Project Synopsis

Identify and evaluate process alternatives for chemical solutions and process equipment to improve the stripping of copper in a gauze catalyst manufacturing process.

Project Summary


The client, a specialty catalyst manufacturer, had identified an opportunity to improve the efficiency of their existing platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd) gauze manufacturing process by revamping the copper (Cu) stripping unit operation to strip a larger volume of Cu per unit time.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to define technically-feasible alternatives for the design of the upgraded process.  The primary purpose of the project was to evaluate alternative stripping solutions, define new equipment needs and conceptual physical layout of the system, estimate potential emissions, and determine if an existing scrubber could be used for the new process.   Specifically, PROCESS completed the following tasks:

  • Developed a process Design Basis document that detailed baseline information governing the upgraded system design such as operating data, equipment information, raw material specification, air permitting limitations, and wastewater handling procedures.  This involved interface with the client R&D group, Operations, and Safety, Health, and Environmental (SH&E) groups.
  • Performed a detailed technical alternatives evaluation to identify potential alternative stripping solutions for the safe and efficient upgrade of the process.   PROCESS identified seven (7) potentially technically-feasible options and compared them in relation to key process variables selected with the client; expected performance (stripping time, temperature), safety issues, potential to attack the Pt/Pd product, equipment materials of construction requirements, estimated consumption costs, and industry proven experience.  Three (3) of the alternatives were selected by the client to be carried further into bench-top testing.  In addition, based on the review, it was determined that for all three of those solutions a scrubber would not be required.
  • Developed a Test Protocol for the client to evaluate the effectiveness of the alternative stripping solutions in the laboratory and generate data for the subsequent design phases of the project.
  • Generated a preliminary Process Control Diagram (PCD), showing major equipment, major process and utility streams, and major instrumentation and controls for the new process.

PROCESS continued to work with the client in the next phase of the project to further develop the design through laboratory testing so that a more detailed heat and material balance (HMB) and piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) can be developed for an upgraded automated process.

Industry Type

  • Catalyst Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process alternatives identification and evaluation
  • Process improvement support

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