I am a chemical engineer who focuses on creatively solving problems and improving process operations.
I have a preference for modeling and simulation or design work, but I have demonstrable value in process operational support.
I believe in using statistical models, VBA programming, Matlab and other engineering tools to automate and improve day to day work efficiency.
To increase business profitability by developing innovative tools, process models, and troubleshooting methodologies.
Qualifications & Education
• University of the Witwatersrand – BSc Chemical Engineering, 2007
• Distinctions: Computing for Process Engineering; Numerical Methods; Chemical Engineering Laboratory Project
• Achievements: Academic Excellence Scholarship (2004), Sasol Bursary (2006, 2007)
• Reactor technology: heterogeneous hydrogenation and homogeneous hydroformylation.
• Separation technology: divided wall distillation, vacuum columns and liquid-liquid extraction.
• Creating predictive models which can be used as leading indicators of future problems and to test parameters for process optimisation.
• Strong Excel skills: designing of new metrics and tools for monitoring and improving process optimisations; the use of VBA to automate data extraction and compilation of reports; statistical data analysis to compare interaction between variables in complex systems.
• Perform technical and economic evaluations of potential projects. Determining which projects should be pursued based both on technical feasibility and return on investment.
• The simulation of complex reactor systems, using first principle physical equations and simulation packages such as Aspen Plus and AFT Fathom to predict the real life behaviour of process plants.
• Design and optimisation of control systems around process operations.
• Process optimisation experience in the production of chemicals from Stabilised Light Oil and Fischer Tropsch Reaction Water streams.
Job History & Accomplishments
May 2014 – Present
Senior Process Engineer, Sasol Secunda Chemical Operations
• Created a VBA for Excel simulation and used this to develop an innovative method to debottleneck a chemical reactor process by using existing equipment on the plant; allowing an increase of 45% feed to the reactor for no capital investment.
• Creation of VBA Excel code which extracts large batches of data from an Internal SAP Portal and compiles it into a user friendly format; saving 50 engineering hours per week.
• Development of automated spreadsheets to extract data and summarise it at night, when the servers are less constrained so that the data is available for decision making first thing in the morning – the result is that data is always available discussion in morning meetings where before data was unavailable for discussion at 10% of morning meetings.
May 2013 – April 2014
Senior Process Engineer, Sasol Technology Research and Development
• Simulated a system of chemical reactors (hydroformylation of long chain aldehydes) using VBA for Excel, as well as Matlab. This model accurately predicted the physical processes of mixing and mass transfer as well as molecular scale reaction kinetics, and increased understanding of the plant scale reactor system. It revealed a counter-intuitive interaction between process parameters which has allowed an increase in production of the reactor system. Reactor conversion improved from 97% to 99% which increased production by R7.5 million per annum in gross profit.
• Created a model to predict the profitability (Rand per ton of product) at different production rates of a detergent alcohol production plant. This model was used to plan production for the plant and resulted in a saving of R7million for the financial year. The model was developed by collecting, analysing and regressing years of process and financial data and developing a function based on only two variables from a system of at least 12.
January 2008 – April 2013
Process Engineer, Sasol Solvents
• 6 months acting as team lead for a team of 9 Process Engineers. During this time the plant exceeded the previous production record, and R35 million per annum in plant improvements were implemented.
• Yearly innovations and plant improvements resulting in an average profitability increase of R10 million per annum every year (totalling R150 million for 5 years). Notable amongst these improvements were:
o Redesigning the process control system on a partitioned wall distillation column. This included a “pseudo analyser” which was developed by regressing process parameters such as temperature and pressure to calculate the purity of a stream. This allowed the control system to react far more quickly (intervals of 5 minutes rather than waiting 8 hours between sample analysis). The net benefit was R12 million per annum of additional product.
o Developing a concept for a tanker loading system, and leading the project from idea generation to commissioning. Including budgeting for the different phases of the project, safety and operability analysis and training of personnel in the use of the new equipment.
o Troubleshooting of a vacuum distillation column and completely redesigning the control and operating philosophy. The column experience significant backflow issues due to the low operating pressure and this was resolved through innovative control schemes. The overall benefit was R2.5 million per annum as well as significant reduction in the amount of manual interference required from process operators.
o Highly skilled in Microsoft Excel, VBA, OSISoft PI Processbook and Datalink
o Skilled in Matlab, Aspen Plus, AFT Fathom, R (statistics), Microsoft Office Suite including MS Visio and Project
o Working knowledge of Minitab and other statistical software packages
• Six Sigma Green Belt
• Strong experience in reactor technology (fixed bed heterogeneous, and homogeneous catalysis), heat exchange and distillation
• Operational experience with guard beds, pumps, cooling towers, liquid-liquid extraction, utility and flare systems, and batch reactors
• Statistical data analysis: Mass balance reconciliation, data mining, regression modelling, and inference
• Techno-economic evaluations at various stages of the process pipeline to ensure that projects are prioritised according to profitability.
• Ability to identify and implement key process changes / strategies and to facilitate the successful implementation thereof. This is done through clear communication and proper project management.
Awards & Acknowledgements
• Sasol Solvents Global Innovation Team of the Year Award (2011) – Responsible for an improvement of R8 million per annum reduction in precious metal catalyst loss from a homogeneous reactor process.
• Sasol Solvents Global Innovation Team of the Year Award (2013) – Contributed with the improvements to the partitioned wall distillation column which are detailed above.
Total Years of Experience: 7 years and 5 months
Nationality: South African with Dual Citizenship of the United Kingdom (freedom to work in the Eurozone without special permits)
Languages: English and Afrikaans (Read, Write, Speak); Dutch (read, awareness from 3 month working experience in Enschede, Netherlands)
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