Project Synopsis

Provide a process design package and cost estimate for a new pilot system to produce a high purity specialty metal via flame salt encapsulation.

Project Summary


The client, the corporate office of a specialty metals production company, contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to develop a process design package and cost estimate for a pilot specialty metal flame salt encapsulation (FSE) process.  The pilot system is an innovative high-temperature gas phase sodium reduction process used to produce a high purity electronics grade metal powder.  Unit operations for the process include raw materials feed systems, an argon delivery system, a high temperature gas phase reactor, a metal product filtering system, and a product finishing system that includes ultrafiltration, centrifugation, and drying.

Specifically, PROCESS was contracted to complete the following project tasks:

  • Prepare process design basis documentation.
  • Develop mass and energy balance data using PROCESS‘ licensed commercial computer process simulation software.
  • Prepare process flow diagrams (PFDs).
  • Prepare piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDS).
  • Prepare a process control description to be used as the basis for a detailed functional specification during the subsequent detail design phase.
  • Generate equipment duty specifications and equipment drawings for all major pieces of process equipment.  This also included the specification of an important pressure control valve for the system.  The valve controls the gas phase reactor pressure and is critical to the systems overall pressure balance.  The valve is subjected to very high temperatures (>1100 oF) and fine particulates.
  • Prepare general arrangement and layout drawings (plan and elevation).
  • Prepare a factored capital cost estimate for the new system.  The system was to be installed in three phases with the final phase involving relocation of the initial reaction train to an overseas location and installation of additional capacity needed to meet demands.
  • Prepare an overall project execution schedule using Microsoft Project software.
  • Development of air permitting information as required, including the preparation of two (2) Best Available Control Technology (BACT) evaluations for particulates (excess sodium oxides) and argon.

During the course of the project, process development work was still ongoing with the bench-scale FSE system.  PROCESS assisted the client with review and documentation of key process design criteria as it was developed.  Execution of the project involved interfacing with both R&D and the Capital Engineering group.

The resulting documentation was issued to several engineering firms to solicit technical and cost proposals for the detail design of the system.  PROCESS was contracted by the client to continue as the process lead during the course of detail design.

Industry Type

  • Specialty Metals Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process design

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