Pilot Plant Design, Construction, and Operation

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Course Overview

Learn how to bring a pilot plant to life, including:

  • Defining the pilot plant program effectively.
  • Cost schedule and factors.
  • Design options.
  • Space requirements.
  • Control system selection.
  • Start-up planning.
  • Maintenance.
  • Operations.

Who Should Attend?

Engineers, scientists, researchers, contractors, supervisors and operators who build, design, operate, support or maintain pilot plant and laboratory units will learn the essentials and critically examine alternative to traditional approaches.

The course will be valuable to those in food, chemical, petrochemical, biofuels, nutraceutical, mineral, pharmaceutical, government, and academic operations. 

Additional Information

Course textbook

The textbook for this course is Pilot Plant Design, Operation, and Construction, by Richard P. Palluzi, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1992. The text is included in your enrollment fee. 

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Course Outline

Defining a Pilot Plant Program

  • What is a pilot plant?
  • Defining the goals of the pilot plant
  • Identifying key issues
  • Selecting the appropriate strategy
  • Developing a design basis
  • Prototype concerns and implications

Pilot Plant Cost Factors

  • Practical effects of budget constraints
  • Estimating pilot plant design and construction costs
  • Estimating start-up costs
  • Estimating operating costs
  • Frequently overlooked cost factors
  • Reducing pilot plant costs

Pilot Plant Scheduling

  • Crash programs
  • Effective scheduling

Types of Space Suitable for Pilot Plant Operations

  • Separate buildings
  • Containment cells
  • Open bays
  • Hoods and laboratory areas
  • Estimating pilot plant space requirements

Pilot Plant Design

  • Design approaches
  • Differences from process plant design
  • Developing a pilot plant design specification
  • Options for designing and constructing a pilot plant 

Pilot Plant Control Systems

  • Determining system requirements
  • Selecting the right control system
  • Types of computer control systems

Pilot Plant Start-up

  • Differences from major process unit start-up
  • Optimizing start-up efforts
  • Start-up resources
  • Start-up sequences
  • Equipment
  • Calibration
  • Turn-key vs. in-house start-up
  • Flushing
  • Leak testing

Pilot Plant Maintenance

  • Advantages of good maintenance
  • Types of maintenance
    • Operational issues
    • Organizational models
    • Shift work
    • On-line maintenance
  • How to minimize maintenance costs
  • Typical maintenance costs
  • In-house or contracted maintenance
  • Miscellaneous issues





"I was looking for a good overview and this course delivered."
Pilot Plant Operations Superintendent

"The three days in class provided more information than working on the job for the past year!"
Research Engineer

"This course gave me an excellent base to work from. The notes are a valuable resource and reference."
Research Scientist

"Rich is a passionate instructor, who provided a very practical course, packed with real-world examples."
Senior Research Technician


Richard Palluzi

Richard P. Palluzi, PE, CSP, of Richard P. Palluzi LLC is a consultant to the pilot plant and laboratory research community on safety, design, and research project management. He retired as a Distinguished Engineering Associate after almost 40 years at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, where he was involved in the design, construction, and support of pilot plants and laboratories for ExxonMobil’s research site in Clinton, New Jersey, as well as affiliates worldwide. Rich is the author of two books, and numerous articles and presentations as well as a past chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Pilot Plant Committee, ExxonMobil’s Pilot Plant and Laboratory Safety Standards Committee, and ExxonMobil’s Safe Operations Team for their Clinton facility. Rich is on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NFPA-45 Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals and NFPA-55 Industrial and Medical Gasses committees. He has BE and ME degrees in chemical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. 

Elaine Andrysick

Elaine M. Andrysick, joined Engineering Professional Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a continuing engineering education specialist in 1988.  She is responsible for the development and delivery of high-value continuing engineering education short courses for practicing professionals in the areas of chemical and process engineering and laser material processing.  Also, she manages the University’s Laser Welding Certificate program.

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Program Director

Elaine Andrysick

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