MIPPS archive - placements and projects

The Major Industrial Project Placement Scholarship (MIPPS) Scheme has been successfully running since 2000. Below is an archive of prior years placements and projects.


  • AB Mauri Technology and Development Pty Ltd., North Ryde, NSW
  • BOC Ltd., North Ryde, NSW
  • Dow, Sadara, Saudi Arabia (3 students)
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd., Geelong, VIC
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd., Altona, VIC
  • Orora Limited, Matraville, NSW
  • Osaka Gas, Osaka City, Japan
  • Parkes Shire Council, Parkes, NSW
  • Visy, Smithfield, NSW

Selected MIPPS 2016 Project Summaries

Project Title: Validation and Verification of Clean-in-Place Methods for Industrial Yeast Production

Company: AB Mauri

AB Mauri uses Clean-in-Place systems to remove carry-over contamination between batches. This project investigated if rapid microbiology monitoring tools could be used to validate and verify effective cleaning. The thesis presented AB Mauri with an increased understanding of the pitfalls in hygiene monitoring and justification for greater focus on hygienic design and maintenance.

Project Title: Scrubber System Performance Analysis and Process and Optimisation

Company: Dow Chemical Australia, Geelong

Dow Coating Materials produces a range of polymer emulsion products from acrylic monomers. A caustic scrubber at Geelong was installed in order to maintain safe levels of acrylic monomers in the atmosphere.

The project was to analyse the suitability of the scrubber for daily duty, both technically and operationally, and propose/implement solutions to improve required performance of scrubber.

Project Title: Improvements in the sugar pneumatic conveying system and bulk storage in the Propylene Oxide Derivates plant

Company: Dow Chemical Australia, Altona

Downtime can cost chemical plants hundreds of thousands each year in loss of production. Regardless of the industry, plant downtime means loss of revenue and higher operating costs.

The aims of this project are to identify the root cause(s) of unplanned downtime in the sugar system at the Dow Altona Polyol Plant, implement corrective actions and identify areas of improvement. The scope of this work also includes the development of a predictive preventive maintenance strategy for the sugar system.

Key corrective actions implemented in April 2016 have resulted in a 96% decrease in unplanned downtime of the sugar system and on average monthly reductions of $50,000 in loss of revenue.

Project Title: Sadara CHEM I Waste Water Compliance

Company: Dow

The project was based at The Sadara (JV between Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco) Brine and Chlorine Production Plant (CHEM I facility) in Saudi Arabia. A comprehensive measurement plan was developed for The entire facility to validate The design model used to predict waste water compliance. Through this project, mitigation activity not requiring capital investment was also proposed to be implemented for minor non-compliance events. The aims of this project were to reduce The risk of Plant shut down and prevent revenue loss due to delays in schedule.

Project Title: The Dow Human Element at Work

Company: Dow

The Dow Chemical Company expatriated over 700 employees (predominantly engineers) to work on the Sadara megaproject in Saudi Arabia. This industrial research project investigated the critical motivational factors influencing the expatriates success and assessed the effectiveness of the expatriate management practices implemented by Dow. In-depth interviews with senior management and employee surveys were conducted to analyse the expatriate population's viewpoints. The work produced has provided detailed insights for Dow with implementable recommendations for future expatriate projects and improvements for the current Sadara project.

Project Title: Characterising Chlorine Decay in the Parkes-Peak Hill Scheme

Company: Parkes Shire Council

Parkes Shire Council treat and supply drinking water to more than 10,000 consumers in regional NSW. Maintaining a residual concentration of chlorine in treated water is essential to protect public health. This study involved investigating major causes of chlorine decay, developing a chlorine decay model and recommending strategies to improve residual retention across the scheme.

Project Title: Aeration Bypass for Anaerobically Treated Wastewater

Company: Visy, Smithfield

This project investigated the feasibility of bypassing the aeration process or substituting a chemical process to assist in maintaining low biological oxygen demand and suspended solids in pulp and paper mill wastewater. The aim was to find process alternatives with less financial cost and environmental impact on air, water, and land, while maintaining high quality effluent. The feasibility of recycling final effluent into the mill to reduce fresh water consumption was also evaluated.


  • AB Mauri Technology and Development Pty Ltd., North Ryde, NSW (2 Students)
  • BOC Ltd., North Ryde NSW
  • Dow Chemical, Minneapolis, USA
  • Dow Chemical, Sadara, Saudi Arabia
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd., Geelong, VIC
  • Ignite Energy Resources, Somersby, NSW
  • Schneider Electric, Macquarie Park, NSW
  • Sydney Water, Parramatta, NSW
  • VISY, Smithfield, NSW

Selected MIPPS 2015 Project Summaries

Project title: An Empirical Study of HADY Yeast Drying Parameters for Maximum Quality Retention.

Sponsor: AB Mauri Technology

AB Mauri produces a range of Highly Active Dry Yeast or HADY with both low sugar and high sugar strains. Different operating conditions at different production facilities lead to differences in yeast quality. This study at the North Ryde Centre has investigated the impact of the drying temperature and drying duration on the yeast activity and yeast shelf life. Yeast activity is a measure of the carbon dioxide produced by a yeast sample whilst the shelf life is the activity following extended storage.

Project title: Improvements to Helium recovery at BOC’s Darwin plant

Sponsor: BOC Limited

An analysis was performed of the Helium losses incurred when insulated containers are filled with liquid Helium at the BOC Darwin plant. Various design options were produced to reduce losses and the hardware (compressors, pipeline, storage bag etc.) required to implement these alternatives. An economic analysis was produced of the cost-benefit and payback periods for the various options. This will enable the BOC Board to make rational decisions on upgrading the Darwin plant.

Project title: Sadara Reverse Osmosis Project

Sponsor: Dow-Aramco Sadara

The project was based at the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane plant within the bounds of the Sadara Chemical Company site, a Dow/Aramco JV in Jubail II, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This project was concerned with the improvement and reliability of testing procedures used to qualify RO membrane produced in Edina, USA for use in Jubail II. The aim of this thesis was to investigate whether differences in stack pressure testing affected the test results and to recommend optimal operating stack pressures for plate and frame in the KSA plant.

Project title: Pre-commissioning Improvement at the Sadara Polyethylene Envelope

Sponsor: Dow-Aramco Sadara

The punch verification and loop check efficiencies were tracked and measured though in-field studies at the Dow Aramco Polyethylene Envelope in Saudi Arabia. Work process for these activities were improved utilising six sigma methodology. The findings of this study have resulted in reduction of cost and schedule for the pre-commissioning phase at the Polyethylene Envelope and will be leveraged across the entire Sadara site.

Project title: Production Development - Syncrude & coal products processing for transportation and consignment to end-users

Sponsor: Ignite Energy Resources

The project investigated how Cat-HTR technology transforms low value lignite into upgraded black coal and synthetic crude oil via hydrothermal liquefaction with supercritical water. The upgraded black coal has the potential to be used as a PCI grade coal substitute for coke in steelmaking whilst the synthetic crude oil can be used as a source of platform chemicals and fuels for marine and start-up boiler applications. The project involved sample preparation, fuel property analysis and an economic analysis of upgrade options.

Project title: Challenges with Wastewater Odour: Regulation, monitoring, modelling and abatement

Sponsor: Sydney Water

Sewer odour has been posing a multidimensional challenge that can lead to odour complaints. Factors include the lack of satisfactory universal sensors, subjective nature of odour perception, requirements of complying with stringent environmental regulations and efficient abatement technologies. During this project, the existing models were modified for significant enhancement in prediction accuracy of odour potential, better compliance with regulations and improved performance was estimated using biofilters for odour abatement with substantial savings.

Project title: Numerical Modelling, Optimisation and Control of the Ball Mill, Hydrocyclone & Froth Flotation Mineral Processes.

Sponsor: Schneider-Electric

The project aimed to expand and enhance mining libraries used within SE's dynamic simulation software (DynSIM). The project involved:

  1. Developing numerical models of copper mineral processing operations

  2. Verifying and validating the models with physical data.

  3. Constructing mineral process simulations

  4. Developing process control schemes

The models are currently being implemented into DynSIM with physical data being obtained from Oulu Mining School.
The economic benefit for Schneider is mainly the enhancement and expansion of their simulation software, DynSIM which costs $140,000 per license.


  • AB Mauri Technology and Development Pty. Ltd. North Ryde, NSW (2 Students)
  • BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Corporation Pty. Ltd., Adelaide, SA (2 Students)
  • BOC Ltd. North Ryde, NSW
  • Dow Chemical, London, UK
  • Dow Chemical, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Dow Chemical, Sadara, Saudi Arabia
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd. Altona, VIC
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd. Geelong, VIC
  • Epuron Pty Ltd, North Sydney, NSW
  • Santos Ltd, Adelaide, SA
  • Sydney Water, Parramatta, NSW

Selected MIPPS 2014 Project Summaries

Project title:Development of optimum operating strategies for the acid digestion process at Cronulla Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Sponsor: Sydney Water

A balancing tank ahead of the anaerobic digester at Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was suspected of performing as an acid phase digester. This was confirmed by the high degree of solubilisation of organic matter and volatile fatty acids (VFA) produced. An experimental and theoretical investigation into the upstream performance of the anaerobic digester under varied operating conditions helped determine the optimum operational parameters. This enabled improvements in volatile acid formation (acidogenesis) with significant potential techno-economic benefits.

Project title: Cooper Basin Waste Management Plan

Sponsor: Santos

The update of the Cooper Basin Waste Management Plan required engagement with stakeholders, conducting surveys and interviews. The project required identification and analysis of a full range of legislative documents and company standards. This included visits to remote locations throughout Central Australia to develop an understanding about the waste management practices undertaken in the field. The Plan will improve Santos’ environmental performance and operational efficiency.

Project title: An Examination of Quality Reviews for the Dow Aramco Reverse Osmosis Project

Sponsor: The Dow Chemical Company

This project, based at Dow Chemicals offices in Houston USA, focused on Fluor and Dow Reverse Osmosis project quality reviews during the transition from FEED to Detail Design. It involved enhancing the Fluor review in order to meet the Dow requirements, reducing both cost and schedule. The aims of this project were achieved through a combination of desk reviews, interviews and surveys with experienced Dow and Fluor personnel.

Project title: Construction Productivity Study: Welding at Sadara CHEM II Isocyanates

Sponsor: The Dow Chemical Company

Through in-field studies, the labour productivity and welding productivity were tracked and measured at the Dow Aramco CHEM II Isocyanates construction project on location at Sadara Saudi Arabia. Through comparative analysis with literature, welding productivity benchmarks were established for the Middle East region and guidelines were developed for welding productivity improvement on future megaprojects.

Project title: Re-designing the Boggy Creek Carbon Dioxide (CO2) production plant to handle a different feed gas. Investigate cost-benefits of various options.

Sponsor: BOC

Through simulation studies, verified against both design parameters and historical operational data, it was determined how the CO2 plant would perform if it is required to operate on a different feed gas. To maintain production rates, various changes in the plant would be required and the economics of each option were analysed. BOC was provided with a complete UniSim model of the plant for future reference and/or plant modifications.

Project title: Planning the Regulatory Permitting Process for the Dow-Sadara Co-Polymer Polyols (CPP) Facility in Saudi Arabia

Sponsor: The Dow Chemical Company

This project, based in Houston USA, focused on the regulatory process for Dow-Sadara Co-polymers Polyol (CPP) project in Saudi Arabia. Its aim was to create a strategic permitting schedule and work process. ‘Lessons Learned’ were obtained from the procurement of capital equipment for the three polyethylene trains Dow Engineering Company (DEC) were contracted. Lessons learnt will be used for future Dow or Sadara projects in Saudi Arabia.

Project title: Commissioning and validation of Fluidised Bed Drying for Yeast

Sponsor: AB Mauri

The understanding of yeast fluidized-bed drying has been improved by the application of pilot-scale testing and scaling theory from the literature, allowing the performance of yeast drying to be extrapolated to different processing conditions of air and product. New pilot-scale fluidized-bed dryers had been built and commissioned, with MIPPS support during the project.

Project title: Emulsion and Dispersal Regeneration

Sponsor: AB Mauri

This experimental study based at North Ryde examined the formation and stability of nano-dispersions and emulsions. New methods of emulsion and dispersion generation were developed and tested.


  • AB Mauri Technology and Development Pty. Ltd. North Ryde, NSW
  • BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Corporation Pty. Ltd., Adelaide, SA (2 Students)
  • BOC Ltd. North Ryde, NSW
  • Dow Chemical, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Dow Chemical Australia Ltd. Geelong, VIC
  • Santos Ltd, Adelaide, SA
  • Sydney Water, Parramatta, NSW
  • VISY Pulp and Paper, Smithfield, NSW

Selected MIPPS 2013 Project Summaries

Project title: Impact of redox potential on copper recovery from copper sulphides

Sponsor: BHP Billiton

This experimental study examined the impact of redox potential on copper extraction from bornite, chalcocite and chalcopyrite minerals in low and high chloride leach media. Correlations provide acid consumption from gangue dissolution and the copper dissolution rates for different minerals under various processing conditions.

Project title: Optimisation of the Kooragang Island Carbon Dioxide Facility.

Sponsor: BOC

Through simulation studies, measurements on site and historical operational data,the MIPPS student was able to make robust conclusions on how to optimise the performance of the Kooragang Island carbon dioxide plant. She also provided BOC with a complete UniSim model of the plant for future reference and/or plant modifications.
Immediate cost savings of $130,000 p.a. have also been implemented.

Project title: Lessons Learned for Procurement for the Polyethylene Envelope for the Sadara Project.

Sponsor: Dow Engineering Company (DEC)

This project focused on ‘Lessons Learned’ from procurement of capital equipment for the three polyethylene trains Dow Engineering Company (DEC) were contracted to build at Sadara.

Through analysis and interviews, the student identified the key essential factors for good procurement performance and found that an earned value method (EVM) of reporting procurement progress has to have some inbuilt flexibility to allow for added/deleted orders.