Project Synopsis

Evaluation of plant utilities (vents, thermal oxidizer, flares, steam, hot oil and nitrogen systems) for the purpose of supporting a new plant process. Vent System Simulation Diagram

Thermal Oxidizer Simulation Diagram

Project Summary


The client had recently purchased a batch specialty organic chemical manufacturing facility in the U.S.  The client corporate engineering group had executed a process design for a new batch process for manufacturing a proprietary specialty organic chemical.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to execute an evaluation of plant utilities for the purpose of determining their suitability and capacities for servicing the new process.  Utilities systems evaluated included the following:

  • Process vent system
  • Process vent thermal oxidizer
  • Process vent flare
  • Plant steam system
  • Plant hot oil system
  • Plant nitrogen system.

PROCESS' licensed commercial process simulation software was used to evaluate the process vent system.  First, with knowledge of the locations of equipment for the new process, PROCESS developed vent system piping layouts that detailed the new connections between the equipment and the existing vent headers.  PROCESSalso developed comprehensive physical and chemical characterizations based on the operating procedures, process flow diagrams (PFDs), and pilot plant data developed by the client corporate staff.  The simulation software hydraulics package was used to execute a hydraulics model of the vent system under various operating scenarios, thus allowing for vent piping sizing and the development of a vent system mass and energy balance and PFD.  The existing vent system fan was also evaluated as part of the vent system process simulation, and fan system design and control system modification changes developed.  Finally, potential vent system explosive limit violations were also evaluated as part of this process.

The thermal oxidizer was also evaluated using the simulation software.  Using the Gibbs Free Energy reactor module and the vent stream characterizations described above, PROCESS was able to simulate operation of the thermal oxidizer.  In this fashion, PROCESS was able to evaluate operation of the system, assess operation from a regulatory requirements standpoint, and design a modified control system to help ensure efficient and safe operation of the unit.  The waste stream characterizations described above were also used to assess flare operation compliance with regulatory requirements and to design the required modifications.

Once again using data developed by the client corporate engineering group, an overall energy balance was developed for the new process.  This information was used to evaluate the existing plant steam and hot oil systems for suitability and capacity relative to the new process.  Design changes and process improvements were developed for the systems based on this evaluation.

Nitrogen requirements were also determined based on the corporate group information as well as engineering information obtained for the nitrogen-using unit operations, and these requirements were compared with the existing nitrogen system capacity.

Industry Type

  • Batch Organic Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Plant utilities evaluations
  • Computer process simulation
  • Gibbs free energy reactor modeling
  • Hydraulics modeling
  • Basic Engineering Design (BED)

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