Refinery training facility the result of $1.6M EDA grant

    When students train for process technology and instrumentation at Lamar State College Port Arthur, they’ll be working with the real deal.

    The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced recently that LSCPA is the recipient of a $1.6 million Disaster Supplemental Funding Grant. With a $400,000 match provided by LSCPA, the total project cost is $2 million.

    The anticipated impact is the creation of 900 jobs.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity for Lamar State College Port Arthur to grow our petrochemical-related career training,” LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard said. “This new facility will provide a much more real-life learning experience to those seeking careers in the industry.”

    The EDA investment will fund a Process Technology Training Unit Project, which will provide state-of-the-art industrial training equipment for a complex located outside and adjacent to the existing Sheila McCarthy Umphrey Industrial Technology Center on the LSCPA campus.

    The training center will assist students employed in the regional petrochemical and chemical industries, which will increase the quality and quantity of the Port Arthur area workforce, especially helping aid the recovery from Hurricane Harvey while establishing resiliency for future natural disasters.

    “The relationship between the college and the petrochemical companies in the region has been a strong one and this new project helps solidify that bond of education resulting in a qualified and well-trained workforce,” Dr. Reynard said.

    The goal of the Process Technology Training Unit Project is to provide state-of-the-art training equipment for students enrolled in the Process Operating and Instrumentation programs, while also providing customized training for individuals currently employed in the regional petrochemical and chemical industries.

    The equipment complex will consist of three major sections including a distillation unit, a ‘HOT’ distillation unit, and skids for each unit.

    The Distillation Unit is a functional, large-scale, realistic, industrial process system that provides ‘real world’ training in operations regularly undertaken by process operators and instrumentation technician within the refining, petrochemical and oil and gas industries relating to a distillation process.

    A binary mixture of glycol and water is used as the feedstock for the unit. The distillation process yields 99 percent pure water and glycol.

    The “HOT” Distillation Unit provides a functional, large-scale training environment that provides realistic hands-on training in the functionality of a complete distillation process. The unit includes a 32-foot high, 12-inch diameter functional distillation column. The device allows for distillation with pressure manipulation through vacuum, feed rate changes, and experimentation with, or manipulation of, different feed composition mixtures, temperatures and reflux ratios. Activities focus on common tasks and formal procedures undertaken on a daily basis by operators in many industries.

    “This proven, full-size tool will make training more memorable, effective, and realistic for both existing workers, students and trainees,” Dr. Reynard said. “Individuals who utilize the Process Technology Training Unit will have a more realistic workplace experience, making them more valuable to potential employers.”

    Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2018.