Project Synopsis

Evaluate the addition of a new feed stream source to an existing thermal oxidizer followed by development of a process design package for the modifications at an industrial chemical manufacturing R&D facility.

Project Summary


The client currently operates a thermal oxidation unit (THOX) at its industrial chemicals manufacturing support R&D facility.  Two units currently feed vapors to the THOX.  The client contacted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to consider the addition of a third intermittent source and wished to ensure the THOX and related systems were capable of safely and effectively handling the thermal destruction of these combined sources.  The purpose of this effort was to first evaluate the existing THOX systems capacity to handle the new load, followed by the development of engineering details required to modify the system as required to accept the new load.  Lastly, PROCESS developed a scope of work document describing the additional detail engineering necessary (mechanical, electrical, etc.) to complete the design of the improved/modified systems prior to fabrication and construction.  Project tasks included:

  • Existing systems review and process design basis preparation
  • Process simulation preparation (thermodynamic and hydraulic)
  • Modified system process flow diagrams (PFDs) preparation
  • Equipment and instrument duty specifications and process controls description preparation
  • Modified piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) preparation
  • Equipment specifications development for new blower and flame arrestor
  • Equipment, valve, and instrument list preparation
  • Process modification work scope document preparation
  • Participation in the project PHA
  • Project summary review.

PROCESS was provided with the existing engineering and plant operations data related to the THOX process.  After reviewing the available data, PROCESS developed the baseline information that governed subsequent process design tasks and presented it in a summarized preliminary design basis document.  This consisted of emission limits for air permits and local codes, capacity requirements, performance requirements, feed stream physical and chemical characterizations, emissions limits, and other process goals and/or constraints desired by the client.  PROCESS developed a preliminary detailed mass and energy balance (M&EB) using CHEMCAD process simulation software for the THOX process ‘as-is’ prior to adding the new stream.  The new stream was then added to the simulation.  The modified system M&EB included major, minor, and utilities streams flow rates, compositions, temperatures, pressures, and physical/chemical properties.  PROCESS then utilized the M&EB information for the improved process and prepared preliminary PFDs for the modified process followed by preparing the preliminary (process design level, duty) equipment specifications for the new/modified process equipment being added or modified to accommodate the new stream loading.  These specifications contained the process engineering requirements for each piece of equipment so that detailed equipment specifications can be generated during the subsequent detail design phase of the project.  PROCESSalso provided the duty specifications for new process instruments and control valves required for the modified process.

PROCESS utilized the information gathered and generated in the preparation of preliminary P&IDs for the improved process.  The P&IDs depicted the primary unit operations, major process and utility streams, and primary instrumentation and controls for safe and effective operation with the added vent gas stream.  Process also prepared a Process Controls Description that described the functionality of all major process controls, monitoring points, alarms, and interlocks set forth in the P&IDs.

PROCESS also provided the following engineering deliverables:  (1) an equipment list that shows the new process equipment (2) a piping (line) list that shows approximate sizes as well as materials for all major process and utilities piping sections, (3) a valve list that shows the new control/block valves that may be required and (4) an instrument list that shows new instruments and controls required by the process.

Finally, PROCESS developed a written summary level description outline of the work (mechanical and electrical) required for the agreed upon process modifications and installing the new equipment/ instrumentation.

Industry Type

  • Industrial Chemical Manufacturing Research & Development

Utilized Skills

  • Process evaluation
  • Process modification
  • Process design package development

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