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A New Educational Approach towards Preparing Skilled Chemical Engineers for Special Assignments in the Energy Field

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2013 ASEE International Forum


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Track 4 - Session II - Student and Curriculum Development II

Tagged Topic

Student and Curriculum Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

21.4.1 - 21.4.6

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Paper Authors


Nimir Elbashir Texas A&M University at Qatar

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Dr. Elbashir is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) and the Manger its Fuel Characterization Lab. He has over sixteen years of research and teaching experience. His research activities are mainly focused on design of advanced reactors and processes for the XTL technology (coal-to-liquid, gas-to-liquid and biomass-to liquid), and development of catalysts for the petrochemical and environmental industry. He holds several US and European patents and tremendous publications in form of peer reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings as well as conference and industry technical reports publications. He completed research studies on design of reactor technology and applied catalysis for several world-leading companies (BASF Corporation, and SABIC R&T). He is currently leading a research team whose funds exceed 5 million US dollars in collaboration with researchers from eight prestigious universities around the globe and with scientists from world-leading industries. The scholarship of his research activities has been recognized by Qatar Foundation’s 2012 Best Energy & Environment Research Programme of the year in addition to awards the Gordon Research Conferences, BASF Corporation, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Texas A&M University.

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Hamid R. Parsaei P.E. Texas A&M University at Qatar

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Elfatih E Elmalik Texas A&M University at Qatar

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A New Educational Approach towards Preparing Skilled Chemical Engineers for Special Assignments in the Energy FieldTexas A&M University opened a campus in the Education City of Qatar in 2003 by offeringBachelor of Science degrees in four engineering majors; chemical, electrical, mechanical andpetroleum. The curricula offered at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) are materiallyidentical to the ones offered at the main campus in Texas and courses are taught in English in acoeducational setting. The reputation for excellence is the same, as is the commitment to trainingengineers equipped to lead the next generation of engineering discovery. Qatar has world-classnatural gas reserves, as well as significant reserves of petroleum and it host the most advancedexisting plants and refineries in Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) technology, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG),in addition to several chemicals and petrochemical plants. The Chemical Engineering program atTAMUQ takes full advantage of this unique environment to build a globalized education modelthat benefits the training of our students in both teaching and research. Considering the urgentneeds of energy companies and global corporates in Qatar and the region for qualified chemicalengineers we developed a unique program that benefits all parties and supports our advancededucation model. In this paper we will share the model we developed to prepare highlydemanded skilled engineers for the energy market in Qatar, the region, and the world. Specialresearch programs have been developed for both undergraduate and graduate students as part ofthis model in addition to new elective courses aimed at teaching the students the fundamentalsbehind the applied experiences they gained in the research programs. Furthermore, this paperdiscussed the potential for incorporating such a model as part of the curriculum of theengineering program to prepare the future engineers who will be leading technologydevelopment and operation in different setup from the previous generations.Through a synergistic collaboration between industry and academia, our Fuel CharacterizationLab (FCL) at the Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) studies the relationship betweenthe structure of Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) derived synthetic jet fuels and their properties. In a shorttime span our research team built a world-class lab, and generated a significant amount ofreliable data. This data was subsequently subjected to advanced statistical analysis methods inorder to visualize the trend and draw scientifically meaningful conclusions from this work. Ourmethodology was to systematically generate several series of synthetic fuel blends. A trainedteam of supervised undergraduate students were responsible for testing the fuel blends for theirproperties following strict safety and quality management regulation. This one example researchproject in the FCL acts has been used as a training ground for our students in order to developtheir technical and soft skills that are much needed for success in their future careers in local andregional industries. One elective course that targeted the fundamentals behind this project hasbeen developed for the students involved in this research work. Besides the theoretical and thetechnical experience the students get the opportunity to work in a professional environment,report scientific data and draw conclusions from this information in order to make decisions onthe next phases of the research work. Furthermore, they experience working as a team, teaching,leadership and holding joint responsibility for meeting deadlines and reaching the highest qualitystandards that our Lab demands. Many of these graduates are currently employees of majorenergy corporates such as Shell, Maersk Oil, Total, and Qatar Petroleum or pursuing a higherdegree in a graduate program in esteemed schools. This paper will provide more details on theimportance of such programs in the future career of these students.

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