Project Synopsis

Project to reduce contaminant levels in the production of a food grade bleach organic peroxide.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a food additives preparation and packaging plant that includes a batch chemical process for the production of a food bleach organic peroxide (OPO).  The client had discovered small quantities of a contaminant in their finished product that was at least partially traced back to the OPO.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to execute a project designed to significantly reduce the contaminant in the OPO product.  Specific project tasks included:

  1. Direction of OPO final product testing to determine the actual contaminant level
  2. Design and execution of a testing plan designed to determine the source of the contaminant in the product
  3. Direction of laboratory testing for the purpose of developing a process scheme that would result in significant contaminant reduction
  4. Design of a bench-scale process prototype, and management and execution of bench-scale testing to demonstrate contaminant reduction
  5. Execution of a preliminary process design and the development of capital and operating cost estimates for a commercial-scale contaminant reduction process

Systematic testing of the final OPO product revealed that the contaminant was present in the 100-150 ppb range.  The process testing revealed that significant contaminant was being created as a side reaction product during the initial reaction that forms the OPO and that the contaminant level was further increased during a subsequent elevated-temperature drying operation.  No contaminant was being introduced to the process in the form of raw materials or equipment oil leaks, etc.  The initial lab testing focused on the reduction of reaction-created contaminant by water washes as well as in avoiding the high-temperature degradation of OPO into contaminant by utilizing an ambient temperature drying system for the OPO product.  The bench-scale prototype designed and tested included a single unit operation, a pressure filter, that was used for multiple water washes and filtrations as well as for OPO filter cake ambient drying with dry nitrogen.  A total of three (3) bench-scale tests were conducted to demonstrate the technology.  An order-of-magnitude reduction in the OPO contaminant level was demonstrated (with a OPO product final contaminant concentration of 2-10 ppb).

PROCESS then used the bench-scale test data to develop a preliminary process design for a commercial-scale contaminant reduction system.  PROCESS’ licensed commercial process simulation software was used specifically to develop a mass and energy balance for the process as well as for the production of a system PFD.  Using vendor purchased equipment cost quotations for the commercial system primary unit operations (pressure filter, filter vacuum pump, nitrogen desiccant dryer, nitrogen compressor, and liquid nitrogen tank and vaporizer), PROCESS prepared a factored capital cost estimate for the system using an in-house capital cost estimating program.  PROCESS also prepared an operating cost estimate for the system using an in-house operating cost estimating program.

The PROCESS project manager presented the results of the project to the client’s corporate board. 

Industry Type

  • Food Additives Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Product test plan design
  • Test plan oversight
  • Bench scale process prototyping
  • Process scale-up
  • Cost estimating

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