A course to teach multidisciplinary skills to engineers from sectors as diverse as utilities, renewables, nuclear, pharmaceuticals and food processing is being run by Aston University.

Called Practical Process Engineering, it is based at the University’s Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) which has on site a bioenergy fully instrumented process plant. The EBRI pilot plant has a 1 MW gasifier – which converts waste fuel into gas – and a 400kW engine for combined heat and power generation.

For timely project delivery and minimum downtimes, industry requires engineers to interact with specialists from different areas of expertise and understand their jargon. With this in mind, the course was created to provide an opportunity to learn a variety of multidisciplinary skills.

The four-day course teaches practical skills that are needed in the workplace. Training is conducted by a team of professionals on reading complex schematics, understanding plant diagrams, different types of equipment and instrumentation, and the way they are integrated in the control system, plus some basic troubleshooting.

Clara Serrano, EBRI plant manager, said: “An integrated knowledge of mechanical, electrical and control engineering is necessary to liaise with professionals from different disciplines and understand systems common to many industries, such as chemical, petrochemical, energy, pharma and food and beverage. This four-day course embodies the interdisciplinary nature of these plants, and the broad range of concepts and technical documentation that are always involved.”

The teaching is done through a combination of theory, workshops and live demonstrations, including the opportunity to operate the plant in cold mode (starting a number of systems without feeding the reactor) from the control room.

The Institution of Chemical Engineers has rated the course as “outstanding” and participants gain 25 CPD hours.  

The course runs in March, June and October every year, starting on 7 to 15 March, followed by 27 to 30 June and further dates in October 2022 to be announced.

More details on the course can be found here.