Project Synopsis

Develop a process design for a commercial scale plant to extract a nutraceutical constituent from chicory roots.

Project Summary


The client, a chicory producer and entrepreneur with an existing chicory drying, chipping, and storage facility, contracted with Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to develop process design and engineering information for a new process to extract a potentially valuable nutraceutical constituent from chicory roots to be incorporated, along with other process and financial information, into a client Business Plan Document.  This document was to be used by the client in attempts to obtain financial and licensing agreements from one or more of the major suppliers of the nutraceutical to build a production facility adjacent to the existing client chicory chip production facility in the Midwestern U.S.

The process was to be based on a concept for which lab scale development work had been performed by the inventor.  The concept required that a number of significant unit operations be considered for the process design including solids handling, liquid/solid extraction (leaching), crystallization, liquid-liquid and liquid-solid phase separation, distillation for solvent recovery and aqueous discharge cleanup, and scrubbing for control of atmospheric discharges.

PROCESS developed a preliminary process design package for a production facility suitable for use by a detail design / construction contractor to finalize the design and construct the plant.  The technical sections of a detail engineering bid package were written by, and bid inputs were provided by PROCESS.

The process design package (Process Design Manual) included the following information for a production facility sized to produce 10 MM tons per year of the nutraceutical:

  • Process design basis that set the baseline for the subsequent process design tasks
  • Batch Sequence Step Diagram
  • PFDs and supporting heat and material balance calculations and computer process simulation program outputs
  • Detailed process descriptions, describing the contents of the PFDs and including equipment, piping, instrumentation, and controls requirements
  • Equipment list that included a summary of the process duty specifications for all major equipment
  • Equipment process duty specifications for all new process equipment
  • Commercial order of magnitude operating cost estimate for the full scale (commercial) plant.

PROCESS included the Process Design Manual in a Request for Bid Document which was sent to a number of firms requesting them to submit a bid for the detail design and construction of the facility.  PROCESS worked with these firms to help ensure their bids were appropriate and on the same basis.  PROCESS evaluated the bids for the client and the best bid was included in the Business Plan Document used by the client in his attempts to obtain financing and license agreements for the facility.

Client efforts to improve the process concept are continuing, and PROCESS remains involved in the project to provide process engineering design information for new and revised process concepts.

Industry Type

  • Nutraceuticals Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process design
  • Detail engineering and construction bid package support

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