Lecturer, Engineering and Applied Physics
Room: Plas Coch Campus
On leaving university, David joined Shell UK (now Royal Dutch Shell) to pursue a career in manufacturing. His early years were spent in chemical manufacturing as a trainee technologist, during which time he became a Chartered Engineer through private study. David then transferred to oil refining, working on the first generation of real-time process computers, developing data logging and algorithms to improve plant operation.
His first assignment in the Netherlands was in the training division of Shell International, developing technical self study courses for Shell’s chemical engineers worldwide. This was David's first experience of a training role and he became interested in the theory of adult learning and the use of emerging technologies in education.
David said: "My career then entered its most technically rewarding phase. Working with an international team in US and Europe, we developed one of the first applications of real-time, closed loop optimisation of process plants in the world. Shell’s proprietary technology used Sequential Quadratic Programming to optimise rigorous non-linear process models of refinery processes, including crude oil distillation, catalytic cracking and catalytic reforming. The outcome was significant enhancement in the operability, efficiency and profitability of these plants. In total, I spent some 12 years working in the field of process optimisation.
"Working for a large multi-national company, I was fortunate to work in a diverse and multi-cultural environment for much of my career. I was fortunate to have a four year assignment in South Africa during the period of transition to democracy. Again, training played a significant role on a refinery where the engineers were often young, mobile and from diverse backgrounds.
"My last assignment in the Netherlands before leaving the oil industry was perhaps the most enjoyable. I led of team of engineers delivering services in the marine logistics of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Event driven computer simulation was used to model the stochastic processes around LNG shipping operations. The team advised multi-billion dollar global LNG projects on their investments in shipping, storage and harbour facilities. I also lead a project to develop a new software tool to enhance the modelling and visualisation of LNG logistics. It was fascinating to finish my career in an emerging technology having a major impact on world energy trading.
"I joined Wrexham Glyndŵr University as a part-time sessional lecturer to pursue my interest in education and an ongoing fascination for science and engineering. My current focus is on teaching (any motivation to return to research is currently in check). Although my own education was very traditional, I am always interested in exploring unconventional methods and new technologies to enhance the student experience and learning outcome. I find that Wrexham Glyndŵr University both encourages and supports new initiatives which could benefit its students."
BSc Physics – Class I, University of Bristol, 1972
PhD Physics – University of Cambridge, 1976
CEng, MIChemE, 1983
MEng Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies