Friday, 27 November 2015

Chemical Process Plant Design and Construction

I finished my entry for Ullmanns Encyclopaedia today on "Chemical Plant Design and Construction", which has taken quite a while to write.

The dry style of encyclopaedia entries does not come naturally to me. I'd much rather let it show that I am motivated by a passion for the subject I an writing about.Process plant design is something I am passionate about, but encyclopaedias are not a collection of personal opinions.

You can however hear my personal opinions on the subject on  the 4th of February 2016 at Loughborough University Chemical Engineering Department (Building S Room S.2.32)

The talk will include previews of my new book "An Applied Guide to Process and Plant Design". Please arrive for 18:30 pm for a 19:00 pm start. Refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Training Course : Operation and Maintenance of Industrial Effluent Treatment Plants

Water Pollution: The Klang River in KL

I'm just back from Kuala Lumpur, where I delivered my training course on the operation and maintenance of water and effluent treatment plants to a keen audience.

Just down the road from the venue was the Klang river, which flows through the centre of KL. Whilst it has never been a pure mountain stream ("Kuala Lumpur" means "muddy estuary"), it is clear to both the eye and the nose that it is highly polluted.

There are all kinds of pollution in there. Commercial effluent, industrial effluent, municipal sewage, and simple household and commercial solid waste, some of which you can see floating downstream in my picture.

Clearly Malaysia has a way to go when it comes to cleaning up the environment, but it may not be as far as you might imagine. The smell of the Klang was the same as that of rivers I used to swim in as a boy, which are now so clean that they are trout fisheries.

It does not take long to remedy problems like these, with sufficient money, political will and engineering knowhow.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Operation and Maintenance of Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Expert : Training Course

I'm making final preparations for a four-day course on Operation and Maintenance of Water and Effluent Treatment Plants in Kuala Lumpur. I've delivered it a few times now, and as usual the audience comes more or less 100% from the oil and gas industry.

The company I am working for on this occasion are unusually scrupulous and trustworthy, but training is an ugly business, and there is an incredibly wide range of qualities of course presenters and training providers to choose from.

There are many trainers who will work anywhere in the world for $250-$500 per delivery day. In some cases this adds up to less than UK minimum wage when prep time and travel time is factored in. Let's say you are asked to deliver a three day course in Saudi. Travel from the UK will add 2-3 days to this, and a new course will require 2-3 days of prep per day of delivery time if you are to deliver a quality outcome.

So the people who work for $250/d day of delivery would get $750 (about £500) for 15 days of their time or around £4.20 per hour allowing average eight-hour working days. In an international market, you compete with the whole world, and there are places where £4.20 per hour is a great deal. Not many though...

I'll comment on sharp practice by training companies another time....

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A Successful Reboot

Expertise Limited was really just ticking over alongside my old university teaching role, and I was a little concerned that it might take a little time to get it back up and running full-time, but it looks as though there was nothing to worry about.

We have three or four live training enquiries, two for proper process engineering jobs, and one new invitation to serve as an expert witness in a really interesting case.

Whilst we wait for one of those to land, I'm going to make progress with my Ullmanns article, and plan the final assembly, integration and proofing of my Plant Layout book.

I am also talking to some US magazines about a series of articles for new graduates, filling the gaps in the now-standard inappropriate chemical engineering education.

There will definitely be an article by me on process plant costing in Chemical Engineering magazine before the year end, and one on plant layout early in the new year.