Project Synopsis

Develop a preliminary (FEL-1) process design package for a new colloidal silica plant based on operating data from an existing plant.

Project Summary


The client, a world-wide producer of chemicals and commodity materials, currently produces colloidal silica at an existing manufacturing facility.  The purpose of this project, contracted to Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) by the client's corporate office, was to develop an FEL-1 design for a new colloidal silica plant to be co-located at a different existing production facility.  The new plant is to be designed to produce one specific silica product exclusively.  The new plant design was based on information from the existing plant operations.  As warranted, the existing plant configuration was modified to better meet the goals of the new plant.  This included such items as differing vessel sizes and equipment selection.  These items were tailored to better accommodate (1) the different production facility, and (2) product output (reactor cycles per day).

PROCESS completed the following tasks and developed the following process design documents in support of this effort:

  • Process Design Basis Document – A Design Basis was developed from existing plant process design data and input from client Personnel.  The Design Basis included items such as basic equipment sizing, plant throughput, reactor cycles per day, and other items used to develop FEL-1 design.
  • Preliminary PFD – A Preliminary Process Flow Diagram (PFD) was developed for the major process elements of the design.  A corresponding batch-based preliminary mass and energy balance was developed using a spreadsheet model.  Material balance streams were identified and labeled and shown on the PFD sheets.
  • Preliminary Process Description – A process description describing the contents of the PFD was developed to complement the PFD and material balance.
  • Environmental Assessment – A short summary report with preliminary emissions estimates was developed and submitted to the client.  The report contents summarized the expected impact that the new facility would have to the existing permit.
  • Equipment List – A preliminary equipment list for all new major pieces of equipment was developed.  The list summarized preliminary process duty requirements and preliminary sizing information.
  • Preliminary P&IDs – Preliminary P&IDs depicting new major equipment and process piping were developed.  P&IDs showed basic major instrumentation and controls.
  • Process Controls Description – A written description of the instrumentation and controls, monitoring points, alarms, and interlocks depicted in the P&IDs was developed as a complement to the P&IDs.
  • Conceptual Equipment Layout Sketch – The Sketch was developed showing a plan view of the major processing equipment within the bounds of the available area within the plant complex.
  • Budget Level Estimated Total Installed Capital (TIC) Cost – The TIC was developed using equipment costs obtained from process vendors as well as equipment costs estimated with ICARUS (HYSYS).  The TIC accuracy is +/- 50 % (or more).
  • Preliminary FEL-2 Project Work Scope and Schedule – The Scope/Schedule was developed with input from the client, as well as a proposal cost estimate for PROCESS to perform the work.


Industry Type

  • Batch Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • FEL-1 preliminary process design

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