Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering support to a beverage manufacturer for evaluating and improving their pilot plant operation as well as develop the process design package for a new demonstration scale process.

Project Summary


The client, a large food and beverage company, was developing a new product line.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to perform a technical and economic alternatives evaluation and a pilot plant / semi-works process design for a zeolite carbon dioxide (CO2) adsorption process as part of the new product line.  More specifically, PROCESS was tasked to evaluate reactor designs for an adsorption process, develop an economic evaluation of selected processes, develop heat and material balances (HMBs) for the selected alternatives, perform a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), develop a test plan for bench testing to gather data required for equipment design, aid in the pilot tests at equipment vendor locations, and develop a design package for the process.
PROCESS performed the following project tasks:

  • Performed a literature review of potentially feasible types of reactors that could be adapted for the process.   PROCESS performed a detailed technical and economic evaluation of all the options; defined those that were technically feasible for the application; and prepared HMB data, preliminary process schematics, budget level total installed capital costs (CAPEX), and preliminary operating costs (OPEX) for these options.  PROCESS provided recommendations on a specific reactor type and configuration for the new adsorption process.  The client followed PROCESS' recommendation and selected a rotary bed reactor for both early production and full-scale system design.   
  • Developed detailed lab and bench-scale test plans to gather more data on adsorption rates, adsorption capacities, and heat transfer coefficients as needed for proper design of the new system.  PROCESS worked with the client to define test objectives, bench and pilot scale test equipment configurations, specific data requirements, and measurement methods for the tests. 
  • Provided test oversight for off-site pilot testing of equipment and implement some of the on-site lab testing at the client’s technical research center.   
  • Reviewed and analyzed the test data and provided a summary report outlining the results to the client.  This data was used to design the new process and assist the client with making a decision on whether or not to pursue batch or continuous operation for the first early production system.  The client, based on PROCESS' recommendation, decided to pursue a rotary type screw reactor that could be pitched to operate in a batch-mode initially and then used as a continuous unit once sufficient data had been collected to warrant the change. 
  • Prepared a Schedule A (FEL-3) process design package for the early production system to be submitted to detail design / fabrication companies for the construction of a skid system for installation at the client’s facility.   The package included a working HMB computer process simulation model, PFDs, preliminary P&IDs, equipment duty specifications, instrument duty specifications to include NIRS (near infrared spectroscopy) analyzers, preliminary equipment layout drawings, and a vendor request for quote (RFQ) document.  This had to be completed in a short time frame to meet the desired production start date.    
  • Obtained budgetary quotes from equipment vendors for the early production system to assist the client in preparation for capital funds appropriation. 

Equipment reviewed during this project included: packed bed reactor/adsorber, fluidized bed reactors, continuous screw reactor, gas delivery systems with heat integration, bulk solids handling systems, chiller, NIR in-line analyzer, and cooling screw feeder.

Industry Type

  • Foods and Beverages

Utilized Skills

  • Preliminary process design support
  • Lab and bench-scale test plan development
  • Process equipment vendor testing oversight
  • Process design package development
  • Bid package support

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