Project Synopsis

Provide an energy optimization study for a mineral spirits recycling facility.

Project Summary


The client is a chemical recycling company that processes used mineral spirits.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to evaluate the existing facility’s operations for potential energy savings.  The existing facility evaporates and then condenses the feedstock prior to fractional distillation.  PROCESS modeled the system using its licensed commercial computer process simulation software, CHEMCAD, to determine if the existing equipment could be arranged to eliminate the condensing step, thereby saving the energy required to boil the material a second time.

Project tasks included the following:

  • Providing an overall simulation of the process, including creation of pseudo components to represent the mineral spirits
  • Providing a detailed simulation (tray by tray) of the column to evaluate the new required maximum feed rate based on the flooding rate in the tower.

PROCESS determined that the existing column could be operated at an acceptable rate to the client without the condensing step.  PROCESS provided estimates for the new operating parameters for the column (pressure, temperature, reflux rate, etc.).  It is estimated that the client will realize a 25% energy savings with the new system configuration.

Industry Type

  • Solvent Recycling
  • Waste Recycling

Utilized Skills

  • Process energy optimization
  • Distillation column design

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