Two teams of undergraduate students from the University of Virginia Department of Chemical Engineering competed in the 2022 ChemE Sports Competition held at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ annual meeting in Phoenix.

Both teams, coached by assistant professor George Prpich, performed exceptionally well, with one team claiming third place, and the other finishing middle of the pack. Congrats to ChemE majors Ethan Kutner, Avery Baker, Eli Brna and Patrick Salvanera for their commitment and dedication.

This year’s ChemE-Sports program had the teams work on the separation of a mixture of heavy and light hydrocarbons using distillation – simulating a common industrial process used in refineries and petrochemical plants – with dual objectives of performance optimization and safety.

The competition, open to undergraduate AIChE student members, called for the teams to use computer simulations to work through multiple scenarios for the first round, with the highest-scoring teams advancing to the knockout rounds. The students were given real-life scenarios that could be observed in a plant and an objective to complete within a given timeframe.

Scoring was based on profitability and the safety of the unit during the simulated run for each team.