Research Facility Services

Research Facilities Present Special Challenges

PROCESS has significant experience in performing process engineering services for a number of different research facilities. In some ways these projects are similar to working with companies trying to develop and commercialize a new technology; what they are trying to achieve has typically not been done before and there are some unique challenges, there are often more concepts than firm answers when it comes to defining how a particular system may work, and the client needs someone with significant and a varied experience base to guide them through the process evaluation/development/design/startup. Some of the unique challenges R&D facility projects present are invariably associated with the design and management of process parameters under abnormal or extreme cases not typically seen in the commercial processing world. Projects like this require a level of analysis far beyond what is required to design a simple distillation system BUT they are still problems that can be solved by the correct application of basic chemical engineering principles. Here are only a few examples of some of the special challenges we have encountered:

  • designing proper hydraulics for critical cooling water systems in the ml/hour flow range to properly cool multi-million dollar, one-of-a-kind research equipment
  • designing processes to control pressures to within +/- 0.0005 psig
  • designing systems to remove or separate unusual compounds
  • designing special safety systems not typically found in industrial applications.

Here are a few of the development phases where PROCESS can assist R&D facility clients:

  • High level process technology review (feasibility study) to make sure a proposed process idea is feasible and does not violate physical and thermodynamic laws
  • Provide a screening study to help narrow down the best possible process options to work along side your developed technology for a particular application
  • Provide the necessary balance of plant design around a particular technology or equipment
  • Provide process engineering consulting to help build in proven processing concepts for an efficient and reliable process or equipment design
  • Create a custom detailed process simulation that validates the process and acts as a repository for all critical process information
  • Provide independent engineering validation commentary along with associated engineering documents (PFDs, H&MBs, etc.) to convince the stakeholder that a process is real and viable...or not
  • Spreadsheet simulation tools that allow someone not trained in process simulation to make changes to process parameters such as feed composition, rates, etc. and view the results. These tools can also provide economic analysis numbers such as operating costs, energy usage, ROI, and more for various trials that may be considered for testing
  • Provide Pilot Plant, Demonstration Plant, or Semi-works scale process design packages (Design Basis, Simulations, H&MBs, PFDs, Equipment Specs, P&IDs, Controls Description, Cost Estimates, etc.)
  • Provide pilot test plans and pilot testing oversight
  • Help estimate key physical property information that may not be known
  • Provide process engineering support at any phase of the project
  • Provide scale-up process designs for scaling up your process from lab to pilot, pilot to demonstration, or demonstration to commercial size.


Seeing Your Technology Implemented

Forming a trusted relationship with PROCESS puts you in a position to confidently evaluate and develop your research facility's processes as program needs change. Utilizing PROCESS as your process engineering partner helps ensure, from a process standpoint, that your systems will be effective, efficient, and operate very reliably for your scientific operating staff.

View Research Facility Projects we have performed here and our Pilot Plant Projects here.

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