MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy and Environment / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Process Synthesis

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN30031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? No




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

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

A group exercise provides a case study for initial appraisal of a design.

  • Introduction to process synthesis
  • Reaction process selection
  • Separation process selection
  • Heat integration & utility system
  • Development & evaluation of reaction–separation–recycle flowsheets
  • Pre/co-requisites
    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
    • 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

    Students will be able to:

    1. Develop, simulate, evaluate, analyse and improve process flow sheets using appropriate methods and tools.
    2. Analyse important interactions and trade-offs in process synthesis and design
    3. Identify hazards and propose inherently safer design solutions
    4. Explain key decisions to be made during process synthesis, evaluation and optimisation
    5. Use a logical approach to select technologies, operating conditions and flowsheet configurations for continuous processes
    6. Apply heat integration techniques in process design
    7. Appraise process flowsheets, considering safety and relevant performance criteria
    8. Explain the role of optimisation in chemical process design and set up relevant problems

    Teaching and learning methods


    Problem-solving exercises

    eLearning in Blackboard (additional resources, discussion board)

    Assessment methods

    Assessment task


    Weighting within unit

    Mid-semester Exam Style Assessment



    Final Exam



    Feedback methods

    Marked test returned 2 weeks later

    Project selection (start of Sem. 2)

    Recommended reading

    Core Reading

    Smith, R., Chemical Process Design and Integration, 2 nd edition, 2016, Wiley, ISBN-13: 978- 1119990130 [Kortext]

    Essential Reading

    Towler, G.P. and Sinnott, R.K., Chemical Engineering Design: Principles, Practice and Economics of Plant and Process Design, 5th edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0080966595 [Online via Elsevier Science Direct Books]

    All reading lists now must be managed through the library tool at: 

    Teaching staff

    Staff member Role
    Megan Jobson 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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