Project Synopsis

Design of a separations system as part of a waste plastics to liquid fuels process development effort, as well as provide a process engineering review of the remainder of the process.

Project Summary


The ultimate client is based in Malaysia and is commercializing a process to generate hydrocarbon fuels from a variety of waste consumer plastics (refuse).  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was subcontracted by an international process engineering firm to design a distillation system that would condense and fractionate gases emanating from a reactor/cracker that will be a part of the process.  It was desired for the fractionation design to produce a bottoms product meeting ASTM requirements for No. 2 diesel.

PROCESS developed a simulation model using licensed commercial computer process simulation software.  The simulation indicated that, based on the boiling point distribution given for the reactor/cracker gases, a true distillation was not required.  More simply, an absorber that was properly configured would generate a bottoms product corresponding to No. 2 diesel.

After determining that an absorber with structured packing would be better suited for the task than a distillation column, a simple process flow sheet was generated that showed the process conditions for the streams entering and leaving the absorber.  Also, information needed to specify the absorber vessel and its internals was generated in the form of a process level equipment data specification sheet.

Project deliverables included a process design basis to outline the information and data to be used for the design effort; a process flow diagram (PFD); a Request for Proposal for internals for the absorber; a process equipment datasheet for the absorber; and a process review which identified strategies for risk management in the absorber system.


Industry Type

  • Waste Recycling
  • Alternative Fuels Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process design
  • Process simulation modelling

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