A team of chemical engineering students from Malaysia have become the first ever group entry to win Honeywell Process Solution’s annual UniSim Design Challenge, demonstrating the power of collaboration to solve industry challenges.

Kristy Nyagang, Aw Ying Yin, Wai Mun Chen, and Chang Chung Min worked together to improve energy efficiency in a typical turbo-expander plant using an enhanced natural gas liquid recovery process. Nyagang, Chen, and the team’s supervisor, Dr Mesfin Getu Woldetensay, represented the group this week at the 2014 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Asia-Pacific Symposium, where they presented the winning project, took part in group sessions, and networked with potential future employers.

“Honeywell has a long-term commitment to supporting the next generation of process engineers across Asia-Pacific,” said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. “This project showcases the power of simulation technology to improve business performance and reduce operating costs, both of which are top-of-mind for customers in our industry. And as collaboration becomes increasingly important to business outcomes, we’re delighted to see the first group entry named the winners of this year’s Asia-Pacific competition.”

Entrants in the UniSim Design Challenge are judged against four criteria: innovation, industry alignment, benefits, and experience/results. Of the projects submitted, the winning team scored highest across all categories, with particular strength in innovation and industry alignment. The students applied an innovative retrofit concept involving an intermediate heating and cooling heat pump to two popular industry designs for the enhanced natural gas recovery process. Their project demonstrated the economic impact of these process changes to the heat duty and cost of a plant.

“Curtin University welcomed the opportunity to have our students involved in Honeywell’s UniSim Design Challenge this year,” said Dr Woldetensay. “It is vital that students are given the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios and business challenges before entering the workforce. And along with the opportunity to attend HUG and network with industry representatives, this competition highlights the commitment of vendors like Honeywell to giving young engineers the best start in their careers.”

Honeywell’s UniSim Design Challenge is open to chemical engineering students in universities across the Asia-Pacific region. It challenges students to use Honeywell’s UniSim Design Suite software, used by engineers around the world to create steady-state and dynamic models for plant design, performance monitoring, troubleshooting, operational improvement, business planning, and asset management. It is also used to improve plant production and safety through offline operator training simulations.

Previous Asia-Pacific winners have included students from Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Vietnam, the University of Sydney in Australia, and Yeungnam University in South Korea. In addition to Asia Pacific, Honeywell also holds annual student competitions as part of the HUG conferences in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Americas regions.

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