Final year undergraduates complete Design Project 2024

The Design Project 2024 final presentations were held at Downing College, Cambridge

Students and teachers raise their arms in celebration outside in the sunshine

Final-year undergraduate students from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB) have competed over design concepts to industry leaders, demonstrating their skills as they prepare for the workplace. 

Seven teams took part in the Process Design Project, overseen by Dr Ewa Marek, and were tasked with designing an industrial plant that could manufacture more than 2,200 tonnes of plant-based meat alternatives, using potatoes as a base. 

A student presents their work

Teams gave a 10-minute presentation to reveal their design, before being quizzed on the specifics by an industry panel consisting of experts Dr Rulande Rutgers (former Process Technology Director for Hydrogen Technologies at Johnson Matthey), Dr Martin Sim (Project Lead at Isomerase) and Professor Gregory Patience (Polytechnique Montréal). 

An academic panel, made up of staff members Dr Marek, Associate Professor Graham Christie, Assistant Professor Devon Indar, Associate Professor Kamran Yunus, and Teaching Associate Dr Zach Bond, also assessed the students' projects. Two winners were then selected for an academic award for the most innovative design and best presentation while the industry panel awarded the team with the most viable design. 

Team C, consisting of Imane Jaaouine, Charles Kantolina, Angela Kanu, Yuxuan David Li, and Ryan Mirbagheri, won the academic award while Team B, consisting of Romero Featherstone, Ali Zarkesh, Anna Fitzpatrick, Zheng Tam, and Emmanuelle Dumont, won the industrial award. 

The project is considered a big part of the culmination of three years of hard work as an undergraduate, and five weeks of specific focus on solving an exercise with real-world applications. 

Teams covered everything from the intricate details of the chemical process to the physical layout of their plant. Expenditure was considered a big part of the presentation and teams were asked to consider the capital and operational costs required to construct and run the system in the real world. 

Teams celebrate alongside the industry and academic panels, outside in sunshine

Dr Ewa Marek said:

“Congratulations to all the teams on their hard work over the course of the project and to the winners of the academic and industrial prizes, it was a great afternoon, and I am so pleased to have seen such great projects and presentations on the day. 
Teams put in a lot of work to create a 10-minute presentation and our visitors did not hold back on asking the difficult questions and asking for clarification, which was fantastic, it was a perfect demonstration of what it is like in the real world and gave them a great taste of this. It made me proud to see how well they all responded and had the answers ready to go.” 

To learn more about our undergraduate programmes, please visit our Undergraduate Studies page