UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Bioprocess Plant Design

Course Title  BENG3004
Level Three
Credits  1.0
Module Tutor  Professor Suzy Farid
Assessment  Project Report (80%)
Oral Presentation (10%)
How to Change the World (10%)


This course is designed to apply biochemical engineering knowledge gained in earlier courses to the complete design of a bioprocess plant for the production of biotech products arising out of life science discoveries. Such products would typically include biopharmaceutical products arising out of Phase II clinical trials.

Learning Hours


Lectures and Tutorials: 80h
Poster and Oral Presentations to Industrial Board: 15h


The students work in groups but each student undertakes individual tasks contributing to the final group report. The students will be presented with a novel life science target with a guide to desired production scale and indication of market potential (e.g. clinical efficiency and patient scope). They will prepare a literature appraisal report as the foundation to the design stages.

(a) Creation and analysis of a bioprocess. This first part of the accredited design study will define the process options to be considered based on literature appraisal. The output will be the process flowsheet definitions, completed mass balances across the total process and an appraisal of equipment sizes/scales.

(b) Economic appraisal. This section will develop abilities in fast evaluation and analysis of bioprocess design problems. It will include aspects of project scheduling, economic appraisal (COG, NPV, IRR) and sensitivity analysis to predict impact of uncertainties.

(c) Detailed design to satisfy regulations.  This section will take students from the specification of equipment through the stage of reconciling equipment needs with layouts. Each team will prepare a complete design report covering preparation and analysis of facility layouts; personnel, material and equipment flows to satisfy GMP and minimise contamination risks; facility area classifications and room pressure regimes for personnel safety and product purity; piping and instrumentation and specification of control; hazard identification using HAZOP; SHE appraisal including biosafety and containment appraisal, environmental impact and sustainability of waste treatment, safety precautions with equipment (eg explosivity), chemicals (eg flammability) and biohazardous materials; HSE and GMP regulations; mechanical design of a key equipment item with appropriate mechanical drawing.

This module also includes the Integrated Engineering Programme initiative 'How to Change the World', which brings together students from the humanities, engineering and science for two weeks in a problem-solving workshop. 

Students are invited to think critically about the challenges and opportunities facing our world today, working with project partners from organisations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent, Department of Transport, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the World Bank, examining real-world scenarios in a creative way.

Further information at: How to Change the World