MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy and Environment

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Process Design & Simulation

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN21112
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit consist of six main topics:

  1. Introduction to conceptual design of chemical processes: in this topic the main principles of process design are introduced. The focus will be on how to formulate the process design problem, the hierarchy of the process design, the difference between continuous and batch processes, the different aspect of a new design and the retrofit of a process.
  2. Graphical representation of flowsheets: in this topic block flow diagrams (BFD), process flow diagrams (PFD), piping and instrumentation diagrams (PID) and process simulation diagrams (PSD) are introduced.
  3. Physical property methods and models: in this topic the physical properties methods used in typical process simulation software are described. The focus will be on how to select and validate a vapour-liquid equilibrium model for different process simulation.
  4. Introduction to unit operation modelling: in this topic the principles for modelling some of the main unit operations (mixers, separators, reactors, heat exchangers, etc.) as found in typical commercial process simulation software are explained. The focus will be on the required input-information needed and principles equations used in order for the simulation to run and generate relevant simulation-results.
  5. Flowsheet modelling and simulation: in this topic different model specification, recycles, convergence variables and the possibility to portioning and tearing process flowsheets are described. The focus will be on developing process simulation skills as to simulate a process that include recycle and purge streams.
  6. Economic evaluation of process designs: in this topic the methodology for the calculation and assessment of a process economics are explained in terms of process evaluation, cost estimation methods (fixed, variable, total cost), the performance indicators and the main aspects of the economic evaluation (depreciation, cash flows, investment criteria).



The unit aims to:

develop students’ understanding and skills in design, simulation and evaluation of processes.


Learning outcomes

  1. 1. Explain the differences between process design, process synthesis, process integration and process simulation;
  2. 2. Describe in words and represent graphically a process design;
  3. 3. Select and apply physical property models appropriately in process design;
  4. 4. Apply mass and energy balances in order to model a unit operation;
  5. 5. Model process mixtures, unit operations and overall flowsheets by using process simulation software;
  6. 6. Develop, simulate, evaluate and analyse process flowsheets using process simulation software;
  7. 7. Estimate costs and evaluate the process economics of a design;
  8. 8. Apply relevant performance indicators to evaluate process design;
  9. 9. Develop team working skills in the context of process design.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit makes use of three main types of learning and teaching sessions:

  • Lecture and tutorial sessions
  • Problem-based process simulation software training session
  • Online-drop-in discussion sessions

All materials are available via the e-learning platform of Blackboard including lecture notes, lecture podcasts, and sample solutions to the tutorials and problem-based process simulation exercises. Communications outside of the scheduled teaching slots also make use of the Blackboard platform.


Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit (if relevant)

Continuous assessment



Recommended reading

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


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16
Tutorials 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vincenzo Spallina Unit coordinator
Percy Van Der Gryp Unit coordinator

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