Project Synopsis

Perform preliminary process design and preliminary capital and operating cost estimates for an upgraded product recovery system designed to handle increased throughput and improve product recovery.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a batch chemical production facility that produces a silica-based solid product via two separate process lines and undertook a project to increase capacity of one of the two lines.  As part of this effort, the client contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to execute a preliminary process design and to develop preliminary design level capital and operating cost estimates for an upgraded product recovery system designed to handle the increased throughput capacity and to improve product recovery.  To this end, PROCESS completed the following project tasks:

  • Development of a design / cost estimate basis
  • Preparation of a process flow diagram (PFD) of the upgraded system
  • Preparation of a preliminary piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) of the upgraded system
  • Development of a capital cost estimate
  • Development of an operating cost estimate
  • Preparation of a revised equipment layout drawing of the upgraded system.

The development of the design/ cost estimate basis involved gathering engineering and operating information, as well as determining upgraded system operating goals and constraints upon which the design and cost estimate were based.  The PFD included a comprehensive mass balance that detailed operation of the upgraded system.  The preliminary P&ID depicted the upgraded system’s new unit operations as well as primary local and remote controls and monitoring points.  For the capital cost estimate, PROCESS prepared equipment duty specifications for the major unit operations and submitted them to multiple qualified equipment manufacturers.  After review and reconciliation of the manufacturers’ technical and cost proposals, PROCESS ascertained the total purchased equipment cost.  This number was used as input to the PROCESS in-house factored capital cost estimating program for the development of an overall project capital cost.  PROCESS then used its in-house operating cost estimating program, along with labor, utilities, raw materials, and waste disposal cost data and product credit information supplied by the client to calculate an annual operating cost for the upgraded product recovery system.  PROCESS then modified an existing client equipment layout drawing to show the footprint of the new equipment associated with the upgraded facility for the purpose of demonstrating major building modifications that would be required for the new system.

Costs calculated at this level of design demonstrated clear economic incentive for installing the upgraded product recovery system.  The information generated by PROCESS during this project was used by the client to perform a comprehensive cost analysis for increasing the capacity of the production line. 

Industry Type

  • Batch Chemical Production

Utilized Skills

  • Product recovery system design
  • Cost estimating and economic evaluations
  • Front End Engineering Design (FEED)

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