Intern Update: Stephen Richardson

Chemical Engineering Intern, Stephen Richardson, has spent his summer at Prairie State gaining real-world experience in process engineering.

Stephen has been interfacing with water treatment and a chemical representative for an Oxamine trial. He has also been naming valve tags to correlate to a Piping and Instrumentation Diagram. His completed projects include a Fuelsolv trial, an absorber bleed chloride monitor investigation, and sampling resin beds for analysis.

Stephen’s ongoing projects include developing a procedure for sampling and analyzing gypsum filter cake and an ammonia flue gas desulfurization (FGD) study. The ammonia FGD study interested Stephen because of the processes involved.

With this being his second internship at Prairie State, Stephen was allowed some freedom to choose the projects he worked on. He enjoys the friendly atmosphere and high value placed on safety. “I appreciate that major projects are not considered ‘too important’ to involve an intern. My favorite part of working here is being able to go out into the plant and interact with operators, and I have gotten hands-on experience with the equipment and processes.”

Stephen has learned that the cause of issues in a process can be complex, and the best resource to find these contributing factors are the people involved in operating the process. He will remember troubleshooting the absorber chemistry and the importance of regular sampling.

This internship has reinforced Stephen’s interest in the power generation industry. He loves the variety of processes and equipment utilized in power generation, along with the wide acceptance of trying a new product to improve a process or lower emissions.

Stephen’s internship last summer made him consider a career in power generation and ultimately add an energy systems minor to his degree. This year has reinforced his desire to pursue a career in the power generation sector. Stephen will return to Iowa State University this fall to complete his senior year.