Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chemical Process Engineer

This post is rather on the basic of Chemical Engineering.

An adjunct lecture was held this morning during the Process Plant Design lecture session. The topic is Practical Process Design and Refinery Revamp. So, I would like to extract some information from it and share with those laymen.

2 external figures came, namely Tom Kers, Netherland handsome and Aderline Ler, Sg hottie. They are from KBC, a sound refinery consultancy firm! It's very interesting, interactive and informative lecture.

Find out more about KBC, click here.

The lecture nevertheless covered more on the roles played by a process engineer.
I used to understand that process engineers have all to do with process control, process optimization, perform troubleshooting, and perhaps taking care of some chemical plant safety issues. But then it's actually much beyond these.

An important note, Chemical engineering is concerned with the chemical process and things beyond that. Chemist on the other hand is the one sits in the lab mixing reactant to reactant and produces new products.

More importantly, process engineer will have to do a process design, which is inclusive of:

1. Performing material and energy balance for each and every column and overall process as well as the utility which principally means the additional heating and cooling requirement.

2. Cost and benefit analysis which is characterized by (Product value - Feedstock costs - Energy costs - other operating costs - loss)

3. Come out with process flow diagram (PFD) and P&ID.

4. Provide specifications for each and every column (such as vessels, tanks , pumps, compressors, separators, drying systems, refrigeration systems...etc) in terms of duties, temperature, pressure, materials of construction ...etc.

5. Provide the specifications for relief valves and rupture disks such as the size, which is within the scope of Process Safe and Loss Prevention course.

All these constitute the Final Year Process Plant Design (FYDP). Get some ideas how tough it is.

So, basically process engineer is the one who leads the planning of building up a plant. In other words, they are in the supervisory role.They are the initiator. They give all the necessary information, specifications and advices for the mechanical engineers and fabricators to construct the equipments and get them fixed properly to the ground.

What would happen if one reactor were to fall down?

1. Casualties due to fire, toxic gas released...etc. Perhaps it's another Bhopal incident.

2. Capital loss (the equipments are extremely expensive)

3. Operational loss--plant shutdown (The operation can give multi-mullion dollar per day)

If that happens, someone is gonna get hurt real bad!

1 comment:

Harry Auction said...

Nice Blog.......n keep ur post...to help somebody about chem....