Process engineer is actually a very broad position, says Donny enthusiastically. “In short, I design a new chemical process in an industrial scale or I am involved in optimising an existing chemical process.
For example, an issue such as: how can the existing CO2 emissions at a plant be reduced, without expensing production capacity and at the lowest possible costs. As a process engineer, I am responsible for the final process design to create a solution for this CO2 reduction. To do this, I go through different phases with a team, such as the basic design, detail design, construction phase, test phase and finally the delivery phase. In fact, I am responsible from A to Z for all process steps in the design to achieve the reduction in CO2 emissions. One of those steps is the safety of the process, think of HAZOP, LOPA and SIL studies.
In this process, I think about how can I assure the safely within the design process. At the same time, I check whether the current safety studies are still up-to-date. Since I started working at Aram, I have been seconded to several companies. Usually at tank terminals, refineries or chemical companies. The question is different for every company and therefore the exact interpretation of my role as a process engineer.”
“That is difficult, because actually no working day is the same”, Donny continues his story. “There is a lot of variety in my job. One moment I’m at the plant directing people. The next moment I’m sitting behind my computer rewriting a process, running process simulations or doing a security study. It is dynamic and chaotic being at the plant. So when I work on things, I rather seek peace which provides me the concentration that I need. It’s definitely not a 9 to 5 job. There is always something unexpected that I have to respond to. The variety and diversity makes my job really fun and interesting to me.”
“Mostly unconsciously reaching for a lot of people. For example, now with the corona crisis, a new vaccine is being developed which must be produced on a large scale. The process for the production of such a vaccine will soon be tested in a pilot factory, after the plant will be scaled up to the desired scale. This testing and scaling up is done by a process engineer. So in that way, you are of great added value for Dutch society and actually for the whole world. The end products are often seen by many people, such as a vaccine or transport fuels, like (bio) diesel or gasoline. But the process precede of it, only makes the final production possible. I am delighted to be able to contribute to this important step.”
“Chemical technology. I had an interest in the way chemical processes work from an early age. And luckily, in high school, I was good at chemistry, physics, and math.
I quickly made the choice to follow this study. After I graduated (HBO diploma), I also followed the study Environmental and Energy Technology. These two studies were a good match, but in the end it is just like any job: you only learn the real profession in the field itself.”
“The space and flexibility to develop new and sustainable technologies. For example, to make high-quality transport fuels from waste, such as petrol, diesel and kerosene. I receive internal support to carry out my passion. Time, money and space is available to experiment which I truly like.
In addition, I experience the working atmosphere as pleasant. I am not often at the head office, but when I am there, colleagues are always interested in how things are going. That gives a collegial feeling, despite the fact that I almost always work remotely.”