EBLteam assists when requested to remain on during the detail engineering and construction phases of projects for which we have performed the process design. In this oversight role, any process change requests are routed through our engineers for approval or comment. This helps ensure that the client understands what the impact may be on the process as changes and alternatives are suggested. Many times, there is great pressure to hold down costs as the civil, mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation details of the plant are developed. The temptation to remove seemingly inconsequential process components can lead to an off-spec product, low throughput, high operating costs, etc. We can help prevent such problems by merely serving as the process of integrity watchdog.
Also, many times EBL can provide vendor technical and cost proposal evaluations to assist the client in making the best technology selection possible., we provide these services in a completely objective manner and make what we feel is the best recommendation based solely upon the technical and economic aspects of the options. We can also provide valuable assistance during the construction phase of the project.
We evaluate process options aimed at achieving one or more specific goals. These goals run the gamut from improved throughput, quality, or consistency, to emissions reduction, energy recovery, or waste minimization. In such cases, we begin by determining the current state of the process. This is done through a series of interviews and discussions with the client’s technical, engineering, and plant operating personnel. Additionally, plant process data is collected in various forms, some of which include P&IDs, batch sheets, DCS data logs, heat and material balance information (if it exists), operation logs, etc. Our engineers then begin to analyze the situation via experience, calculations, simulation techniques, and consultation with other industrial expertise at EBL as needed.
The outcome is a technical engineering critique of the current process with a focus on the areas which need the most improvement. The economic cost implications of the current process are modelled to establish the baseline from which all potential improvements will be evaluated. We can further assist in identifying viable technical options and providing an economic comparison between them if requested. Based on technical process option merits, economic cost implications (capital/operating, fixed/variable), and our experienced-based evaluation of the relative suitability of each process option, a final solution is recommended.
We assist our clients with chemical engineering process design after they have done some level of due diligence to confirm that their process technology should work in real life. Sometimes the available information will include well-executed pilot plant trial data, process heat and materials balance information, and all the necessary physical and chemical properties fully defined. Unfortunately, the more typical information consists of academic papers, some lab test data, and maybe some pseudo pilot plant information with stream property information only on the major products at best. Most times, client usually has one or more technical staff members who are excellent at coming up with the innovative process idea, but lack the industrial process or design detail experience to bring the system to an efficiently functioning reality.
EBLteam will evaluate this information, review the pilot plant setup, interview the client’s technical staff, and often perform a literature search to determine what stage the process development is at and what information may be lacking. We will perform preliminary design verification calculations to ensure that the data and information, as presented, is not likely breaking any of the irrefutable laws of physics or thermodynamics. If the information is insufficient to proceed, we then suggest a path forward to either collect additional information to fill in the gaps or rethink the entire process if major flaws are uncovered. We strongly encourage clients to utilize pilot plant trials to work through most of the process challenges. Our engineers have a great deal of experience with pilot plant testing and scale up designs. Both our operations and design experience allow us to make many critical improvement suggestions in areas such as materials of construction, equipment layout, operational safety considerations, operability and maintenance, process controls, and more. These inputs are folded into the scaled-up design for the larger process. A rigorous process simulation model is then created to provide compete heat and material balance information, operating conditions, hydraulic pressure drop data, and more. At this stage we consult with the client to help evaluate the project’s potential technical and economic changes for success. Finally, assuming the project is deemed viable, P&IDs, equipment specifications, and a cost estimate of the new commercial sized process is generated. This package is then ready for detail engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC).
Any of the design services listed above may include some or all the following components. The items included and level of detail will vary depending on client’s desires or on which phase the project is in. The more mature the process design, the more of these components will be included.
- Process design basis development
- Regulatory basis development
- Conceptual process design
- Process computer simulation
- Mass and energy balances
- Technical and economic process alternatives evaluation
- Advanced spreadsheet-simulation-spreadsheet user interfacing
- Process control system design
- Detail process design
- Design basis
- Mass and energy balance computer simulations
- Process simulation models for client use
- Process flow diagrams (PFDs)
- Process control logic and process control diagrams (PCDs)
- Capital cost estimate
- Operating cost estimate
- Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs)
- Equipment plot plans
- Utility flow diagrams
- Equipment lists
- Equipment sizing and specifications datasheets
- Preliminary process hazards analysis documentation
- Plant layouts
- Preliminary process operating manuals
We use commercial process simulation software (CHEMCAD, Aspen or Hysys) and/or in-house simulation programs to perform
- Detailed mass and energy balances
- Unit operation design/evaluation
- Piping system hydraulics calculations
- Relief and flare system design/evaluation
- Heat exchanger design/evaluation