Project Synopsis

Develop a preliminary process design and cost estimates to build and operate a new commercial scale Sucralose artificial sweetener production facility based on a new patented process technology.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to provide a Front-End Loading Phase 2 (FEL-2) process design package for a proposed commercial production facility to produce the artificial sweetener Sucralose. Sucralose is made from sugar and received ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ GRAS status from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  The client desired PROCESS to complete an FEL-2 level process design package to determine the economic feasibility of building a commercial plant to produce Sucralose based on the client’s newly developed patented technology. The commercial scale plant will produce the Sucralose based sweetener with a purity comparable to currently available Sucralose based sweeteners with the last steps in the process designed per Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines.  The commercial plant process was scaled up and optimized from pilot-plant and lab scale data supplied by the client.

PROCESS performed the following project tasks:

  • Heat and material balance (H&MB) calculations and a process flow diagram (PFD) were prepared for the final process.  This involved detailed review of existing lab/pilot data.  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 H&MB calculations for the process design.
  • Unit operations modeled and designed included Batch Reactors, Reactive Distillation, Multi-Effect Evaporation, CSTR Reactions, Karr Extraction, Centrifugal Extraction, Wiped Film Evaporation, Distillation, Liquid-Liquid Separation, Stripping, Vacuum Filtration, Crystallization, Centrifugation, Drying, and Packaging.  Additional design considerations were incorporated into the cGMP governed part of the process including sterilization and Clean-in-Place (CIP) systems.
  • An equipment list for the major pieces of process equipment was constructed with preliminary sizing and material of construction information.
  • A preliminary capital cost estimate (CAPEX) was prepared.   The CAPEX was estimated using equipment sizing data for the major equipment, obtaining equipment budget price information from vendors, and then applying the appropriate Lang factor.
  • A preliminary operating cost estimate (OPEX) was prepared.  The OPEX included the fully loaded manufacturing cost including depreciation but excluded any taxes or insurance.

A complete FEL-2 package that included the above-mentioned documentation was issued to the client. The FEL-2 package provides information that is being considered by the client for investment decisions regarding the development of a new commercial plant.

Industry Type

  • Food Grade Materials Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process scale-up design
  • Process design package development.

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