Project Synopsis

Technical and economic evaluation of technology alternatives for upgrading plant emissions controls to reduce organic compound emission levels.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a chemical manufacturing facility that produces photographic and specialty chemical products.  The existing plant emissions control system consists of batch scrubbers that needed to be upgraded to significantly reduce organic compound emissions.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to execute a technical and economic evaluation of technology alternatives for the upgrade.  Specific project tasks included:

  • Process and regulatory design bases preparation
  • Alternatives identification and technical screening
  • Screened alternatives technical evaluation
  • Screened alternatives economic evaluation

The process design basis included the development of a comprehensive physical and chemical characterization of all governing plant emission streams.  This was done to help ensure the identification of maximum and minimum flow rates and stream fuel values, a difficult task for a batch production facility.  The regulatory design basis involved determining the regulatory-based performance requirements of the new system, including required destruction efficiencies for all plant organic compounds.  Once this task was complete, PROCESS identified the following candidate technologies for technical screening:

  • Direct-fired thermal oxidizer
  • Recuperative thermal oxidizer
  • Catalytic thermal oxidizer
  • Regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO)
  • Condenser
  • Carbon adsorption
  • Zeolite adsorption

The direct-fired, recuperative, and regenerative thermal oxidizers were carried forward for detailed technical and economic evaluations based on technical considerations.

The technical evaluation included quantitative rankings of the technically-screened alternatives based on operational flexibility, operational complexity, size, organic destruction efficiency, reliability, maintenance, and other factors.  The economic evaluation involved the preparation of capital, operating, and annual costs for the technically-screened alternatives using PROCESS’ in-house cost estimating programs.  PROCESS’ licensed commercial process simulation software was utilized to develop heat and mass balance models for the alternatives for the purpose of identifying utilities usages, which factored heavily into the alternatives’ operating cost estimates.

PROCESS summarized the results of the project in a report that was submitted to the client, and a project review meeting was held to discuss the project findings.  Based on technical and economic considerations as well as the overall operating philosophy of the client, a regenerative thermal oxidizer was selected as the preferred option for this application. 

Industry Type

  • Specialty Chemicals

Utilized Skills

  • Technology screening
  • Computer process simulation
  • Capital and operating cost estimating
  • Front End Engineering Design (FEED)

Contact Us