June 2017 Newsletter

In this issue:

Project Spotlights:

  1.   Power Cycle Configuration Case Study
  2.   Rare Earth Elements Demonstration Plant

Technical Discussion:  Low Sulfur Marine Fuel – Refinery Incentive or Risk?

Safety Pause:  The Safety Life Cycle Can Begin Anywhere

Power Cycle Configuration Case Study

Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by a research group to perform computer simulations evaluating the thermal efficiency of an Integrated Gasification Fuel Cell (IGFC) Cycle.  PROCESS used ASPEN, Visual Basic and Excel spreadsheets to see which of the 21 tested configurations resulted in the highest net plant thermal efficiency.  Read More here to learn how the simulators were used to evaluate the power cycles.

Rare Earth Elements Demonstration Plant

A mineral resource company contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to perform Phase 2 process design for a hydrometallurgy demonstration plant.  The demo plant would use process technologies identified by the client as being optimal but the client desired to demonstrate viability and suitability.  Read More here to learn how METSIM and CHEMCAD were used to develop a Heat and Material Balance and operations for Hydrochloric Acid recovery.

Technical Discussion

Low Sulfur Marine Fuels – Refinery Incentive or Risk?

Going from a residual heavy fuel oil marine product meeting the current 3.50% sulfur limit to a 0.50% limit is a change on an unprecedented scale for the refinery industry and raises many questions on all sides of the equation.  Will there be enough distillate product?  Will there be capital investment at the refineries?  Will the cost of fuel for ship owners sky rocket?  Process design and engineering support will be needed for scrubbers, lube oil recycling, refinery sulfur plant design and refinery upgrades to keep the changes associated with the new regulations as economic as possible.  Keep Reading

Take a Pause for Safety

The Safety Life Cycle Can Begin Anywhere

Becoming compliant with the ANSI/ISA 84.00.01-2004 Functional Safety – Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector standard can be a daunting task for a client – especially if it is unknown territory.  The realm of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) involves many key elements of a processing facility: safety, process controls, and mechanical integrity.  The ISA 84 Standard is considered a Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice (RAGAGEP) by OSHA. Further, the ISA 84 standard follows closely with functional safety standard IEC 61511 Functional Safety – Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector, which recently published a 2nd edition in 2016.

While PSM-covered processes are regulated under ISA 84, industry best practice has moved toward an all-encompassing employment of ISA 84’s Safety Lifecycle philosophy for SIS.  The Safety Lifecycle can begin anywhere within this cycle:

Typically, the Safety Lifecycle timeline goes as follows:

  • The “cradle” is when a safety instrumented function (SIF) is deemed necessary.  This typically occurs during the PHA of either an existing or new facility.
  • Following or during a process PHA, a required (target) Safety Integrity Level (SIL) is assigned to each SIF using SIL Selection or LOPA methodology.
  • During the design phase, equipment information is collected (from existing SIFs) or designed (new SIFs) and documented in the Safety Requirement Specification (SRS).  Calculations are performed utilizing reliability data to verify the potential SIL rating of the SIF design (or existing equipment) per the interlock layout – from sensor to final element.  NOTE: A common mistake made by clients is purchasing an instrument that is “SIL 3 Capable”, when in actuality the achievable SIL rating may only be SIL 1 when combined with other elements of the interlock.  The achievable SIL rating is dependent upon the complete SIF design and not just a single instrument.
  • Functional Testing Documents for each interlock are developed in accordance to ISA 84 requirements for utilization during Functional Proof Testing (part of Mechanical Integrity).  These documents are for use in field and to keep as written record.
  • Based on the proof testing results or basic operations, modifications may be needed, which require a Management of Change (MOC) policy. This step also includes the decommissioning “grave” of a SIF, if necessary.

PROCESS has the capability, as well as years of combined experience, in completing and facilitating each of these steps, including the assistance with on-site interlock functional testing.  Following the Safety Lifecycle, PROCESS offers Safety Requirement Specification (SRS) development with using exSILentia software in accordance with ANSI/ISA-S84.00.01 (IEC 61511 Mod), Application of Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industries, which addresses the application of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) to take a process to a safe state when predetermined conditions are violated.  After gathering necessary safety instrumentation field data and/or developing new SIFs, PROCESS’ instrumentation team employs exSILentia to determine safety interlock architecture, testing frequency, target SIL, and more.

PROCESS wishes all of our readers a safe and happy 4th of July!

About Us

PROCESS offers a full range of Process Design and Process Safety Services to clients around the globe.  Our services include conceptual process design; simulation and modeling feasibility studies; FEL-0,1,2, and 3 (Schedule-A process design packages); front-end-engineering design (FEED); debottlenecking; process optimization; on-site operations support; process safety training; safety program development; on-site process safety auditing, performance of hazard assessments; and other services designed to meet the needs of our clients.

Contact Us at:

Process Engineering Associates, LLC
700 South Illinois Ave Suite A-202
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Call Us: (865) 220-8722