Project Synopsis

Startup assistance of a benzoic acid production area with new catalyst addition system and modified acid purification distillation unit.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a specialty chemical production facility that produces benzoic acid as one of its products.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to assist with start-up of the benzoic acid system after major process modifications to improve reactor yield and product purification had been designed and implemented by the client.  PROCESS provided field support by assisting operations with start-up of a new catalyst addition system for the benzoic acid reactor and subsequent benzoic acid purification steps using distillation.  This included monitoring systems during start-up and making control system changes necessary to achieve steady-state operation.  Tasks included:

  • Monitoring and troubleshooting benzoic acid reactor start-up with the new catalyst addition system
  • Assisting and training plant operators to control a modified arrangement of distillation columns to purify the benzoic acid product
  • Executing calculations to confirm new system operating performance
  • Tuning of the distillation columns control system under the new distillation arrangement.

The startup of the catalyst addition section of the upgraded process was deemed a success, but the distillation system failed to meet strict purity requirements for the product.  Additional system design and evaluation will be required, and it is anticipated that the client will enlist PROCESS’ help to effect the needed changes. 

Industry Type

  • Batch Chemical

Utilized Skills

  • Operations Assistance
  • Process startup

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