The field of chemical engineering is reliant on a number of processes which must be optimised to work efficiently on their own, and as a whole. This is achieved through having a thorough understanding of the interactions between equipment and unit processes. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Process Design – using simulation tools to predict plant performance and design. 

  • Process Integration – for example the integration of carbon capture plants within traditional power generation facilities and heat integration to minimise the degeneration of chemicals.

  • Process Control – how to ensure plants continue to operate at optimum efficiency when subject to disturbances and operational changes.

  • Process Instrumentation – development of technology such as multiphase metering to measure flow and density without separation of liquid and gas.

  • Process Intensification – reduction of conventional plant size for cost and efficiency benefits whilst improving responsiveness and minimising hazards.

Our client list includes businesses from the power generation, chemical, and water treatment industries to engine manufacturers. For example, BP, Chevron, Shell, Petrofac and Total.

Research has been sponsored by organisations such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as well as the European Union.

Working with us

We are a leading research centre for process systems engineering. Our academic experts have years of industrial experience which enables us to understand the specific needs of our clients. We provide solutions for clients at systems level to details such as what hardware or equipment is necessary. This can include testing of equipment and the development of bespoke instrumentation.

We can analyse plant and individual process unit behaviour through our extensive computational and simulation capabilities to offer valuable recommendations.

Training and education is an important part of our service including a master's degree in Process Systems Engineering and a portfolio of short courses in this field. We have developed bespoke training course for clients which can be delivered at Cranfield or client premises.

About our research

Our greatest strength is the ability to combine the academic rigour and long-term perspective of a university with the commercial and business focus of industry.

Our excellence in strategic and applied research has enabled us to make significant contributions to the world around us for over 60 years. We address real life challenges and focus on research that is of strategic and practical importance.

We provide a supportive research community for students and our academic work is regularly published in journal article, book or thesis form.

Our facilities

Our process systems engineering facilities include:

Single Phase Water Facilities – the water flow loop can deliver up to 450 m3/h of water to pipe size up to 300 mm. The flow loop is extensively used in flow meter development.

Multiphase Flow Facility – we have the largest facility within the UK university sector for this purpose. The research work using this facility is mainly concerned with issues related to flow assurance and flow measurement.

DeltaV Plant Management System – the multiphase flow facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art process control and management system, the DelatV automation system from Emerson Process Management, one of the current market leaders. This enables us to address real control challenges directly related to industry in our teaching and research activities.

Find out more about our unique facilities.