Study an Energy and Power MSc at Cranfield

Chemical Engineering is key in addressing global challenges relating to sustainable supply of clean energy, food and water, through the production of chemicals, functionalised products and fuels. The MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering provides technical and management training that employers increasingly demand from chemical engineers.

The programme offers two elective study routes:

The general chemical engineering route covers core chemical engineering subjects with a focus on theoretical and practical elements in operation, design and control of a wide range of chemical processes.

The biorefining route provides advanced understanding of the production of bioenergy and biofuels while strengthening the knowledge on chemical engineering discipline. Cranfield’s strong reputation and links with industry provide outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers.




Overview

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: October
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught Modules 40%, Group Project 20%, Individual Research Project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

The course is suitable for engineering and applied science graduates who wish to embark on successful careers as chemical engineering professionals.

Our general chemical engineering route equips you with diversified skills in advanced engineering, which includes theoretical and practical elements in operation, design, and control of a wide range of chemical processes.

The biorefining route (formerly the Biofuels Process Engineering MSc) equips you with fundamental understanding of chemical engineering and solid skills to address the challenges of the rapidly growing and dynamic bioenergy sector. This option covers the sustainable production of heat, power and fuels from biomass within the biorefining framework.

Both routes include training in management applied to the energy sector which enables engineers to effectively fulfil a wider role in a business organisation.


Your career

Industry driven research makes our graduates some of the most desirable in the world for recruitment by companies competing in a range of industries, including chemicals, petrochemicals, biochemicals, conventional energy and bioenergy, food, materials, consultancy and management.

Those wishing to continue their education via PhD or MBA studies in the chemical or energy sectors will be greatly facilitated by the interdisciplinary, project-oriented profile that they will have acquired through this course.

Cranfield Careers Service
Our Careers Service can help you find the job you want after leaving Cranfield. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.We have been providing Masters level training for over 20 years. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. The increasing interest in sustainability and corporate and social responsibility has also enhanced the career prospects of our graduates.

Why this course?

Chemical engineering is a continuously evolving discipline linked to a variety of industries. Chemical engineers lead the design of large-scale facilities in the chemical, petrochemical, and industrial biotechnology sectors.

A distinguished feature of this course is that it is not directed exclusively at chemical engineering graduates. This MSc will provide you with the training and knowledge skill set that employers actively seek in a desirable engineering graduate. We recognise the importance of an interdisciplinary approach; as such the core and optional modules and course contents have been carefully developed to meet the engineering skill shortage currently faced within industry. In particular, no other university in the UK offers a MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with a dedicated option in Biorefining. You will develop the professional profile required by the growing biobased sector (more than 480,000 jobs and annual turnover of about €50 million only in the European Union), with a high level of skills' transferability across the chemical and energy sectors.

Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university with distinctive expertise in technology and management. There are also numerous benefits associated with undertaking a postgraduate programme of study in here. These include:

  • Teaching activities involving bespoke pilot plant facilities
  • Undertaking projects in consultation with industry, government and its agencies, local authorities and consultants
  • Lecturing from leading academics and industrial practitioners
  • Dedicated support for off-campus learners including extensive information resources managed by our library.
  • Very well located for part-time students which enables students from all over the world to complete their qualification whilst balancing work/life commitments.
  • A Career Development Service, which is an accredited member of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and provides a personalised service to Cranfield students and alumni, working to enhance careers and increase opportunities. 

Course details

The taught programme is delivered from October to February and is comprised of eight modules.

There are five one-week modules that are mostly delivered in the early part of the year and cover the essential information to complete the degree.  These are intensive weeks with lectures typically all day. During this period, there are some weeks without modules, and these are largely free of structured teaching to allow time for more independent learning and reflection, completion of assignments or exam preparation.  

There are three two-week modules that take place later in the academic year and involve more active problem-based learning and typically include practical or laboratory sessions, case studies or group work.  These are an opportunity for you to apply and integrate your knowledge.  These modules are all assessed by assignments that are completed during the two-week period.  The focus on group work and application within these modules provides a valuable transition into the Group Project.

Course delivery

Taught Modules 40%, Group Project 20%, Individual Research Project 40%

Group project

The Group Project, undertaken between February and May, enables you to put the skills and knowledge developed during the course modules into practice in an applied context, while gaining transferable skills in project management, teamwork and independent research. Projects are often supported by industry and potential future employers value this experience. The group project is normally multidisciplinary and shared across the Energy MSc programme, giving the added benefit of working with students with other backgrounds.

Each group is given an industrially relevant problem to solve. During the project you will develop a range of skills including learning how to establish team member roles and responsibilities, project management, and delivering technical presentations. At the end of the project, all groups submit a written report and deliver a poster presentation to industry partners. This presentation provides the opportunity to develop presentation skills and effectively handle questions about complex issues in a professional manner.

Part-time students are encouraged to participate in a Group Project as it provides a wealth of learning opportunities. However, an option of an individual dissertation is available if agreed with the Course Director.

Recent Group Projects include:

Individual project

The individual research project allows students to investigate deeper into an area of specific interest. It is very common for industrial partners to put forward real world problems or areas of development as potential research project topics. The individual research project component takes place between May and September.

If agreed with the Course Director, part-time students have the opportunity to undertake projects in collaboration with their place of work, which would be supported by academic supervision.

Individual research projects undertaken may involve feasibility assessments, reviews, practical evaluations, designs, simulations, and experimental investigations.

Previous individual research projects include:

  • Microwave-assisted hydrothermal liquefaction of microalgae,
  • Co-pyrolysis of biomass and oil sand bitumen,
  • Production of a H2-rich gas from steam gasification of biomass with CO2 removal,
  • Techno-economic analysis of hydrogen production from steam gasification of fast pyrolysis bio-oil,
  • Co-upgrading of heavy oil and bio-oil: synergies and challenges of the technology,
  • Design and simulation of a process plant to obtain jet fuel from microalgae biomass,
  • Design of a lab scale setup for Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) of Isochorysis and Pavlova, algae species and analysis of the products obtained from the process,
  • Comparison of microalgae biomass production using organic manure and anaerobic digestate organic fertilisers as nutrient sources,
  • Algem™ - Developing multi-parametric simulations of global microalgae productivity,
  • Developing a technology platform for large scale ultrasonic-assisted extraction of chemicals from olive mill waste.

Modules

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2018–2019. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2019 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.


Course modules

Biorefining route compulsory modules

Advanced Reaction Kinetics

Module Leader
  • Dr Peter Clough
Aim

    The module provides an understanding of the principles of chemical reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, and heat and mass transfer phenomena governing chemical reactions. A particular emphasis will be placed on multiphase catalytic flow reactions with applications in the energy industry that are likely to be faced by Chemical Engineers. The principles covered in the module are key to the design and optimisation of all industrial chemical processes.

Syllabus

    Differential calculus refresher

    Set workshop problems, integration and differentiation, algebraic manipulation. 

    Kinetic theory and thermodynamics

    Rate laws, Arrhenius equation, reaction order and stoichiometry, collision integrals, kinetic models - shrinking core model, random pore model,

    Computer modelling – FactSage, Thermovader, Eureqa, Fenics (Dolphin), Density Function Theory. 

    Mass transfer phenomena

    Fick’s law, diffusion/convection, steady and unsteady state, transient conditions through a material in fluid flow, effectiveness factors, diffusion effects in porous catalysts, diffusion effects in heterogeneous reactions, effective diffusivity, adsorption models – Langmuir Hinshelwood model. 

    Heat transfer phenomena

    Steady and unsteady state via conduction, convection, radiation, transient conditions through a material in fluid flow.

    Catalytic reactions

    Examples from industry, predominately heterogeneous - steam methane reforming, cat cracking, 

    Catalytic processes, and catalyst development, 

    Catalyst deactivation.

    Numerical modelling 

    Finite differences, volumes and elements methods, MATLAB ODE solvers, building transient models in MATLAB.

    Reaction kinetics derivation from experimental data

    Signal processing and deconvolution, residence time distributions, 

    Experimental kinetics data analysis tutorial.


Intended learning outcomes

The intended learning outcomes of this module are:

  • To implement  fundamental chemical principals of reactions to transient systems,
  • To evaluate the effect of catalysts, and mass and heat transfer phenomena on reaction kinetics,
  • To critique varying kinetic models and resistances to reaction rates for different processes,
  • To implement and evaluate combined heat and mass transfer with reaction models using the finite differences method in MATLAB,
  • To link reaction kinetics with specific energy applications.

Energy from Biomass and Waste: Thermochemical Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Peter Clough
Aim

    The module focuses on the opportunities and potential for biomass and waste to contribute to the production of renewable heat and electricity. The aim of the module is to provide students with an advanced knowledge of the sources of biomass and waste, and the range of technologies available for their conversion into bioenergy, particularly focused on thermochemical conversion.

Syllabus

    Biomass and Waste Resources:

    • Definition of chemical and physical properties and characteristics of biomass and waste as a fuel
    • Analytical methods for characterising biomass and wastes
    • Comparison to conventional fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
    • Energy crops for bioenergy production

    Principles of thermochemical conversion processes

    • Pyrolysis
    • Gasification
    • Combustion

    Combustion Technology

    • Description of main combustion technology
    • Co-firing
    • Energy conversion systems and combined heat and power (CHP)

    Gasification Technology

    • Description of main gasification technology
    • Definition of synthesis gas (producer gas)
    • Co-gasification and IGCC

    Pyrolysis Technology

    • Description of main pyrolysis technology
    • Slow pyrolysis for char production
    • Fast pyrolysis for bio-oil production

    Fundamentals of hydrogen production and fuel cells

    • Thermochemical generation methods
    • Biological methods
    • Fuel cell technology
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Evaluate and select the most appropriate biomass and waste materials for energy conversion application;
  • Critically review the principles and technologies for biomass and waste conversion into bioenergy, and compare to fossil fuel technologies;
  • Recognize and assess appropriate energy conversion systems for bioenergy production from biomass and waste;
  • Develop and apply analytical skills to carry out mass balance and thermodynamics calculations for bioenergy conversion systems.

Evaluating Environmental Sustainability

Module Leader
  • Dr Adrian Williams
Aim

    Several methods exist to assess the environmental sustainability and impacts of products, services, businesses, projects, policies and economic systems. Each was conceived and developed for specific environmental objectives (see indicative content). A sustainability manager or sustainability consultant must be able to assess critically each of these methods and identify their strengths and weaknesses, and hence to choose which method to adopt when faced with the need to address an environmental issue.


Syllabus
    • Life cycle assessment including carbon footprint and water footprint
    • Ecological footprint
    • Environment impact assessment
     


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Evaluate the main methods used in sustainability assessments and reports,
  • Identify the appropriate methods to assess the environmental issues for specific products, services, systems or policies,
  • Critically interpret sustainability claims of products, services and policies on the basis of the environmental assessment methods used.


Process Design and Simulation 

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim
    Process design, simulation and modelling are industrially-relevant tools to assess the techno-economic feasibility of complex engineering processes. These enable assessing the project feasibility and optimising the process plant design before the actual process plant is build. These tools are widely applied in the industry to assess a number of process variants and to select the most efficient and cost-effective option. This module aims to introduce the students to the modern techniques and computer aided engineering tools for the design, simulation and optimisation of process systems. Via a large share of process simulation and optimisation case studies, the module will enable the students to gather the hands-on experience of using the commercial software.
Syllabus
    Process Design
    • Overview: Conceptual process design. Process flow-sheeting.
    • Process synthesis: Overview of a process system. Recycle structure of the flowsheet. Design of reaction and separation systems.
    • Process integration: Basic concepts of process integration for heat exchanger network design.
    • Process economic analysis: Equipment capital cost estimation. Process profitability analysis.
    Process Modelling, Simulation and Optimisation
    • Modelling and simulation: Basic concepts of process modelling. General concepts of simulation. Introduction to steady and dynamic process simulation. Introduction to commercial simulation software packages (i.e, Aspen HYSYS) for process flow-sheeting, design and analysis.
    • Process optimisation techniques: Basic principles of optimisation. Presentation of a number of industrial case studies. (e.g., heat exchanges network synthesis).
    Case Studies (PC Lab and Demonstration Sessions)
    • A number of process simulation and optimisation case studies will be carried out using Aspen HYSYS and Aspen Plus. 

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Formulate strategies to carry out a process design and critically appraise the techniques and major commercial simulation tools for steady and dynamic process simulation. 
  • Apply competently the basic principles of process optimisation.
  • Design and analyse the performance of a process plant using simulation or optimisation tools.

Pilot Plant Operations

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim
    This practical-focused module provides students with a critical understanding of the key differences and challenges in pilot-scale working.  The module uses several pilot-scale energy facilities at Cranfield, aligned to the aims of the courses attending the module; covering thermochemical and biochemical processes. In addition to operating the facilities, students will conduct a laboratory exercise to characterise the input and output materials (e.g. waste feedstock and solid residues) in parallel with a group exercise of monitoring and operating the pilot facility. Where appropriate there will be a visit to an external site, such as a waste management facility, to collect samples for analysis in the laboratory and within the pilot plant(s). 
Syllabus

    Policies and legislation regarding the environmental, health and safety responsibilities of operating at pilot to commercial-scale;

    • Moving from the laboratory to pilot-scale;
    • The Cranfield facilities- fluidised-bed and downdraft gasification, anaerobic digestion and chemical looping rig;
    • Understanding the chemical/physical parameters of feedstock and how these are used to identify suitable process options;
    • Explored further as part of a laboratory session covering feedstock characterisation;
    • Management of post-energy recovery residues (bottom ash, fly ash, digestate etc);
    • Technical/scientific writing and reporting skills.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Explain the key thermo/bio-chemical processes involved in recovering energy from biomass and wastes;
  • Critically evaluate the main operational challenges in operating thermal and biochemical processes;
  • Discuss and assess the properties of input materials, outline the relevance of the data obtained and critically analyse how feedstock parameters effect the output gases and solid residues.

Biofuels and Biorefining Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Vinod Kumar
Aim

    The Biofuels and Biorefining module focuses on liquid biofuels as a current opportunity to decrease greenhouse gasses emissions when used to replace fossil fuels in motor engines, and as a route to fulfil the European goals on the use of renewable energy.

    The aim of the module is to provide students with advanced knowledge of the sources of biomass available for liquid biofuels production and the range of technologies used for conversion of the biomass into biofuels. The module covers characteristics of biomass and biofuels, conversion processes and existing technologies, and applications of biofuels including their use in alternative engines. In addition, an introduction to the biorefining concept will be provided.

Syllabus

    Raw materials for liquid biofuels production, characterisation and assessment:

    • Biofuel feedstocks and characteristics: starch- and sugar-derived biomass,oleaginous-based biomass, lignocellulosic biomass, and algae.
    • Sugar, Fatty acid, and Syngas platforms technologies

    First generation of biofuels:

    Bioethanol and ETBE production

    • Enzymes for fermentation 
    • Microbial modelling of bioethanol: microbial growth models, kinetic rare expression, temperature effects.
    • Bioreactor operation and design for bioethanol production

    Biodiesel production

    • Biodiesel production technologies: biochemical, and catalytic and non-catalytic chemical processes. 
    • Biodiesel production: biochemical aspects.
    • Biodiesel production: chemistry and thermodynamic aspects.

    Second generation of biofuels:

    • Thermochemical routes: Biomass-to-Liquids
    • Biochemical routes: Hydrolysis processes

    Third generation of biofuels:

    • Hydrothermal Liquefaction

    Biofuels and their application in engines

    • Standardization of liquid biofuels
    • Use of biofuels in engines

    High-value products from biomass feedstock

    • Main products
    • Current and prospective markets

    Biorefining

    • Classification of Biorefineries
    • Economic, social and environmental impacts of biorefining
    • Commercial biorefineries
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Identify the range of biomass resources available for liquid biofuels production;
  • Critically evaluate a range of technologies available for liquid biofuels production from biomass and analyse the potential for future reduction in costs through technological development;
  • Explain the main theoretical concepts and practical implementation associated with biofuels engineering systems;
  • Identify the high-value products that can be obtained from biomass feedstock
  • Construct simple biorefining schemes and critically evaluate the potential of biorefining processes.

Management for Technology

Aim
    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisations products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. Demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm.  The challenge for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish but also to remain within planned parameters of performance.  Many organisations engaged with technological innovation struggle to find engineers with the right skills.  Specifically, engineers have extensive subject/discipline knowledge but do not understand management processes in organisational context.  In addition, STEM graduates often lack interpersonal skills.
Syllabus
    • Engineers and Technologists in organisations: The role of organisations and the challenges facing engineers and technologies.
    • People management: Understanding you. Understanding other people. Working in teams. Dealing with conflicts.
    • The Business Environment: Understanding the business environment; identifying key trends and their implications for the organisation.
    • Strategy and Marketing: Developing effective strategies; Focusing on the customer; building competitive advantage; The role of strategic assets.
    • Finance: Profit and loss accounts. Balance sheets. Cash flow forecasting.Project appraisal.
    • New product development: Commercialising technology. Market drivers. Time to market. Focusing technology. Concerns.
    • Business game: Working in teams (companies), students will set up and run a technology company and make decisions on investment, R&D funding, operations, marketing and sales strategy.
    • Negotiation: Preparation for Negotiations. Negotiation process. Win-Win solutions.
    • Presentation skills: Understanding your audience. Focusing your message. Successful presentations. Getting your message across.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of teamwork in the performance and success of organisations with particular reference to commercialising technological innovation.
  • Operate as an effective team member, recognising the contribution of individuals within the team, and capable of developing team working skills in themselves and others to improve the overall performance of a team.
  • Compare and evaluate the impact of the key functional areas (strategy, marketing and finance) on the commercial performance of an organisation, relevant to the manufacture of a product or provision of a technical service.
  • Design and deliver an effective presentation that justifies and supports any decisions or recommendations made
  • Argue and defend their judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Industrial Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Patrick Verdin
Aim
    To introduce the CFD techniques and tools for modelling, simulating and analysing practical engineering problems with hands on experience using commercial software packages used in industry.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to CFD & thermo-fluids: Introduction to the physics of thermo-fluids, governing equations (continuity, momentum, energy and species conservation) and state of the art Computational Fluid Dynamics including modelling, grid generation, simulation, and high performance computing.  Case study of industrial problems related to energy, process systems, offshore engineering, and the physical processes where CFD can be used.
    • Computational Engineering Exercise: specification for a CFD simulation. Requirements for accurate analysis and validation for multi scale problems. Introduction to Turbulence & practical applications of Turbulence Models: Introduction to Turbulence and turbulent flows. Traditional turbulence modelling. 
    • Advanced Turbulence ModellingIntroduction to Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations and large-eddy simulation (LES).
    • Practical sessions: Fluid process problems are solved employing the widely-used industrial flow solver software FLUENT. Lectures are followed by practical sessions on single/multiphase flows, heat transfer, to set up and simulate a problem incrementally.  Practical sessions cover the entire CFD process including geometric modelling, grid generation, flow solver, analysis, validation and visualisation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Assemble and evaluate the different components of the CFD process.
  • Explain the governing equations for fluid flows and how to solve them computationally.
  • Compare and contrast various methods for simulating turbulent flows applicable to mechanical and process engineering.
  • Set up simulations and evaluate a practical problem using a commercial CFD package.
  • Design CFD modelling studies for use in industrial design of complex systems.

General route compulsory modules

Advanced Reaction Kinetics

Module Leader
  • Dr Peter Clough
Aim

    The module provides an understanding of the principles of chemical reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, and heat and mass transfer phenomena governing chemical reactions. A particular emphasis will be placed on multiphase catalytic flow reactions with applications in the energy industry that are likely to be faced by Chemical Engineers. The principles covered in the module are key to the design and optimisation of all industrial chemical processes.

Syllabus

    Differential calculus refresher

    Set workshop problems, integration and differentiation, algebraic manipulation. 

    Kinetic theory and thermodynamics

    Rate laws, Arrhenius equation, reaction order and stoichiometry, collision integrals, kinetic models - shrinking core model, random pore model,

    Computer modelling – FactSage, Thermovader, Eureqa, Fenics (Dolphin), Density Function Theory. 

    Mass transfer phenomena

    Fick’s law, diffusion/convection, steady and unsteady state, transient conditions through a material in fluid flow, effectiveness factors, diffusion effects in porous catalysts, diffusion effects in heterogeneous reactions, effective diffusivity, adsorption models – Langmuir Hinshelwood model. 

    Heat transfer phenomena

    Steady and unsteady state via conduction, convection, radiation, transient conditions through a material in fluid flow.

    Catalytic reactions

    Examples from industry, predominately heterogeneous - steam methane reforming, cat cracking, 

    Catalytic processes, and catalyst development, 

    Catalyst deactivation.

    Numerical modelling 

    Finite differences, volumes and elements methods, MATLAB ODE solvers, building transient models in MATLAB.

    Reaction kinetics derivation from experimental data

    Signal processing and deconvolution, residence time distributions, 

    Experimental kinetics data analysis tutorial.


Intended learning outcomes

The intended learning outcomes of this module are:

  • To implement  fundamental chemical principals of reactions to transient systems,
  • To evaluate the effect of catalysts, and mass and heat transfer phenomena on reaction kinetics,
  • To critique varying kinetic models and resistances to reaction rates for different processes,
  • To implement and evaluate combined heat and mass transfer with reaction models using the finite differences method in MATLAB,
  • To link reaction kinetics with specific energy applications.

Advanced Control Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Liyun Lao
Aim
    To introduce fundamental concepts, principles, methodologies, and application for the design of advanced control systems for industrial applications.
Syllabus
    • System dynamics: Modelling of typical physical systems. Operating point. Linearization. Differential equation representation. State space representation of systems. Laplace transforms. Transfer functions. Block diagrams. SISO and MIMO systems. Time and frequency domain responses of systems.
    • Feedback control: Positive and negative feedback. Stability. Methods for stability analysis. Closed loop performance specification. PID controllers. Ziegler-Nichols. Self-tuning methods.
    • Enhanced controllers: Cascade control. Feedforward control. Control of non-linear systems. Control of systems with delay.
    • Digital controllers: Effects of sampling. Implementation of PID controller. Stability and tuning.
    • Advanced control topics: Hierarchical control. Kalman filter. System Identification. Model predictive control. Statistical process control. The use of expert systems and neural networks in industrial control.
    • Design packages for process control systems: Examples including Simulink and MATLAB.
    • Case studies: Examples will be chosen from a range of industrial systems including mechanical, chemical and fluid systems.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Evaluate and select appropriate modelling techniques for dynamic systems
  • Formulate control methodologies in feedback, feedforward and cascade loops
  • Recognise and critically appraise the key design tools and procedures for continuous and discrete controllers of dynamic systems.

Process Plant Operations

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim

    To provide an overview of the fundamental principles of typical unit operations in process plants.

Syllabus
    • Overview of process plant operations: Equipment for resource recovery. Raw material preparation.. Downstream processing. Effluent control and services.
    • Contactors:  Stirred vessels (impeller design, flow patterns, flow and turbulence, power input, mixing, gas-liquid and liquid-liquid contact, non-Newtonian fluids). Fluidised beds. Packed beds. Bubbling columns. Two-phase flow. Pulsed columns. Rotating disc and Rushton-Oldshue columns.
    • Evaporators: Design of heating calandria. Climbing film. Boiling heat fluxes. Multiple effect. Scraped film. Vapour recompressions.
    • Crystallisers: Cooling and evaporative. Solubilities. Primary and secondary nucleation. Crystal growth. Size distributions. Precipitation.
    • Dryers: Batch drying. Constant and falling rates. Diffusion in pores. Adiabatic saturation. Continuous drying. Pneumatic dryers. Spray dryers. Evaporation from single drop. Droplet trajectories.  Freeze dryers.
    • Thickeners: Design of sedimentation basins. Motion of particles in fluids. Stoke's law. Hindered settling. Size of basing.
    • Filters: Review of designs. Darcy's and Ruth's equations. Incompressible and compressible cakes constant rate and constant pressure.
    • Centrifugal separators: Centrifugal principles. Basket. Disc stack. Horizontal bowl. Batch and continuous operations.
    • Effluent control: Gas absorption. Packed columns. Hydraulics. Flooding. Mass transfer. Solubility. Cyclones and hydrocyclones. Coalescer designs for liquid-liquid separation. De-misters.
    • Services: Simultaneous heat and mass transfer in humidification and water cooling. Design of water cooling towers.
    • Scale-up: General rules and specific procedures.
    • Distillation: Vapour-liquid equilibrium. Types of Distillation. Distillation with Reflux. Distillation column design and operation. 
    • Case Study:  Selection of operating conditions for an ammonia synthesis process.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate detailed design features and operating characteristics of the main components of process plants.
  • Critically evaluate the limitations and operating difficulties inherent in process equipment and how to overcome operational problems for industrial processes.
  • Carry out design calculations for a wide range of process plant equipment.
  • Identify the most appropriate equipment components for a given process plant application.

Thermal Systems Operation and Design

Module Leader
  • Dr Ali Nabavi
Aim
    Design of optimum thermal and energy storage systems is one of the key prerequisites to enhance the performance and efficiency of conventional and future energy systems. This module aims to enable students to combine and apply the principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics in the design and optimisation of commercial thermal systems. In addition, the module introduces students to a wide range of challenges and opportunities in waste heat recovery and energy storage, and provides them with practical approaches and solutions to enhance the system efficiency.
Syllabus

    Heat exchanger Design and Operation

    1. Heat exchangers: Classification. Theoretical principles and design of recuperative systems (effectiveness, NTU and capacity ratio approach for parallel-, counter- and cross-flow configurations). Series cross‑flow arrangements. Regenerative heat exchangers (intermittent and continuous systems). Pressure‑loss assessment. Heat‑exchanger optimisation (optimal pressure drop and surface area to maximise economic returns.
    2. Process integration: Heat-exchanger network. Utility systems. Fundamentals of pinch analysis and Energy Analysis.

    Waste Heat Recovery and Thermal Storage

    1. Waste‑heat recovery: Sources of waste heat. Heat recovery for industrial applications. Energy density considerations. Economics of waste-heat recovery.
    2. Thermal storage: Principles and application to hot and cold systems. Storage duration and scale. Sensible and latent heat systems.Phase-change storage materials. Application to source and load matching.

    Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

    1. Application of refrigeration and air conditioning.
    2. Vapour-compression refrigeration systems: Simple systems. Multi-stage compressor systems. Multi-evaporator systems.
    3. Refrigerants:Halocarbon refrigerants. CFC alternatives. Refrigerant-selection criteria.
    4. Refrigeration compressors: Reciprocating compressors. Rotary screw compressors. Scroll compressors. Vane compressors. Centrifugal compressors.
    5. Absorption refrigeration: The absorption process. Properties of fluid-pair solutions. The basic absorption cycle. Double-effect systems.Advances in absorption-refrigeration technology.
    6. Psychrometry and principle Air-conditioning processes: Psychrometry. Heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification processes.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Analyse and design heat exchangers, competently applying the principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics
  • Construct optimised heat exchanger networks by applying principles of process integration
  • Recognise and debate  the issues related to the efficient use of thermal energy and appraise  techniques and technologies employed
  • Design and analyse the performance of refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Process Design and Simulation 

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim
    Process design, simulation and modelling are industrially-relevant tools to assess the techno-economic feasibility of complex engineering processes. These enable assessing the project feasibility and optimising the process plant design before the actual process plant is build. These tools are widely applied in the industry to assess a number of process variants and to select the most efficient and cost-effective option. This module aims to introduce the students to the modern techniques and computer aided engineering tools for the design, simulation and optimisation of process systems. Via a large share of process simulation and optimisation case studies, the module will enable the students to gather the hands-on experience of using the commercial software.
Syllabus
    Process Design
    • Overview: Conceptual process design. Process flow-sheeting.
    • Process synthesis: Overview of a process system. Recycle structure of the flowsheet. Design of reaction and separation systems.
    • Process integration: Basic concepts of process integration for heat exchanger network design.
    • Process economic analysis: Equipment capital cost estimation. Process profitability analysis.
    Process Modelling, Simulation and Optimisation
    • Modelling and simulation: Basic concepts of process modelling. General concepts of simulation. Introduction to steady and dynamic process simulation. Introduction to commercial simulation software packages (i.e, Aspen HYSYS) for process flow-sheeting, design and analysis.
    • Process optimisation techniques: Basic principles of optimisation. Presentation of a number of industrial case studies. (e.g., heat exchanges network synthesis).
    Case Studies (PC Lab and Demonstration Sessions)
    • A number of process simulation and optimisation case studies will be carried out using Aspen HYSYS and Aspen Plus. 

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Formulate strategies to carry out a process design and critically appraise the techniques and major commercial simulation tools for steady and dynamic process simulation. 
  • Apply competently the basic principles of process optimisation.
  • Design and analyse the performance of a process plant using simulation or optimisation tools.

Pilot Plant Operations

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim
    This practical-focused module provides students with a critical understanding of the key differences and challenges in pilot-scale working.  The module uses several pilot-scale energy facilities at Cranfield, aligned to the aims of the courses attending the module; covering thermochemical and biochemical processes. In addition to operating the facilities, students will conduct a laboratory exercise to characterise the input and output materials (e.g. waste feedstock and solid residues) in parallel with a group exercise of monitoring and operating the pilot facility. Where appropriate there will be a visit to an external site, such as a waste management facility, to collect samples for analysis in the laboratory and within the pilot plant(s). 
Syllabus

    Policies and legislation regarding the environmental, health and safety responsibilities of operating at pilot to commercial-scale;

    • Moving from the laboratory to pilot-scale;
    • The Cranfield facilities- fluidised-bed and downdraft gasification, anaerobic digestion and chemical looping rig;
    • Understanding the chemical/physical parameters of feedstock and how these are used to identify suitable process options;
    • Explored further as part of a laboratory session covering feedstock characterisation;
    • Management of post-energy recovery residues (bottom ash, fly ash, digestate etc);
    • Technical/scientific writing and reporting skills.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Explain the key thermo/bio-chemical processes involved in recovering energy from biomass and wastes;
  • Critically evaluate the main operational challenges in operating thermal and biochemical processes;
  • Discuss and assess the properties of input materials, outline the relevance of the data obtained and critically analyse how feedstock parameters effect the output gases and solid residues.

Management for Technology

Aim
    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisations products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. Demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm.  The challenge for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish but also to remain within planned parameters of performance.  Many organisations engaged with technological innovation struggle to find engineers with the right skills.  Specifically, engineers have extensive subject/discipline knowledge but do not understand management processes in organisational context.  In addition, STEM graduates often lack interpersonal skills.
Syllabus
    • Engineers and Technologists in organisations: The role of organisations and the challenges facing engineers and technologies.
    • People management: Understanding you. Understanding other people. Working in teams. Dealing with conflicts.
    • The Business Environment: Understanding the business environment; identifying key trends and their implications for the organisation.
    • Strategy and Marketing: Developing effective strategies; Focusing on the customer; building competitive advantage; The role of strategic assets.
    • Finance: Profit and loss accounts. Balance sheets. Cash flow forecasting.Project appraisal.
    • New product development: Commercialising technology. Market drivers. Time to market. Focusing technology. Concerns.
    • Business game: Working in teams (companies), students will set up and run a technology company and make decisions on investment, R&D funding, operations, marketing and sales strategy.
    • Negotiation: Preparation for Negotiations. Negotiation process. Win-Win solutions.
    • Presentation skills: Understanding your audience. Focusing your message. Successful presentations. Getting your message across.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of teamwork in the performance and success of organisations with particular reference to commercialising technological innovation.
  • Operate as an effective team member, recognising the contribution of individuals within the team, and capable of developing team working skills in themselves and others to improve the overall performance of a team.
  • Compare and evaluate the impact of the key functional areas (strategy, marketing and finance) on the commercial performance of an organisation, relevant to the manufacture of a product or provision of a technical service.
  • Design and deliver an effective presentation that justifies and supports any decisions or recommendations made
  • Argue and defend their judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Industrial Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Patrick Verdin
Aim
    To introduce the CFD techniques and tools for modelling, simulating and analysing practical engineering problems with hands on experience using commercial software packages used in industry.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to CFD & thermo-fluids: Introduction to the physics of thermo-fluids, governing equations (continuity, momentum, energy and species conservation) and state of the art Computational Fluid Dynamics including modelling, grid generation, simulation, and high performance computing.  Case study of industrial problems related to energy, process systems, offshore engineering, and the physical processes where CFD can be used.
    • Computational Engineering Exercise: specification for a CFD simulation. Requirements for accurate analysis and validation for multi scale problems. Introduction to Turbulence & practical applications of Turbulence Models: Introduction to Turbulence and turbulent flows. Traditional turbulence modelling. 
    • Advanced Turbulence ModellingIntroduction to Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations and large-eddy simulation (LES).
    • Practical sessions: Fluid process problems are solved employing the widely-used industrial flow solver software FLUENT. Lectures are followed by practical sessions on single/multiphase flows, heat transfer, to set up and simulate a problem incrementally.  Practical sessions cover the entire CFD process including geometric modelling, grid generation, flow solver, analysis, validation and visualisation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Assemble and evaluate the different components of the CFD process.
  • Explain the governing equations for fluid flows and how to solve them computationally.
  • Compare and contrast various methods for simulating turbulent flows applicable to mechanical and process engineering.
  • Set up simulations and evaluate a practical problem using a commercial CFD package.
  • Design CFD modelling studies for use in industrial design of complex systems.

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Students on campus

The whole course was ideal for me. Getting involved with something you desire is enjoyable and inspiring. The individual projects, group projects and educational trips helped me comprehend practical matters of the modules and learn how to collaborate efficiently. In general it was utterly exciting and a source of experiences.

Christina Andreadou,