Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by a major U.S. University research group to assist in the development of a pilot scale process to produce an alternative source of refined natural rubber extracted from the roots of a Russian dandelion plant.  The goal of the project is to lessen U.S. dependence on natural rubber imported mainly from Southeastern Asia which is used in tire manufacturing.  While pilot scale work had been conducted during the 1940s as part of the war effort, the researchers sought to recreate and improve the process at the lab scale.  PROCESS used a combination of this information to design certain key unit operations needing further lab work, as well as generate simulations, preliminary material and energy balances, and an order of magnitude cost estimate for a pilot and commercial scale facility.  PROCESS worked closely with the researchers to develop and optimize a unique counter-current extraction process to separate the rubber from the plant roots.  PROCESS then developed a comprehensive process design package (HMBs, PFDs, P&IDs, equipment specs., etc.) and subsequently assisted the client during the startup phase. Read the article in the Ohio Country Journal and a more recent article in Downstream Today (Aug 2014). More information on this project can be Viewed Here.