Project Synopsis

Assist a PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) manufacturer by designing an optimized ethanol recover unit as part of an existing PTFE drying process.

Project Summary


The client, a leading supplier of specialty PTFE materials, sought technical support for recovering ethanol from an existing PTFE drying process and contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to execute the following project responsibilities:

  • On-site review of the existing unit and the compilation of current operation and process parameters of the existing drying ovens.
  • Evaluate the appropriate lower explosive limit (LEL) for the dryer outlet. This was a critical parameter for evaluating the recycle loop and condenser process parameters.
  • Develop a process simulation model using licensed commercial computer process simulation software (CHEMCAD) to evaluate mass and energy balances on proposed ethanol recovery units.  The process was evaluated using cases for no recycle, partial recycle, and full recycle.
  • Further extend the CHEMCAD model to perform mass and energy balances on an ethanol recovery unit with a split air recycle for reduced energy usage.  This variant was explored as a method to reduce the energy usage of the condenser.
  • Study process parameters such as vapor condenser temperature, air flow rate, and ethanol concentration to determine their impacts on system performance.
  • Examine the system operation in cases of faster drying times.
  • Develop new piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) for a proposed ethanol recovery unit with a controllable split in the recycle air stream.
  • Write an interlock and control description for the proposed ethanol recovery unit using a controllable split in the recycle air stream.
  • Generate regular reports on the ongoing simulation efforts and summarize observations to guide future decisions.
  • Complete a detailed heat exchanger design using CHEMCAD and CC-THERM.
  • Identify potential suppliers for chillers, blowers, and other important units within the ethanol recovery unit.

The client moved ahead with detail design for an ethanol recovery unit based on the results of the project and equipment manufacturer advice.

Industry Type

  • PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Solvent recovery process design

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