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Experience in Unit Op'ns
Design of Process Plants

All Unit Operations
From 2003 to 2005 taught "Process Analysis & Synthesis" course plus "Process Design" project to Junior & Senior year undergraduate students in the Chemical and Materials Engineering degree at University of Auckland. These two integrating courses built upon all of the standard unit operations courses content, such as distillation, heat transfer, adsorption and absorption, filtration, fluid transfer, freezing and drying, size reduction, reactors, bulk handling, ion exchange and storage systems. These were applied to mini-FEED design projects for industries relevant to N.Z. e.g. oil refinery, methanol and ammonia plants, dairy processing, cement works, steel plant, distillery, alumina processing.

Below are examples of projects where Bob had a lead role in design of a specific unit operation:

In order to process a wider gravity range of crude oils for three refinery topping units. did process simulation with maximum heat integration, added pumparound circuits and split overhead condensers. Did valve tray selection, procurement and installation. Reviewed licensor designs for azeotropic separation in a petrochemicals plant.

Heat Exchange
In a smaller engineering firm, had direct responsibility for selection of TEMA type and running HTRI software in order to size and rate heat exchangers. At N.Z. SynFuel oversaw the modifications to cryogenic equipment in air separation unit to achieve enhanced nitrogen purity. With my Materials Engineering background, had an ongoing role in EPC firms on the selection of metallurgy for vessel cladding and exchanger tubes. On several refinery revamp projects, had responsibility of selecting available used equipment for any new purpose, evaluating DP/DT conditions, maximum operating conditions and overpressure protection. Met with HTRI to preview upcoming Xchanger Suite 6's capability of direct integration with HYSYS, PRO/II, ASPEN.

Integrally involved with RAM (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability) "N+1" decision about large pipeline compressor(s) and power generation for an onshore oil & gas system, plus subsequent detailed P&ID review of compressor and support systems


  • Developed the complete design for a plate-and-frame de-waxing filter system for a lube unit
  • Oversaw redesign of large rotating solvent/wax filter to drastically reduce solvent emissions.

  • Process design & materials evaluation (duplex alloy  vs. fiberglass) for SO2 scrubbing system
  • Modified nozzle spray system to manage grinding dust agglomeration in ore milling system.
  • Debottlenecking team/gas reformers by modifying feed composition, burner flame length.
  • Detailed P&ID design through IFD for world's largest Hydrocracker, and kero Hydrotreater.
  • Process & equipment design for refrigerated butadiene spheres & atmospheric pressure tank
  • Chaired API Storage Tank Committee on MACT for Refineries, Distribution Facilities & Marine
  • Peer evaluation of EPA's "TANKS" program, provided industry-wide data to calibrate calc'ns.