AVEVA recognises chemical engineering students with international academic program competition

AVEVA today announced the winners of its 2020 AVEVA Design Academic Competition. The competition series is part of AVEVA’s continued investment in creating better opportunities for those entering the industry. It was open to chemical engineering students in EMEA and North America keen to challenge themselves using AVEVA Process Simulation software.

AVEVA’s competition series is designed to offer chemical engineering students a unique opportunity to develop their process simulation skills. Students were judged on a number of criteria including the quality, completeness and correctness of their final report, as well as their process engineering and simulation work. Students were asked to convert their projects to dynamic models that represented how an industrial plant reacts to changes in inputs. They were also challenged to develop and implement troubleshooting measures, possibly including a new controller design.

North American winners Nicholas Haynes and Brian Leonard won with their use of fundamental chemical engineering principles to produce 99% pure Benzene, a cleaner version of the hydrocarbon used in the manufacturing of several materials and plastics. Nicholas and Brian successfully employed an optimisation approach that displayed the understanding of the cost implications of the entire process while also prioritising the purity requirements for the Benzene product. They also displayed outstanding technical writing skills that are required of graduating engineers entering the industry and furnished a high-quality report that would meet the standards of a professional engineering organisation. European winner Laura Fender was recognised for her simulation requirements working in a neat and well-organised flowsheet. She experimented with the software by approaching the model writing functionality, showing deep understanding of how a simulation problem with different levels of complexity can be approached.

Julien de Beer, Head of Portfolio Management, Engineering Business Unit, AVEVA, commented: “At AVEVA, we value the growth and learning of the next generation of process engineers. That’s why the academic contest was first developed, to ensure that students and graduates alike have the opportunity to advance their capabilities into real-life scenarios. While learning the theoretical side is important, having access to the innovative software driving digital transformation gives aspiring engineers both a rewarding and practical experience.”

Mihaela Hahne, Global Program Manager, Academic at AVEVA, added: “AVEVA’s 2020 academic competition has been designed to tackle the most important requirements for each graduate student, ensuring that they’re thoroughly prepared for a career in the industry. Moving from theory to practice by accessing the leading engineering software in AVEVA Process Simulation, equips students for success in the future workplace. It’s so encouraging to see such immense talent out there in this field, congratulations to all winners and participants.”

This year’s winners and runners up were as follows:


  • First place and €3,000 cash prize – Laura Fender, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Runner-up and €1,500 cash prize – Matthias Michel, TU Dortmund University, Germany

North America:

  • First place and $3,000 cash prize – Team West Virginia University (Nicholas Haynes, Brian Leonard)
  • Runner-up and $1,500 cash prize – Team 2 California State Polytechnic, California (Maria Arrechea, Shereef Elbarbary, Jake Goodman)

The competition is designed in collaboration with Dr. Richard Turton, the co-author of Analysis, Synthesis and Design of Chemical Processes, who has 36 years of experience in the chemical process industry and academia. Since its inception in 2018, the competition has attracted applications from students from 43 universities across North America and Europe. The competition provides a unique opportunity for students and empowers future chemical engineering graduates with AVEVA Process Simulation skills and knowledge of the new paradigm in process engineering, SimCentral.

For more information about the 2020 AVEVA Design Academic Competition or to enter future competitions, click here.

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