Process engineering

How do you get from the (raw) material to the finished product? From ore to iron? From cotton to T-shirt? Process engineering deals with the development and implementation of such processes in which substances are converted through chemical, physical and biological processes.

The field of study at a glance

When studying Process Engineering, students acquire knowledge about material properties, biological relationships, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics as well as the structure and functionality of process engineering machines, systems and apparatus.

Biotechnology, a specialist area of process engineering, is particularly concerned with whether and how the smallest organisms or their components can be used in technical applications, such as bacteria as energy storage, enzymes as accelerators of manufacturing processes or genetic engineering tools.

Interest in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Technology is important in this field of study.

The courses can be offered with different thematic focuses, e.g. Energy Technology, Environmental Technology, Biotechnology or Production Technology, which is also reflected in the different weighting of scientific and technical content.

Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies overlap with Process Engineering.

Course offered

Bachelor's and master's programs in this area are available at universities and technical colleges. In some cases, Process Engineering and Biotechnology are also offered in combination. Combinations of process and Chemical Engineering are also possible. There are also a number of courses with different names but related topics.

Contents of the course

In the bachelor's program, modules convey the scientific and technical basis, such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Mechanics, Materials science, Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Apparatus Engineering, Systems Engineering, Control Engineering and System Dynamics

Modules on the specific subject areas build on this (possibly only in the master's program): process engineering, bioprocess engineering, plant and apparatus engineering, water quality and process engineering for water/wastewater treatment, process dynamics and control, process design, numerical mathematics, heat and mass transfer.

When studying at a university of applied sciences, the focus is usually on imparting process engineering knowledge. These receive a deepening in the areas of process and systems engineering, reaction engineering, industrial chemistry, safety and environmental technology.

In some cases, increased application relevance is possible in areas and industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, process or natural product technology, environmental and biotechnology, paint engineering or textile chemistry.

Admission criteria & application for study

Depending on the university, a preliminary internship may be necessary.

Career opportunities after graduation

Job opportunities for engineers in Process Engineering or Biotechnology exist primarily in:

• Operators of process engineering plants, e.g. in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, in the petrochemical industry, the iron and steel industry, the plastics industry, the wood and building materials industry, the glass and ceramic industry, the paper and pulp industry, the textile industry , the food and beverage industry, in supply and disposal companies, and energy production companies

• Planning, manufacturing and assembly companies for process engineering machines and systems

• Monitoring and approval authorities, technical monitoring associations

• (also independent) engineering offices or expert offices