instance, the exact quantification of materials and energy flows, selection of appropriate equipment and their interconnectedness, and safety considerations amongst others. In consideration of variation in learners’ strengths and background, a range of plant from a straightforward process (e.g. generation of steam in a boiler) to a more sophisticated process (e.g. crude refining) will be presented. The course will be designed to provide an appreciation of the numerous tasks of a process engineer by integrating knowledge of basic sciences, economics, management and humanities with personal intuitive and professional judgement using real-world case studies. The structure will enable students to develop a critical, theoretically informed understanding of how and why process configurations may vary across plants in the same and different countries. Such variation attests to the flexibility in the choice of methods, materials and equipment, giving students the ability to conceptualise and translate their understanding in real technical systems.
Additionally, the course will demonstrate techno-economic analyses of a process plant and establish how that differs with conventional accounting or social economics. Although while some of the terms in economics will be used, there exist significant differences. A simple techno-economic cost model will be set out in a spreadsheet, and the student will populate and develop the model relying on their understanding of capital and operating expenditures as well as sensitivity analysis and profitability indicators. This knowledge will be useful in helping student assess the techno-commercial viability of the designed process. Lastly, safety consideration and social perspectives will be overviewed, providing learners with social consciousness while developing process or products.
The lectures are designed to give an overview of foundational concepts (theoretical and heuristics) and apply the concepts to propose realistic designs. In groups, students will work on structured exercises and live case studies that focus upon the development and implementation of chemical process design from a local perspective with a commercial sense.
By the end of this course students will:
This course is broken into four modules
|Modules||Case Studies||Takeaways||Key Exercises|
|1||Mass and energy flow in a process||Steam generation in a boiler, production of tissue paper from pulp||•Identify all forms of inputs and output streams required of a process|
•Conceptualise a process system using a block flow diagram
•Participate in conceptual group design activity
Integration of materials and equipment into designs
Bioethanol production from corn stover
|•arrange logically the sequence of materials flow from one unit into another in a typical process|
•understand the application of bypass, recycle, generation and consumption of streams
• Interpret written case study and produce a detailed process flow diagram of the system described.
Costing and Techno-economics analysis
Bioethanol production from corn stover
|•examine the numerous cost parameters and build a realistic cost model|
•develop and assess techno-commercial viability of a process
• conduct both preliminary and detailed techno-economic assessment of a selected process
Safety and Social consideration
Bioethanol and/biobutanol production from corn stover/corn stalks
|•Identify potential hazards and risk assessment of a process|
•Learn to integrate and resolve social and ethical concerns on a process
• integrate social ethics and safety concerns in process designs