Shell Puget Sound Refinery hosts chemistry class from San Juan Center of Skagit Valley College

Shell was honored to recently host Dr. Michael Balise’s beginning chemistry class from the San Juan Center of Skagit Valley College (SVC) at the Puget Sound Refinery (PSR), and provide a demonstration on the “Mini-PSR distillation unit,” helping bring to life the chemical concepts being learned in the classroom.

Process Engineer Steve Williams and Civil Engineer Monick Estrada of the Puget Sound Refinery, delivered the presentation, hosted at the refinery on Friday March 4th, which provided a unique lens into the refining process.

The “Mini-PSR Refinery” is a special distillation unit, made mostly of glass, which allows the viewer to see how the distillation process works. While the actual refining process distills crude oil and creates critical products that people depend on such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and propane, the “Mini-PSR Refinery” models the distillation process with water and food coloring, to demonstrate how molecules are separated within the various towers at the Puget Sound Refinery.

Eight students as well as Dr. Balise and SVC Office Administrator Cathy Degnan attended the presentation, and engaged in informative discussion about the chemistry behind the refining process, Shell’s place in the community, and the importance of manufacturing the critical fuel products our region depends on.

“We enjoyed hearing from both the chemistry and engineering perspectives that Monick and Steve provided,” said Degnan. “They did a great job explaining both the mechanics and processes of the refinery, and we believe our students benefitted greatly from the insiders perspective.”