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CHEMENG 4W06: Chemical Plant Design and Capstone Project

We are proud to present the innovative final year capstone projects of our chemical engineering students. Please take a look at our previous year projects which represent the culmination of a year’s work of our students that demonstrates their theoretical and applied skills.

 Now Open: Project Proposal Submissions for Fall 2022 - Winter 2023

Project Proposal Submission

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About our Capstone Course

The Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University has developed a new branch for the final-year capstone project structure that is focused on industry-student collaborations to solve or investigate a problem posed by potential industrial partners. The over-arching goal of this Capstone design in which teams participate in a self-directed industry-driven projects is to provide students opportunities to solve real-world problems while simultaneously providing value to the companies willing to support them.

Capstone Design Projects of 2021-2022

Team Members: Ravneet Randhawa, Kara DiPasquale, Nameer Kamal, Chiamaka Maduekwe, Aryan Alidadi-Shamsabadi 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Vincent Leung
Industry Partner: Suez
Project Description:This project is an investigation into the SUEZ membrane water treatment system in Peel Region's Lorne Park drinking water plant. The focus is on determining when to migrate ultrafiltration (UF) membranes to membrane gravity filters (MGF), how MGFs compare to the current media filters being used, and how increasing the longevity of the membranes helps improve its sustainability. This is done by investigating plant data and literature articles, with the overall goal to increase the membrane lifetime, while maintaining permeate quality and quantity.
Team Members: Brathakine Pusparajah, Annika Yardy, Sarah Saqib, Kevin Gulo, Mohammad Osama Riaz 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jacob Nease
Industry Partner: Sanofi Pasteur
Project Description: This project entails designing an interactive database on Microsoft Access that will support the manufacturing of vaccines protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis at Sanofi's B100 facility in Toronto. Data pertaining to the single use technologies (SUTs) used in the antigen manufacturing processes (e.g., process-related and vendor-related information) will be organized to streamline access to this critical information. 
Team Members: Daulet Jailaubekov, Yovana Racic, Adam Best, Riya Suthar, Conor Marko
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Vince Leung 
Industry Partner: Bunge Limited
Project Description: This project focuses on the area of the plant responsible for processing crude canola oil. Canola oil extraction begins from cleaning, flaking, and conditioning the received canola seed. The crude canola oil is sent to refining where it undergoes settling, filtration, chemical refining, degumming and bleaching. Canola oil has a low amount of saturated fat, allowing for higher efficiency within parts like engines compared to alternate biofuels like soyabean oil. These positive environmental attributes, along with fuel efficiency contribute to the increase in Canola oil market demand for non-human consumption. For instance, from 2019 to 2025, the goal of the Canola oil Industry is to increase the global production from 18.7 to 25 million metric tonnes. Therefore, there is a need to expand the canola processing line at Bunge to accommodate for the foreseeable increase in market demand, as Canada exports about 90% of canola oil globally. Additionally, canola oil production has increased by 7.4% in Canada over 2020 partially due to increased oil consumption and global demand. It is anticipated that the process at Bunge will produce 40% more canola oil by the end of the project.
Team Members: Stephanie Kozdras, Hannah Mann, Thomas Baker, Vaniza Arshad, Mahdi Harb
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi
Industry Partner: Dana
Project Description: The recent popularity of electric vehicles has changed the efficiency requirements of engine oil coolers. New heat transfer unit designs and new strategies for research and rapid prototyping these designs are needed to meet the new demands.We have been simulating dimpled heat transfer surfaces to test their performance, with the goal of mitigating parasitic losses to reduce energy consumption. At the same time, maintaining effective heat transfer and turbulent flow are important aspects of this design. We have also been using 3D printing with additive manufacturing to create low cost prototyping equipment, allowing for affordable lab scale testing 
Team Members: Nicole Perna, Abeera Islam, Janany Kugathasan, Alejandra Arauz, Chaochen Song
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Drew Higgins
Industry Partner: Non-disclosed hydrometallurgical facility 
Project Description: A hydrometallurgical process generates significant quantities of trace metals-bearing gypsum residue, a calcium sulfate material. The objective of this project is to design and evaluate a process  that  will  increase the value of the trace metals-bearing gypsum residue or increase its options for resale. For example, the proposed solution may economically recover the trace metals from the gypsum residue, convert the gypsum residue into a more valuable product, or identify a new application for the gypsum residue. The proposed solution must have a low environmental impact and be aligned with the hydrometallurgical facilities mission to ensure a sustainable future for our planet. 
Team Members: Tong Sun, Chuanqi Li, Xiaotian Luo, Luxin Wang, Yifan Wang
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Li Xi
Industry Partner: OIigomaster Inc.
Project Description: The objective of the project is to use nanofabrication technology to improve the hydrophobicity of biopolymers. Incorporate the process into the existing facility and develop a processing operating window that will achieve hydrophobicity and economic analysis of the process. Lab work to prove that the chosen method is effective at improving hydrophobicity.
Team Members: Eugene Wu, Troy Stoner, Stephanie Hassey, Elizabeth Lee, Gurkaran Arora 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi
Industry Partner: Suez
Project Description: The population of Hamilton is expected to grow to 1 million residents by 2040, putting stress on the Hamilton's Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). With an expected increasing population, the WWTP needs to be able to accommodate for increased flow rates and loadings, while maintaining safe levels of effluent organics and nutrients. As time goes on, it is expected that the regulatory standard for wastewater treatment will also become stricter, thus indicating that the quality of effluent water must also be improved. By examining the current operating conditions of Hamilton's Woodward Avenue WWTP, it was identified that additional technologies would be required in several parts of the WWTP in order to accommodate for the projected 2040 capacities and effluent concentration targets. Current WWT technologies were investigated and compared to newly developed technologies from SUEZ. Based on the comparison, the best suited technologies were chosen to be implemented in the final plant design. 
Team Members: Karasira Awi, Tia Ghantous, Amber Monteiro, Archana Sripathy 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Prashant Mhaskar
Industry Partner: Sartorius
Project Description: This project is a continuation of a Capstone design started in the 2020/2021 school year for manufacture of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) enabled by Aspen Custom Modeller. The model includes a bioreactor and chromatography for protein A capture, which are typical steps in a mAb production chain. The goal for the project this year was to continue development of this system to allow continuous modelling of both units and further optimize the system to maximize robustness. 
Team Members: Tracy Huynh, Hansika Chawla, Muhammad Owais Marwat, Amaara Ranmal, Charles Lawson-Wokoma
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kim Jones
Industry Partner: Emerson
Project Description: The future of agriculture must accommodate a growing urban population with shrinking arable farmlands due to climate change and natural disasters. One solution to these challenges is vertical farming. Our project uses food waste from grocery stores in an anaerobic digester to power a net-zero GHG emissions vertical farm growing lettuce and basil. 
Team Members: Jennika Davidson, Runshu Li, Vaishnavie Sripathy, Yichen Zhou, Yingyan Huang
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Raja Ghosh
Industry Partner: Fibracast
Project Description: Integrated aerators for the Fibracast UFMembrane Cassettes have been shown to clog at times during usage for variousreasons. Dry solid cake, wastewater debris, mineral fouling block aerationchannels overtime reducing membrane performance and efficiency. Our team hasdelivered a conceptual design for in-situ aerator cleaning process for theFibracast UF Membrane Cassette in order to maintain effective operation ofthe membrane system in the bioreactor. This automated cleaning process hasthe means to determine the extent of fouling and self-cleaning capabilitiesto reduce MBR downtime and save the manual effort and expense of ex situcleaning. An economic and productivity analysis is included in our finalreport to evaluate our designs cost and effectiveness.
Team Members: Samantha Usas, Rica Yacon, Adrian Di Pietro, Avinash Nagendra 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Li Xi
Industry Partner: Oligomaster Inc.
Project Description: A method for the conversion of plastics processing plants to bioplastics processing plants, with a focus on the use of thermoplastic starch and hemp fibers as raw materials. 
Team Members: Aly Mahmoud, Nigel Mathias, Xiaonian Wang, Pengfei Fu, Ahmed Ismail
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jacob Nease
Industry Partner: Hatch
Project Description:

Identify the main sources of GHG emissions in a wastewater treatment plant. A thorough literature review was conducted in this respect. Each component was first discussed in detail and then it’s contribution to the plants carbon footprint was found.

Modelled a WWTP and optimize. We built a simulation based on the research and data collected. After verification through comparison with empirical data from Woodward, we identified and controlled critical inputs and parameters that are believed to have a significant impact on GHG emissions. 

Propose an emissions reduction strategy. Finally, our team looked at the results obtained from the simulation and proposed strategies that aim to reduce the carbon footprint of a wastewater treatment plant. 

Team Members: Cynthia Pham, Kieran Hampson, Abishake Indran, Long Vo 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Heather Sheardown
Industry Partner: Ripple Therapeutics
Project Description: Drug products to the eye require vigorous testing with animal studies and clinical trials. However, these studies are costly and timely. Therefore, an initial screening for drug formulation and dosage prior to animal studies is critical for drug formulation and dosage. This project, supervised by Ripple Therapeutics, aims to develop an in vitro eye model for this initial screening step. 
Team Members: Sean Fraser, Ryan Roshan, Gustavo Chen, Cesar Sosa-Miranda, Kevin Esfarayeni
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Charles de Lannoy
Industry Partner: AccelorMittal Dofasco
Project Description: Working with ArcelorMittal Dofasco utilities business unit on primary wastewater treatment, aiming to improve the process and lower costs of dewateringand disposing of by-product sludge from the KOBM gas cleaning process.

Capstone Design Projects of 2020-2021

Team Members: Angela Battista, Lauren Weir, Jacqueline Powichrowski, Natalie Ifraimov
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Latulippe and Dr. Ghosh
Project Description: Currently batch processing is being used for monoclonal antibody production, however continuous processing has shown to be more favorable. Sartorius, as a biopharmaceutical supplier, is leading efforts to improve their process platform by introducing continuous processes and developing methods for model scaleup. Continuous processing has the ability to increase productivity and lower overall production costs, as unit operations can be parallelized in continuous mode and enable faster and greater output of continuous batches per year. With these advantages in mind, a continuous simulation model, including a bioreactor and multi-column-chromatography, has been created in Aspen ChromatographyTM to support model-based approaches for continuous production of monoclonal antibodies. The simulation will be used to generate the required process specifications to achieve the desired scale up parameters. Project is supported by Sartorius.
Team Members: Sebastian Simic, Lindsay Kuyltjes, Bryan Mitchell, Jordan Sullivan, Graham Van Every
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jake Nease
Project Description: The Goal of this project is to develop a complete Hydrogen fueled production, separation, and electricity generation process that makes use of existing natural gas infrastructure in Canada. Project is supported by Jenny Chen and Sebastien Lee from Emerson. 
Team Members: Ana Arežina, Kristen Abels, Patrick Hehl, Maddison Kargus, Cassandra Stothers
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Li Xi
Project Description: Oil contamination of water is, unfortunately, a common occurrence with industrial process streams, storm drainage, and even environmental oil spills. These scenarios pose a risk to the global ecosystem, and consequently, to human health. While commercially viable separation products exist, they still face numerous challenges including required separation time, poor separation efficiency, elevated operating costs, and poor treatment of emulsions. This represents an opportunity for technological improvement that our capstone project aims to address through the use of superwetting materials. The objective of our capstone project is to build off results reported in literature to design a guar gum hydrogel-coated woven fabric filter for oil-water separation and evaluate its potential to achieve industrial scale, commercial viability. Project is supported by Oligomaster. 
Team Members: Kugenthini Tharmakulasekaram, Husain Tapia, Ibrahim Awan, Aayush Pokhrel, Daniel Pourkhatai
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jake Nease
Project Description: Redesigning and optimizing an existing copper removal process from pickling liquor (HCl) at ArcelorMittal Dofasco to better meet customer throughput and quality key performance indicators (KPIs). Modifications included process and piping rerouting based on lab data and theoretical sizing calculations. Project is supported by ArcelorMittal Dofasco. 
Team Members: Marina Manoraj, Chloe Dawson, Mariam Sidawi, Jillian Ma, Shane Park
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mhaskar
Project Description: This project involved transforming an Emerson Copeland scroll compressor to an expander of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) for the recovery of low-grade waste heat. Low global warming potential (GWP) working fluids for the reversed compressor were explored along with varying fluid properties and system parameters to optimize the system. This project tested how other energy-efficient solutions can be used in various applications while addressing the need for energy production from sustainable sources. To assess the viability of the design and the overall system, the efficiency, cost, operability, and safety, were evaluated and an environmental analysis was performed. Project is supported by Emerson. 
Team Members: Zaid Alnasseri, Beatrice Benigno, Yang Chen, Selena Fahim, Eric Pioli
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi
Project Description: Ecolene is a carbon-neutral bio-methanol utilizing biomass, water, and surplus energy in which Next Methanol Incorporated has been licensed to develop a process for, as a means to generate renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel emissions. Next Methanol Inc. is in the process of developing a pilot plant and the objective of this Capstone project is to conduct a feasibility study including technical, economical, and environmental assessments for the Ecolene plant. Project is supported by Next Methanol Inc. 
Team Members: Aemon Shariq, Phoebe Barrion, Kenna Chai, Andrew Vleming, Christine Huh
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi
Project Description: Steel production currently accounts for approximately 8% of total global carbon dioxide emissions. One method to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is by integrating green hydrogen technologies in the ironmaking process. The most promising technology to do this is the H2-DRI route. For our project, an H-DRI plant was simulated and assessed for carbon emission reductions and long-term feasibility. Project is supported by Hatch. 
Team Members: Kevin Da, Lukas Lenarczyk, Han Lin, Alexander Sotra
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jake Nease
Project Description: Tasked by Zeton Inc. to design heating configurations for the regeneration of packed-bed adsorbent columns. This was done by producing transient temperature distribution profiles and justified by validated simulation results. The analysis is conducted on various column sizes, along with economic analyses for each heating configuration. A set of recommendations is presented to Zeton Inc. for each column size. Project is supported by Zeton. 
Team Members: Joseph Pavkovic, Shrujal Patel, John Liakakos, Michel Syriani
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi
Project Description: Within the residential and light commercial industries, heating and cooling accounts for about 20% of global electricity used in buildings. HVAC systems can be made more efficient with heat pumps – by extracting heat from the air and transferring that heat either inside or outside the home depending on the season or transferring the heat to water. Heat pumps have been successfully implemented in countries reliant on coal or fossil fuels to reduce climate impacts. Canada’s fluctuating range of annual temperatures is a challenge for heat pumps to operate consistently year-round, with temperatures in Toronto ranging from -18 to 30˚C. This is an applied engineering design project to address accessible and clean energy by transforming traditional technology in modern applications. The Project Team will spend part of the term in the research phase (comprehensive understanding of heat pump processes), and the remainder in the development and design phase (draw upon technical skills to design a heat pump to utilize waste heat). New designs are to maintain high efficiency ratings as per Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). Project is supported by Emerson. 

Capstone Design Projects of 2019-2020

Team Members: Conor Marshall, Daniel Khokhlov, Folarin Ologunagba, Ahmed Elmoursi, Ali Mahmoud
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Thomas Adams 
Project Description: The Ontario Power Generation (OPG) thermal power plant in Atikokan is investigating newtechnologies that will promote a clean energy future in Ontario. The Atikokan facility looks to upgrade its facility to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, following suit with the rest of OPG’s facilities and all of Ontario. This project involves the selection and evaluation of three distinct but related process technologiescapturing biogenic CO2 from the Atikokan stack gases, producing hydrogen with renewable electricity and finally combining these outputs into renewable methanol.The team’s responsibilities are to examine the feasibility of such upgrades from process, economic, environmental, and safety standpoints.   
Team Members: Raisa Hoq, Ezra Widajat, Adam Opolski, Moira Song, Ace Maizer
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jake Nease 
Project Description: Due to their significant CO2 reduction capabilities, HATCH has identified end-of-pipe technologies as a potential solution to mitigating CO2 emissions within steel processes. This project is to investigate the implementation of end-of-pipe separation and utilization technologies, ultimately designing and modelling the process with the selected technologies. The objective is to mitigate plant-gate CO2 emissions within the steelmaking industry by effectively capturing and utilizing CO2 to generate further value-added products. 

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Team Members: Lisa Tran, Evan Krushelnycky, Ryan Seto, Jonathan Tong 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Li Xi 
Project Description: Roofs are an important component in protecting the structural integrity of a building. There are a variety of roofing materials currently available on the market. research is being conducted on roofing materials and compositions to minimize the severity of hail damage in areas with high frequencies of hailstorms. Many parts of North America are regularly affected by hailstorms and hail-resistant roofing has significant market demand, especially in areas regarded as “Hail Alley” in Alberta, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. The main goal of this project is to develop a production plan focusing on the manufacturing scale up of the exiting patented formulation for a client at McMaster University.  

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Team Members: Evan Ubene, Alexander Mckay, Erik Frechette, Tracy Savery, Kyle Heyblom 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Thomas Adams 
Project Description: The client of this project is a lubricants refinery company located in ON which is one of the largest refineries of its kind in Canada and the largest White Oil producer in the world. The main products that are produced at this plant include lubricant base oils ranging from specialty food grade White Oils to high viscosity index Group 3+ base oils. Sulphur dioxide is a contaminant that the Company is responsible for monitoring. The main goal of this project is to develop a real-time system that uses an atmospheric air dispersion model to calculate POI (point of impingement) concentrations caused by plant emission sources as they occur.  

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Team Members: Melissa Cusack Striepe, Matt Csordas, Christina Hassey, Natasha Reis-Murray, Noelle Wilton 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Latullipe 
Project Description: The manufacturing of pharmaceutical products is subject to stringent regulatory constraints. For this reason, process steps such as filtration are introduced to remove contaminants and ultimately ensure product quality. However, upstream process fluctuations may compromise filter integrity, which results in costly investigations and potential loss of product. This project focuses on addressing such challenges at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility through evaluating the existing product transfer line and designing an improved system. This redesign will focus on introducing improved process control, new instrumentation, and alternative modes of operation. 

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Team Members: Janine HidalgoHenry Zihan ZhouArujala ThavendrarasaNelson MokRatul Matin 
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shelir Ebrahimi 
Project Description: Emerson currently offers an alternative solution for the disposal of food waste. Grind2Energy is a system that takes food waste as an input and produces slurry as an output to be stored in a tank on-site. Once the storage tank reaches a critical-level, Emerson is notified to transport the slurry to a local anaerobic digestion (AD) facility, where the slurry is converted into different products. Currently, Emerson’s involvement is linear and stops with the AD facility. The goal of this project, which is proposed by Emerson Canada, is to develop a feasible closed-loop system that creates value from the food waste produced by McMaster University and converting it into resources that will be useful to the institution.  

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Events

5 projects from the 2022 Capstone Expo you need to check out

April 21, 2022

5 projects from the 2022 Capstone Expo you need to check out

Challenging. Rewarding. Integration. Fun. Learning. Ambiguity. Gnarly. Tremendous. Memorable. These are the words students used to sum up their capstone experience. After a year of hard work, around 200 student projects were showcased in-person for the first time in two years at the Capstone Expo.

A Celebration of Student Innovation at the Capstone Expo

April 7, 2022

A Celebration of Student Innovation at the Capstone Expo

Over the past year, final year engineering students have been working hard on a critical piece of their undergraduate education – their capstone project. Learn about these projects on April 12 at the Capstone Expo.

McMaster Engineering to host capstone expo featuring more than 200 student projects

April 6, 2021

McMaster Engineering to host capstone expo featuring more than 200 student projects

Final-year students will be showcasing their stellar technological capstone projects during the first-ever faculty-wide McMaster Engineering Capstone Expo this week.

MacEng Capstone Expo 2021

MacEng Capstone Expo 2021

There is no cost to attend the event, but registration is required to access the platform. Registration will remain open throughout the event and the platform will be accessible for browsing until May 8, 2021.

Virtual Capstone Showcase Day 2020

Virtual Capstone Showcase Day 2020

We know how hard our students have been working on their capstone projects all semester. While the in-person Capstone Showcase event is cancelled, we want showcase their amazing work to their classmates, faculty, family and friends who support them.