MEng Chemical Engineering with Study in Europe

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Process Synthesis

Unit code CHEN30031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


Part 1: Process Design (5 credits)

A design exercise carried out during the first week of Semester 1 aims to consolidate learning from Year 2 relevant to process design. This exercise will be assessed by a written report.

1. Process Simulation
Carry out a process simulation on a process with a recycle and purge to converge the material and energy balance. Students will be expected to select the most appropriate physical properties for the simulation.

2. Economic evaluation and sensitivity analyses
Estimate the total annualised cost of the process flowsheet and carry out sensitivity analysis to improve the process performance.

3. Detailed Economic Evaluation
For the improved design, estimate project cash flow, return on investment, net present value and discounted cash flow rate of return.

Part 2: Process Synthesis (10 credits)

This part of the unit builds on knowledge and skills of core chemical engineering concepts (material and energy balances, chemical reaction engineering, chemical thermodynamics) and of chemical process design (process simulation, economic evaluation and inherently safer design).

The unit provides an overview of product and process design challenges and of approaches for process synthesis and optimisation. There is particular focus on choosing reaction pathways, on selecting reaction and separation technologies and on heat integration and on application of the principles for inherently safer design for chemical process synthesis.

A group exercise in which the business case for a promising design concept is developed provides a case study for initial appraisal of a design.

  1. Introduction to process synthesis
  2. Reaction process selection
  3. Separation process selection
  4. Heat integration and the utility system
  5. Development and evaluation of reaction–separation–recycle flowsheets
  6. Inherently safer design – application to process synthesis
  7. Process design optimisation




Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Process Design & Simulation CHEN21112 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


This unit aims to:

  • Help students develop understanding of and skills in chemical process synthesis, design, evaluation and optimisation
  • Enhance students’ skills in process simulation, analysis and integration
  • Support integration of chemical process design knowledge and skills already acquired
  • Provide an opportunity for students to propose a design concept for further exploration within the Design Project course unit (CHEN30012&CHEN30132)


Learning outcomes

LO 1.Develop, simulate, evaluate and analyse process flow sheets using simulation software.

ILO 2.Apply relevant performance indicators to evaluate process designs

ILO 3.Analyse important interactions and trade-offs in process synthesis and design

ILO 4.Improve process flowsheets using process modelling and analysis

ILO 5.Identify hazards and propose inherently safer design solutions

ILO 6.Explain key decisions to be made during process synthesis, evaluation and optimisation

ILO 7.Use a logical approach to select technologies, operating conditions and flowsheet configurations for continuous processes

ILO 8.Evaluate alternative process flowsheets for specified products

ILO 9.Apply heat integration techniques in process design

ILO 10.Appraise process flowsheets, considering safety and relevant performance criteria

ILO 11.Explain the role of optimisation in chemical process design and set up relevant problems

Teaching and learning methods

Part 1: Process Design (assessed exercise)

Lectures, Computer-based simulation exercise

Part 2: Process Synthesis

Lectures, problem-solving exercises, self-assessment quizzes/tests, eLearning in Blackboard (additional resources, discussion board)


Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Part 1 Assessed group report



Part 2 Continuous assessment



Part 2 Exam style assessment




Feedback methods

Marked test returned 2 weeks later

Project selection (start of Sem. 2)

Recommended reading

Reading lists are accessible through the Blackboard system linked to the library catalogue.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vincenzo Spallina Unit coordinator
Megan Jobson Unit coordinator
Patricia Gorgojo Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates

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