Develop a successful chemical engineering career

Suitable for all engineering and applied science graduates, the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering will equip you with the skills to address the global chemical engineering challenges of the 21st century. You will develop an advanced understanding of the sustainable supply of clean energy, food and water, through the production of chemicals, functionalised products and fuels. Using our campus pilot plant facilities and benefitting from Cranfield’s strong industry links, you will gain the essential skills and experience to develop a successful global career in a thriving discipline with its high demand for postgraduate level engineers.

The programme is unique in offering two study routes:

  • general chemical engineering route .
  • A biorefining route (Cranfield is the only UK university to offer an MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with biorefining as a dedicated option).


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?

A distinguishing feature of this course is that it is not exclusively designed for chemical engineering graduates. Suitable for all engineering and applied science graduates, this MSc will provide you with the skill sets that employers actively seek in highly desirable engineering graduates, enabling you to embark on a successful career as a chemical engineering professional in industry, government or research. 

You will learn state of the art chemical engineering methods, apply them to real world problems via industrially focused modules and research projects, whilst gaining the essential management skills to bring your ideas to life.

The 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 equips you with a 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. 

Your career

The Advanced Chemical Engineering MSc is based on Cranfield’s industry driven research, which 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 well prepared by the interdisciplinary, project-oriented profile that they will have acquired through this course.

Cranfield Careers Service

Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. We will also work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.

Why this course?

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

With this in mind, we recognise the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. The core and optional modules and their content, have been carefully developed with our industry connections to meet the engineering skill shortage currently faced within the sector. 

In particular, Cranfield is the only university in the UK to offer a MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with a dedicated option in Biorefining option. On this route, you will develop the professional profile required by the growing biobased sector with a high level of skills' transferability across the chemical and energy sectors.

By combining advanced chemical engineering topics, with a thorough underpinning in the management skills required to lead large, complex projects, this course will prepare you for a successful chemical engineering career.

  • Choose from the General or Biorefining route, according to your personal interests and career aspirations,
  • Prepare for real-world chemical engineering challenges via our practical focused modules, using on-campus pilot-scale facilities,
  • Participate in individual and group projects to explore areas of particular interest and develop a track record of project management and delivery,
  • Develop your technology leadership capabilities with the world-renowned Cranfield School of Management.

This MSc is supported by our team of professorial thought leaders, including Professor Vasilije Manovic, who is influential in the field of chemical engineering, and an integral part of this MSc.

"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."

"For a long time I have wanted to make a difference to the world, and make a positive contribution to low-carbon energy generation. I came to Cranfield because of its world-class facilities, expertise in the field of carbon capture and storage, and its excellent links with industry. All of these things combined have allowed me to further my research, apply it to real world challenges and continue the journey towards my ambition."

"The thing that I like the most about our course is that we work in the laboratories and go on site visits. For example, during a recent module we learned about the combustion process of coal and other biomass feedstocks, and were able to carry out a pilot-scale test in the laboratory. We learned about the operations needed, the data that needs to be monitored and recorded throughout the test. Then we visited the biomass power plant of Cranfield to see the system that provides heating for our campus, to really see theory in practise.



Course details

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

MSc course structure diagram

 

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 academic 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 and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Course modules

Biorefining route compulsory modules

Advanced Reaction Kinetics for Energy

Module Leader
  • Dr Peter Clough
Aim

    The module instructs and develops a chemical engineers’ ability to use finite differences numerical modelling to gain a deeper understanding of gas-solid reaction mechanisms and reinforces the value of reaction kinetics, and heat and mass transfer phenomena governing chemical reactions. A particular emphasis of this module is placed on gas-solid reactions with applications in the energy industry that are likely to be faced by Chemical Engineers. The numerical modelling methods covered in the module are key to the initial design and optimisation of a vast number of industrial chemical processes.


Syllabus

    Numerical modelling for chemical engineers
    You will apply combined heat and mass transfer phenomena in complex transient systems, modelled by finite differences methods in MATLAB.

    The transient heat transfer will include time and spatial variable conduction, convection, and radiation terms. The transient mass transfer will include time and spatial variable bulk and Knudsen diffusion. 

    You will model single particle systems covering combustion, catalytic systems, cracking, reforming, CO2 cpature and other gas-solid systems. Within this breadth of systems, you will determine effectiveness factors and investigate the important role of diffusion and gas-solid reactions in order to mitigate rate limiting steps in order to enhance chemical reactions.

    Using their MATLAB codes, you will develop independent research analyses as part of their assessment to determine the impact of variable input parameters such as porosity, temperature, and gas composition. This will develop your numerical modelling specialisms and independent thought and research strengths. 

    You will learn new skills in applying finite differences modelling to uncertain and complex systems and how to set relevant boundary and initial conditions for these systems. You will be able to discretise partial differential equations into ordinary differential equations and programme them into MATLAB such they can be solved with multivariable input adapted functions based on ODE15s. 

    You will explore the limits and real-world accuracy of these modelling techniques, rate expression relationships, and conversion fitting models (shrinking core model, random pore model etc.). You will also learn of the latest research being undertaken to improve the real-world accuracy of these modelling approaches, and will see where these modelling techniques are used in chemical reactor design in industry, and finally how researchers are applying these techniques to gain a deeper understanding of reaction mechanisms.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Implement finite differences numerical modelling in MATLAB for gas-solid chemical reactions in transient systems,
  • Evaluate the effect of gas diffusion, reaction kinetics, and mass and heat transfer phenomena and the limits of knowledge/applicability in these areas,
  • Critique different kinetic models and develop coherent and professional arguments that communicate how one could enhance overall reaction rates by overcoming rate limiting steps or properties of the solid material,
  • Evaluate the latest research in this field and how these numerical methods could be applied to various sectors in the energy industry.

Energy from Biomass and Waste: Thermochemical Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Ying Jiang
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 you 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. As a practical module, you will gain significant practical experiences through lab practical sessions, computer simulation and industrial site visits. 

Syllabus

    Biomass and Waste Resources

    • Practical skills of chemical and physical properties and characteristics of biomass and waste as a fuel,
    • Analytical methods for characterising biomass and wastes,
    • Energy crops for bioenergy production and related ethics/sustainability issues.

    Thermochemical conversion processes

    • Principles and reaction mechanisms of gasification, pyrolysis and combustion,
    • Design principles of thermochemical processes and appropriate full energy system integration (e.g. steam cycle, CHP unit and syngas/bio-oil upgrading).

    Practical and process design experiences

    • Material characterisation (elemental analysis, calorific value, thermal decomposition (TGA) and analytical skills for fuel products characterisation),
    • Process and full energy system design based on material characteristics,
    • Complex chemical and thermal process modelling using ASPEN Plus.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you 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,
  • Design 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.

Sustainability and Environmental Assessment

Module Leader
  • Dr Gill Drew
Aim
    Environmental impact assessment and life cycle analysis are important tools for evaluation of complex renewable energy technologies and chemical processes. The tools and concepts taught in this module will enable you to assess the sustainability of a case study from an environmental standpoint. Tools such environmental impact assessment and life cycle assessment (LCA) are widely applied in the industry to ensure sustainability of their assets over their lifetime. This module aims to introduce you to the modern techniques for environmental assessment. It comprises several hands-on case studies that enable you to develop relevant competencies via hands-on experience. You will also work on a relevant case study that will take you through the entire process assessment process. You will also learn how to account for uncertainty and sensitivity analysis.  
Syllabus
    • Sustainability and business models,
    • Net-zero technologies for sustainable development:
      • CO2 emissions and decarbonisation of transport, power and industrial processes,
      • Acid gases (SO2 and NOX) formation and reduction of their emissions,
      • Particulate matter emissions and control,
      • Waste management,
    • Life cycle analysis, carbon footprinting and environmental impact assessment. 
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Critically assess the emissions and waste production throughout the lifecycle of a technology or process,
  • Apply a quality framework to ensure compliance of the design to regulatory and voluntary requirements,
  • Critically evaluate different environmental appraisal metrics,
  • Design and implement a strategy to assess the environmental sustainability of a process or technology, and evaluate the associated uncertainties. 

Process Design and Simulation 

Module Leader
  • Dr Dawid Hanak
Aim

    This module aims to introduce you 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 you 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 you 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,  
  • Competently apply the basic principles of process optimisation,
  • Design and analyse the performance of a process plant using simulation or optimisation tools.

Bioprocess Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Vinod Kumar
Aim
    The Bioprocess Engineering module focuses on application of Chemical Engineering fundamentals on biological systems, specifically bacterial, yeast and fungal systems. The aim of the module is to teach the application of new process engineering tools to design, develop and analyse bioprocesses which will eventually improve their performance. The module will explains impact of engineering principles on bioproduction beside strain development to achieve pragmatic commercial goals. It covers introduction to fermentation technology, knowledge of microbial growth kinetics (batch, fed-batch, continuous), reaction rates, conversion rate, stoichiometry & yield, engineering behind sterilisation, mass & energy balances for reactor analysis, reactor design & instrumentation, mass & heat transfer in a bioreactor, scale up and recovery of products.
Syllabus

    Bioprocess Engineering and Fermentation Technology:

    What is Bioprocess engineering and Fermentation; How microbes can be exploited for production of fuels, chemicals, energy etc with examples,

    Microbial growth kinetics and Mechanisms of Sterilization:

    Quantification of growth, Kinetics and applications of batch, fed-batch and continuous processes, Medium sterilization; Thermal design of batch and continuous sterilisation process, Sterilization by filtration,

    Design of bioreactor and instrumentation & control:

    Basic functions and bioreactor operation, Parts of bioreactor, Maintenance of aseptic conditions in bioreactor, Types of bioreactor, Methods of measuring and controlling (manual & automatic) process variables such as temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, foam, CO2 etc, online analysis, Process control,

    Material and energy balance in a bioprocess:

    Procedure for material and energy balance calculations with examples, Stoichiometry of growth and product formation, reaction rates, conversion rate,

    Mass and heat transfer in bioreactor:

    Fluid flow and mixing, Rheological properties of fermentation broth, Power requirements for mixing, scale up of mixing systems, Mechanism of heat transfer, Conduction, Heat transfer between fluids, Application of heat design equations for heat transfer systems,

    Transfer Phenomenon in Microbial Systems:

    Oxygen requirements in industrial fermentations, Molecular diffusion in bioprocessing, Oxygen uptake and transfer in microbial cultures, Determination of KLa values, factors affecting KLa,

    Recovery of fermentation products:

    Strategies to recover and purify products, Separation of insoluble products, Cell disruption, Separation of soluble products, Finishing steps for purification, Integration of reaction and separation,

    Bioprocess economics:

    Potential of strain, Market potential of product, Plant & equipment, Media, Air sterilization, Heating & cooling, Aeration & agitation, Batch/Continuous culture, Recovery cost, Recycling, Effluent treatment,

    Risk assessment:

    Before starting experimental work, you will be taught about risk associated while performing the experiments and precautions needed to take to ensure your safety. You will have to complete a risk assessment document before entering the laboratory.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Apply fundamentals of bioprocess engineering concepts for enhancing the bioproduction,
  • Design bioreactor for controlled industrial scale fermentations,
  • Select suitable separation method(s) for maximizing the recovery of fermentation products,
  • Assess the factors affecting bioprocess economics.
 

Biofuels and Biorefining

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 you with advanced knowledge of the sources of biomass available for liquid biofuel 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 production of bio-based chemicals, characterization and assessment; 

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

    First generation biorefinery 

    • Bioethanol production
    • Biobutanol production

    Biodiesel production

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

    Lignocellulosic biorefinery

    • Bioethanol production,
    • Bioproduction of succinic acid,
    • Bioproduction of 2,3-Butanediol,
    • Bioproduction of Lactic acid.

    Algal Biorefineries

    • Technologies for microalgal biomass production,
    • Algal biofuels conversion technologies,

    Food waste biorefineries

    • Manufacturing Platform Chemicals from food wastes.

    Glycerol-based Biorefineries

    • Bioproduction of 1,-3-Propanediol,
    • Bioproduction of 3-Hydroxypropionic acid.

    AD-based biorefineries

    • Biofuel production by AD,
    • Possible feedstocks and challenges.

    Biorefining

    • Classification of Biorefineries,
    • Economic, social and environmental impacts of biorefining.

    Commercial biorefineries.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you 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

Module Leader
  • Dr Richard Adams
Aim

    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisation's products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. As demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm, one of the challenges for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish, whilst also remaining within planned parameters of performance. This module helps to develop your understanding of management processes within an organisational context, so that when you seek employment you are equipped with both the extensive subject/discipline knowledge and the ability to relate it to a management context.


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 and 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), you 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 you 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 yourself 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 your judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Industrial Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Patrick Verdin
Aim

    This module introduces you to 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 modelling: introduction 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 you 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 for Energy

Module Leader
  • Dr Peter Clough
Aim

    The module instructs and develops a chemical engineers’ ability to use finite differences numerical modelling to gain a deeper understanding of gas-solid reaction mechanisms and reinforces the value of reaction kinetics, and heat and mass transfer phenomena governing chemical reactions. A particular emphasis of this module is placed on gas-solid reactions with applications in the energy industry that are likely to be faced by Chemical Engineers. The numerical modelling methods covered in the module are key to the initial design and optimisation of a vast number of industrial chemical processes.


Syllabus

    Numerical modelling for chemical engineers
    You will apply combined heat and mass transfer phenomena in complex transient systems, modelled by finite differences methods in MATLAB.

    The transient heat transfer will include time and spatial variable conduction, convection, and radiation terms. The transient mass transfer will include time and spatial variable bulk and Knudsen diffusion. 

    You will model single particle systems covering combustion, catalytic systems, cracking, reforming, CO2 cpature and other gas-solid systems. Within this breadth of systems, you will determine effectiveness factors and investigate the important role of diffusion and gas-solid reactions in order to mitigate rate limiting steps in order to enhance chemical reactions.

    Using their MATLAB codes, you will develop independent research analyses as part of their assessment to determine the impact of variable input parameters such as porosity, temperature, and gas composition. This will develop your numerical modelling specialisms and independent thought and research strengths. 

    You will learn new skills in applying finite differences modelling to uncertain and complex systems and how to set relevant boundary and initial conditions for these systems. You will be able to discretise partial differential equations into ordinary differential equations and programme them into MATLAB such they can be solved with multivariable input adapted functions based on ODE15s. 

    You will explore the limits and real-world accuracy of these modelling techniques, rate expression relationships, and conversion fitting models (shrinking core model, random pore model etc.). You will also learn of the latest research being undertaken to improve the real-world accuracy of these modelling approaches, and will see where these modelling techniques are used in chemical reactor design in industry, and finally how researchers are applying these techniques to gain a deeper understanding of reaction mechanisms.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Implement finite differences numerical modelling in MATLAB for gas-solid chemical reactions in transient systems,
  • Evaluate the effect of gas diffusion, reaction kinetics, and mass and heat transfer phenomena and the limits of knowledge/applicability in these areas,
  • Critique different kinetic models and develop coherent and professional arguments that communicate how one could enhance overall reaction rates by overcoming rate limiting steps or properties of the solid material,
  • Evaluate the latest research in this field and how these numerical methods could be applied to various sectors in the energy industry.

Separation and Purification Design

Module Leader
  • Professor Vasilije Manovic
Aim
    The module provides the essential knowledge and hands-on skills for design and development of gas separation and purification technologies that are required for the decarbonisation of power and industry sectors, as the prerequisite to meet the net-zero emission target. 

    The module enables you to master the underlying mechanisms of sorption and separation processes, along with the required experimental characterisation and data analysis techniques, and computational modelling. This knowledge will then be applied to design, develop, and evaluate carbon dioxide separation in power (i.e. gas and coal power plants) and industrial (i.e cement, iron and steel) sectors; biogas upgrading; hydrogen purification, and carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage, as case studies. 
     
Syllabus
    • Principles of gas separation and purification:
      • Gas-liquid absorption/adsorption principles, 
      • Gas-solid absorption/adsorption principles.
    • Sorbent characterisation:
      • Design of experiments for characterisation of sorbents for separation and purification processes,
      • Characterisation of non-functional and functional sorbents using techniques such as scanning electron microscopy – energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analysis and Barrett-Joyner-Halenda (BJH) pore size and volume analysis,
      • Data analysis techniques.
    • Design and evaluation of gas separation, purification and storage technologies to achieve net-zero emission target:
      • Carbon dioxide separation in power and industrial sectors,
      • Biogas upgrading,
      • Hydrogen purification,
      • Carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage.
    • Case Studies:
      • Case studies will be carried out using the acquired experimental data, and process simulations.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Apply the principles of gas adsorption and absorption in the design of separation and purification units,
  • Characterise an analysis sorbents for the gas separation process,
  • Critically evaluate the main challenges of carbon dioxide and hydrogen separation and storage in the power and industry sectors,
  • Design and optimise separation and purification processes, contributing to achieving net-zero emission target. 

Sustainability and Environmental Assessment

Module Leader
  • Dr Gill Drew
Aim
    Environmental impact assessment and life cycle analysis are important tools for evaluation of complex renewable energy technologies and chemical processes. The tools and concepts taught in this module will enable you to assess the sustainability of a case study from an environmental standpoint. Tools such environmental impact assessment and life cycle assessment (LCA) are widely applied in the industry to ensure sustainability of their assets over their lifetime. This module aims to introduce you to the modern techniques for environmental assessment. It comprises several hands-on case studies that enable you to develop relevant competencies via hands-on experience. You will also work on a relevant case study that will take you through the entire process assessment process. You will also learn how to account for uncertainty and sensitivity analysis.  
Syllabus
    • Sustainability and business models,
    • Net-zero technologies for sustainable development:
      • CO2 emissions and decarbonisation of transport, power and industrial processes,
      • Acid gases (SO2 and NOX) formation and reduction of their emissions,
      • Particulate matter emissions and control,
      • Waste management,
    • Life cycle analysis, carbon footprinting and environmental impact assessment. 
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Critically assess the emissions and waste production throughout the lifecycle of a technology or process,
  • Apply a quality framework to ensure compliance of the design to regulatory and voluntary requirements,
  • Critically evaluate different environmental appraisal metrics,
  • Design and implement a strategy to assess the environmental sustainability of a process or technology, and evaluate the associated uncertainties. 

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 you 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 you to a wide range of challenges and opportunities in waste heat recovery and energy storage, and provides practical approaches and solutions to enhance the system efficiency.

Syllabus

    Heat exchanger Design and Operation

    • 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),
    • Process integration: heat-exchanger network, utility systems, fundamentals of pinch analysis and energy analysis.

    Waste Heat Recovery and Thermal Storage

    • Waste‑heat recovery: sources of waste heat, heat recovery for industrial applications, energy density considerations, economics of waste-heat recovery,
    • 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

    • Application of refrigeration and air conditioning.
    • Vapour-compression refrigeration systems: simple systems, multi-stage compressor systems, multi-evaporator systems,
    • Refrigerants: halocarbon refrigerants, CFC alternatives, refrigerant-selection criteria,
    • Refrigeration compressors: reciprocating compressors, rotary screw compressors, scroll compressors, vane compressors, centrifugal compressors,
    • Absorption refrigeration: the absorption process, properties of fluid-pair solutions, the basic absorption cycle, double-effect systems, advances in absorption-refrigeration technology,
    • Psychrometry and principle Air-conditioning processes: psychrometry, heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification processes.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you 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

    This module aims to introduce you 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 you 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 you 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,  
  • Competently apply 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 Stuart Wagland
Aim

    This practical-focused module provides you 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, you 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 you 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,
  • Demonstrate and critically evaluate the application of software packages relevant to chemical engineering for upscale design from pilot-scale results to demonstration and commercial scale plants.

Management for Technology

Module Leader
  • Dr Richard Adams
Aim

    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisation's products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. As demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm, one of the challenges for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish, whilst also remaining within planned parameters of performance. This module helps to develop your understanding of management processes within an organisational context, so that when you seek employment you are equipped with both the extensive subject/discipline knowledge and the ability to relate it to a management context.


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 and 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), you 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 you 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 yourself 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 your judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Industrial Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Patrick Verdin
Aim

    This module introduces you to 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 modelling: introduction 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 you 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.

Accreditation

This MSc is accredited by The Energy Institute 

Energy Institute logo

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.