Sean Moran

Visiting Professor in Chemical Engineering
Staff profile picture for Sean Moran

Sean is a chemical engineer of twenty-five years standing with a water and environmental engineering specialisation. His background is in the design, commissioning and troubleshooting of sewage, industrial effluent and water treatment plant. He produced the IChemE's latest book on process plant design, and recently updated Mecklenburgh's "Process Plant Layout". He is presently working on his third book, "An Applied Guide to Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Design". In his free time he likes to cook.


  • SFHEA Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2015
  • FIChemE Institution of Chemical Engineers 2013
  • EUR ING FEANI 2013
  • PGCHE University of Nottingham 2011
  • CEng Chartered Chemical Engineer 1995
  • MSc Biochemical Engineering, University College London 1991
  • BSc Science & the Environment, Leicester Polytechnic 1990


Sean has twenty-five years of experience as a professional engineer, designing, commissioning and troubleshooting water and effluent treatment plant, and has run his own design consultancy since 1996.

He has been involved in the training and teaching of young engineers for almost twenty years. He is foremost an engineering practitioner, but with the support of the RAEng he obtained a PGCHE in 2011. He is now a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and has won two awards for teaching excellence.

He is interested in identifying the gap between academic and professional engineering, and closing this gap using intensive exposure to real engineering design problems, engineering practitioners, and process plants.


Undergraduate learning will be enhanced by integrating the teaching of process plant design as it is practised by professionals into the undergraduate programme. Sean will teach students professional design skills throughout the course, starting with a key contribution to the Year 1 Professional Skills module, and culminating in two new modules, covering Advanced Process Plant Design and water-related aspects of Environmental Engineering, the two areas at the core of his professional practice.

The modules are all core elements of the engineering degree programme and will be taken by approximately 30 students each. Further details of each module are outlined below.

Year 1 Professional Skills for Scientists and Engineers

In this 20-credit module, students will develop a range of transferable and study skills which will support them throughout their academic journey and beyond. In particular, they will develop key skills for enhanced employability: communication and team-working, and they will understand the need to take responsibility for their own learning.

More specifically, as part of this module, students will be introduced to the design process as an integrating theme common to engineering degrees, and will develop supporting technical skills in drawing and CAD. These aspects of the module will be led under this proposal by Sean Moran.

Sean will lead an overview of the design process, introducing the key stages of concept, FEED, detailed design, and design for construction.

He will introduce students to the various types of 2D and 3D drawing used in professional engineering practice and the standards which govern their format. Students will develop their visual thinking and learn practical skills using industry-standard CAD software packages. By the end of the module, students will have created a portfolio of manual and CAD drawings.

Year 3 Environmental Engineering

In this module, the emphasis is on process engineering strategies to control and mitigate the impact of liquid effluents and gaseous emissions.

Sean Moran will deliver 50% of this 20-credit module, contributing in two key areas. His Water and Wastewater Engineering section will cover sources of water pollution, design and operation of water treatment and disinfection processes. He will also teach the linked Gaseous Emissions section which will cover sources of air pollution, atmospheric dispersion modelling and air pollution abatement technology.

Sean’s contribution to the module will be delivered via lectures, tutorials and groupwork exercises and students will learn to develop design solutions to environmental problems taking account of relevant environmental, legislative and commercial factors.
In addition, Sean will also aim to arrange a site visit to a local water treatment works which will further enhance student learning.

Year 4 Advanced Process Plant Design

Sean will lead this new combined design and research project module, which will be undertaken by teams of 6 students, and will involve both group and individual working. The basic elements of the project involve an initial group design element, followed by some research to inform the final group conceptual process engineering design part of the project.

Students will be issued with a real client brief. Such briefs are by their nature far less explicit and complete than those students normally see in an academic setting. After an initial attempt to develop the design, students will be required to perform research studies to identify the most appropriate combination of technologies. They must demonstrate and justify the use of appropriate calculation methods to both size and determine the performance of integrated unit operations in order to achieve the required process outcome.

The design element will involve the selection of an appropriate initial process scheme followed by preparation of a process flow diagram with associated materials and energy balances. The design will also include control, operational, safety, environmental and economic aspects in addition to the outline design of important plant operations.

This will then be followed by group student research project element, aimed at reducing the errors or uncertainties inherent to the originally proposed conceptual process engineering design process. The research segment will consist of a critical review of relevant literature and subsequent research work, which may be experimental, computational or theoretical in nature.

The final element of the project is a re-evaluation and redesign of the initial conceptual design project in the light of the improved information gleaned from an analysis of the impact of the results of the individual student research projects.

In addition to face to face teaching, Sean will assist the Department in developing a broader curriculum to produce work-ready graduates. He has substantial prior experience of this from his prior experience at other institutions and will be able to advise on how to improve industrial relevance across the degree programme, making use of the design skills which students will develop in Year 1.


Sean is a practitioner, not a researcher.

Published work

  • Troubleshooting Wastewater Treatment Plants Sep 2017 AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress Magazine
  • Scale-Up in Chemical Engineering Jun 20, 2017 Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia, Wiley-VCH 
  • Loop Reactors Jun 20, 2017 Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia, Wiley-VCH 
  • Case Study: Coordinated Design and Employability Teaching May 22, 2017 IET/EPC New Approaches to Engineering Higher Education Conference 
  • Chemical Plants: Performance Measurement of Processes Apr 3, 2017 Ullmanns Encylopaedia Wiley-VCH
  • Design and Layout of Process Plants Dec 14, 2016 IET Engineering & Technology Reference 
  • Process Plant Layout — Becoming a Lost Art? Dec 4, 2016 Chemical Engineering Magazine
  • Pump Sizing: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice Dec 2016 AIChE Chemical Engineering Practice Magazine
  • Process Plant Layout, Second Edition Nov 25, 2016 IChemE/Elsevier 
  • Reactor Types and Their Industrial Applications Nov 22, 2016 Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia, Wiley-VCH    
  • Pseudo Fluid Modelling used in the Design of Continuous Flow Supercritical Water Oxidation Reactors with improved Corrosion Resistance
  • Jun 2016 The Journal of Supercritical Fluids     
  • Chemical Plant Design and Construction  May 2016 Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia, Wiley-VCH
  • Construction Materials in the Chemical Industry May 2016 Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia, Wiley-VCH
  • The Last Word: Research Is Overemphasised Feb 2016 ASEE Prism Magazine
  • Competitive Pricing of Process Plants Dec 2, 2015 Chemical Engineering Magazine
  • An Applied Guide to Process and Plant Design, First Edition Apr 20, 2015 IChemE/Elsevier