22:20 PM

Del Mar College Recognizes Pilot Plant Expansion Donors

Process Technology and other programs benefit from gift that expands training

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso

With the ever-increasing number of businesses and industry coming into the region, the need for trained technicians is growing exponentially. With the support of industry partners, Del Mar College (DMC) is meeting the training needs of local industry in the Coastal Bend and South Texas workforce.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, DMC recognized the City of Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corporation Type A Funds, NuStar Energy and Cheniere Energy, Inc. for their support of the DMC Pilot Plant Expansion Project.

The Pilot Plant Expansion Project totals $5 million for cutting-edge equipment that is enhancing DMC students’ training. The pilot plant expansion units address the industry’s growing need for skilled technicians in process technology, millwright, industrial machining and related fields by providing state-of-the-art instructional equipment for hands-on training and experience.

Del Mar’s Pilot Plant expansion facilities play an integral role in students’ training experience. Students enrolled in the Process Technology, Instrumentation, Industrial Machining, Millwright and related programs are using the custom-built units to simulate conditions they’ll face on the job with area industry employers.  

The four additional units are:

Ethylene Cracker
Distributed Control System (DCS) unit.  
Unit has a fired heater with a stand-alone SIS (safety instrumented system) which industry recommends for training students on energy balance and material balance.
Unit is the only one that has variable frequency drives (VFD) for motor control.

LNG Liquefaction/Regasification Unit
DCS controlled to emulate the liquefied natural gas (LNG) process.
Unit demonstrates how LNG facilities transport natural gas in from the wells, how the facility transforms it from a gas for distribution, and how it is stored and shipped to the consumer.

Operational Tear Down Skid
Built to emulate industry outside units.
Unit provides instructional opportunities in freshman level theory and hands-on training.
Lock-out-tag-out, confined space, blinds, pressure testing equipment, line breaks, and material balance are among the skills taught with this unit.

Nustar Pump Transfer Unit
“Life size” unit used as a training unit for DMC students and industry partners.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) controlled unit which emulates facility pipeline infrastructure.
Used for continuing education purposes.
Utilized in teaching instrumentation and electrical fundamentals.

In August 2014, DMC opened the first phase of its existing processing pilot plant that simulates the processes used in real-world petrochemical, refining or processing facilities.

During the recognition event, Process Technology Program major Krista Warnell shared that she plans to graduate in May. She juggles a household of five children and a husband while taking DMC courses and says “It’s anything but easy.”

“I am extremely grateful to the donors who contributed to making the pilot plant expansion possible,” said Warnell. “For myself, as well as current and future students, we now have a way to apply what we learned in the classroom to experiencing it for ourselves.” She noted that the expanded facilities provide a full understanding of what it is that students are learning, allowing the curriculum to come full circle. “We now have an idea of what to expect going out into the workforce after graduating” she added.


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.