Project Synopsis

Perform a process simulation and optimization of a triple effect evaporator system with a final product stripper column.

Project Summary


The client, an equipment and technology provider, contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to perform a process simulation of a triple effect evaporator system with a final product stripper column.  PROCESS had previously performed a simulation of a similar system for the client, but the new system is being designed for a much larger process to be installed at an overseas location.  The purpose of the evaporators is to concentrate sugars and solids from a byproduct stream containing ethanol and water in a soy bean processing facility.

The client provided basic information regarding feed composition, along with target conditions in each stage, including pressure, temperature, and composition.  The goal of the simulation effort was to determine actual operating conditions in each stage necessary to achieve the desired product concentration, as well as to integrate the heat load between the various stages and the stripper column to maximize thermal efficiency.

PROCESS' licensed commercial computer process simulation software, CHEMCAD, was utilized to model system operation.  The simulation model showed that the process could achieve the product specifications.  However, it also showed that many of the target conditions that had been provided were incompatible.  Conditions in each stage were adjusted to obtain the ultimate product composition and to balance the stage-wise heat loads to minimize system steam usage.  The conditions required to achieve this were different from those originally proposed by the client.  Operating conditions determined included product concentration; operating pressure and temperature in each stage; stage recirculation rates; and steam consumption.  A Process Flow Diagram (PFD) with Heat and Material Balance (HMB) for the system was prepared to show system operating conditions.

After the initial simulation model was complete, the client requested additional assistance to size the evaporators.  CHEMCAD’s CCTHERM heat exchanger sizing software was used to perform a preliminary sizing of the heat exchangers.  The client used this preliminary size information to obtain cost estimates for the plant. 

Industry Type

  • Food Products Manufacturing
  • Equipment Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Heat transfer
  • Multi-stage evaporator design
  • Unit operations optimization

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