MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy and Environment / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Process Design

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN30122
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


Process design is the most important skill in the education of chemical engineers. This unit provides a link between the taught units in the first 3 years of the course to provide the core skills required to perform the design of a chemical process.


Lecture 1        Chemical Process Projects

The process design problem. Cost estimates. New design and retrofit. Design hazard management. Project phases.

Lecture 2        Hot Utilities

Heat integration and the role of utilities in energy balancing. Steam systems and cogeneration. Steam levels. Steam distribution. Fired heaters. Choice of hot utility for a given temperature.

Lecture 3        Cold Utilities

Recirculating cooling water systems. Air coolers. Pure component refrigeration systems. Multiple refrigeration levels. Cascade systems. Mixed refrigerants. Choice of cold utility for a given temperature.

Lecture 4        Reliability, Maintainability and Availability Concepts

Basic reliability theory as applied to chemical process equipment. Maintainability and availability for individual items of equipment.

Lecture 5        Reliability, Maintainability and Availability of Systems

Fault trees and reliability block diagrams. Series and parallel systems. Standby equipment.

Lecture 6        Process Control – Concepts

Basic feedback control loops. Cascade and ratio control. Computer control and distributed control systems. Alarms. Representation.

Lecture 7        Process Control  - Flowrate and Inventory Control

Flowrate control. Inventory control of liquids and gases. Direction of inventory control. Recycle inventory control.

Lecture 8        Process Control – Degrees of Freedom

Degrees of freedom and control.

Lecture 9        Process Control - Control of Process Operations

Control of process operations. Control of pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, flash drums, distillation, reactors.

Lecture 10      Process Control  - Overall Process Control

Synthesis of overall process control systems. Control interactions.

Lecture 11      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams – Piping and Pressure Relief

Piping systems, pressure relief and emergency discharge in P&IDs.

Lecture 12      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams - Process Operations

P&IDs for pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, distillation and liquid storage.

Lecture 13      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams – Construction

Construction of P&IDs for complete processes.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Process Synthesis CHEN30031 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Process Control CHEN30091 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:


  • Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to select heating and cooling duties required to service a process design.
  • Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.
  • Develop knowledge of process control to be able to synthesise the control system for an overall chemical process.
  • Develop the background knowledge necessary to be able to create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process.


Learning outcomes

ILO 1.Select heating and cooling duties required to service a process design.

ILO 2.Analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.

ILO 3.Synthesise the control systems for individual process operations and overall chemical processes.

ILO 4.Create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures provide fundamental aspects supporting the critical learning of the module and will be delivered as pre-recorded asynchronous short videos via our virtual learning environment.

Synchronous sessions will support the lecture material with Q&A and problem-solving sessions where you can apply the new concepts. Surgery hours are also available for drop-in support.

Feedback on problems and examples, feedback on coursework and exams, and model answers will also be provided through the virtual learning environment. A discussion board provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to the material presented in the module.

Students are expected to expand the concepts presented in the session and online by additional reading (suggested in the Online Reading List) in order to consolidate their learning process and further stimulate their interest to the module.

Study budget:

  • Core Learning Material (e.g. recorded lectures, problem solving sessions): 24 hours
  • Self-Guided Work (e.g. continuous assessment, extra problems, reading)     : 44 hours
  • Exam Style Assessment Revision and Preparation: 32 hours

Assessment methods

Assessment Types

Total Weighting

Continuous assessment


Exam style assessments


Please note that the exam style assessments weighting may be split over midterm and end of semester exams.

Recommended reading

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Robin Smith 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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