Skip to main content


CME3032 : Process Design & Economics

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sharon Velasquez Orta
  • Lecturer: Dr Richard Law, Dr Mark Willis
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
ECTS Credits: 8.0


To understand the need for thorough planning and work monitoring when executing complex tasks, and to have students actively plan and monitor their own design projects.
To understand methods of plant costing and process economics and use the techniques for equipment and process selection.
To understand design as a process.
To understand the need for data protection and IP strategy in an industrial context
To further develop skills in computer aided process design.
To develop an understanding of the principles of standard optimisation techniques. To understand where the techniques can be beneficially applied within the context of process design and operation.

The module covers aspects of process design methodology including design processes and decision support. Design optimisation lectures are supported by a practical exercise utilising a process flow sheet simulator. Tools for economic evaluation of projects are introduced, together with the elements of project management. Lectures by visiting industrialist will cover methods for data management and protection in industry.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to project planning and project management.

Introduction to a range of basic decision-making methods from a theoretical as well as practical point of view. Use of software tools to enable practice and exploration of the methods.

Methods for assessing the economics of proposed designs, involving cost and time estimation, leading to financial appraisal.

Revision session on the use of HYSYS process flow sheet software. Development of process flow diagrams, selection of process steps. Computer aided optimisation of process flow sheets.

Unconstrained multivariable optimisation (gradient based techniques, gradient free), Constrained optimisation (Lagrange multipliers, penalty functions etc.), Linear Programming, Application areas (e.g. Optimisation of Reactors, Distillation trains, Predictive Control). Basic scheduling methods.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation of assignment in semester 2.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00S2 – In person lectures for Optimisation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Introduction to module, Decision making Plan A: In-person lecture Plan B: S1 - Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Process Economics Plan A: In-person lecture Plan B: S1: Synchronous online sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Flowsheeting Plan A: In-person lecture Plan B: S1: Asynchronous online sessions:
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials71:007:00S1 - Non-synchronised online sessions: Decision Making Management Flow sheeting Process Economic
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials22:004:00Activity Learning” each with a basic worked example and formative quizzes for process economics.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30S1 - 2 x Summative online tests of 45 minutes each.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion18:008:00Revision for on-line tests in semester 1.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities33:009:00Plan A: Computing sessions to support flow sheeting and modelling of design units. Plan B, via zoom.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical93:0027:00S2 - Optimisation software practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00S1 – Plan A: In person tutorial for process economics. Plan B: synchronous session.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study151:3051:30Review taught material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students are introduced to techniques for planning, managing and estimating the cost of complex projects. Design as a process is also discussed and the acquired knowledge is then applied in an assessed assignment. Knowledge and skills are also transferred as a practical set of tools for undertaking the major Stage 3 Plant Design project (CME3039).

Alternatives will be offered to students unable to be present-in-person due to the prevailing C-19 circumstances. Student’s should consult their individual timetable for up-to-date delivery information.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M50Flow sheeting and Optimisation assignment (1000 words)
Computer assessment1M25Summative online test - process economics - 45 minutes
Computer assessment1M25Summative online test - process economics - 45 minutes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative online test assesses knowledge acquired and also problem solving in a timed environment.
The assignment provides an opportunity to put acquired knowledge into practice.

Reading Lists