Project Synopsis

Develop an FEL-3 detailed process design package for a demonstration scale plant designed to produce an edible spray-on preservative for fruits and vegetables based on scaling up data obtained from lab/pilot data as well as process equipment vendor testing.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to provide a Front-End Loading Phase 3 (FEL-3) process design package for a proposed Demonstration Plant to produce an edible, spray-on membrane for fruits and vegetables to deter spoilage. The membrane compound naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables and has a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) designation from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  The Demonstration Plant will synthetically produce the membrane chemical compound with the last steps in the process designed utilizing current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) guidelines.  The Demonstration Plant process was scaled-up and optimized from pilot/lab scale data supplied by the client and various equipment vendors.

PROCESS performed the following project tasks:

  • Several process alternative evaluations focused on optimizing operating costs (OPEX) and capital costs (CAPEX) were performed and submitted for the client’s consideration.  The final process design included these optimization improvements.
  • Perform and develop heat and material balance (HMB) calculations and a process flow diagram (PFD) for the optimized process.  This involved a detailed review of existing lab/pilot data as well as actual process data from key technology steps provided by test work at various vendors.  PROCESS generated a design case based on the appropriate data.  PROCESS used its licensed commercial computer process simulation software (Chemstations’ CHEMCAD) to perform sensitivity analyses and generate HMB calculations for the process design.
  • Unit operations modeled and designed included CSTR Reactors, Plug Flow Fixed Bed Reactors, Extraction, Crystallization, Centrifugation, Drying, Distillation, Wiped Film Evaporation, Liquid-Liquid Separation, Stripping, Steam Generation, Blending, and Packaging.  Additional design considerations were incorporated into the cGMP governed part of the process including sterilization and clean-in-place (CIP) systems.
  • Preliminary top-view and side-view equipment layout drawings were generated.  The ascertained preliminary equipment sizing and space envelope dimensions were represented to scale in the equipment layout drawings.  The build strategy was to modularize the process.
  • A preliminary CAPEX was prepared using equipment sizing data and then applying the appropriate Lang cost estimation factor.
  • A preliminary OPEX was prepared including estimated man power loading but excluding depreciation, taxes, and insurance.
  • A full set of piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) for the process was produced. From the P&IDs, instrument and valve lists were generated for all instruments and valves associated with the PLC controlled system. These lists also provided pertinent information needed for equipment data sheet specifications.
  • Process specification data sheets were produced for all major equipment items including vessels, heat exchangers, chillers, filters, pumps, relief valves, etc. Heat demands from the HMB were used to calculate utility requirements for cooling water supply to heat exchangers and chillers.  The energy balance portion of the HMB was used to calculate utility usage quantities for heating requirements.  System pressures and flow rates from the HMB were used to generate pump and relief valve requirements.

A complete FEL-3 detailed process design package that included the above-mentioned documentation was issued to the client. The FEL-3 package provides information that is being carried forward into the detail engineering mechanical design phase, which the client intends to contract to an EPC firm.

Industry Type

  • Food Additives Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Scale up design
  • Detailed process design
  • Process optimization.

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