Case study: Ethanol purification process

Case study: Ethanol purification process

Natural Ingredients

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Client is a specialist of natural ingredients extracted from biomass and dedicated to cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets.

The solvent (ethanol) used for the extraction is regenerated by the Client on its own industrial plant.

Processium was in charge to develop a process for the regeneration of ethanol, and to determine the best operating conditions:

  • to insure the robustness of the process to manage the variability of impurities,
  • to respect the conformity of the solvent to standarts (impurity < ppm).

Furthermore, the Client wishes to avoid any investment, or at least to limit the amount.

OUR METHODOLOGY

After a process synthesis phase, it had been decided to develop an adsorption process (carbon black) followed by a distillation (the equipment already exists on Client plant). Processium proposed a methodology devided into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Processium made measurements to determine the performances of several carbon black.
  • Phase 2: Processium determined the optimal operating conditions (temperature, quantity of reactive, volume of coal). A design of experiments is built to minimise the number of laboratory scale experiments.
  • Phase 3: Processium validated experimentally adsorption and distillation processes to validate that the specifications on the regenerated solvent are respected.

RESULTS

A technical process package of the industrial scale unit was proposed and built on the existing plants.

Case study: Fractionation of a lipidic excipient

Case study: Fractionation of a lipidic excipient

Natural Ingredients

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Client develops specialised raw materials for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries such as lipidic excipients. A neutral basis is produced from oil and from additives thanks to a transesterification reaction. This neutral basis is conditioned in the form of capsules. However, one of the residual additives reacts with the envelope of the capsule and damages its mechanical properties.

Thus the Client wishes to reduce the content of this residual additive from 30 % to 5 %. Processium was in charge of the process technical feasibility study to eliminate the additive.

OUR METHODOLOGY

The methodology developed by Processium was based on:

  • Process synthesis to propose processes able to purify the neutral basis.
  • Identification of solvents able to extract the additive.
  • Sizing of the best process.
  • Laboratory and pilot scale validation of process sizing.
  • Production of samples.

RESULTS

A process flowsheet of the industrial scale unit was proposed, as well as hypothesis to reduce the energy costs.

Case study: Risk assessment of a chemical reaction thermal runaway

Case study: Risk assessment of a chemical reaction thermal runaway

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Client wishes to implement a new chemical reaction on industrial site under the SEVESO directive.

Processium brought them its know-how into thermal analyses to evaluate the risks of thermal runaway of this reaction.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

The challenges met in this project are the following ones:

  • Non-available physico-chemical data,
  • Complex products implementation,
  • Measurements under pressure up to about 5 bar.

OUR METHODOLOGY

Processium carries out this study from drawing-up the specifications to the measurements of all properties:

  • Vapor pressure of reagents and products,
  • Thermal stability: decomposition temperature (Tonset), time to maximum rate (TMRad),
  • Reaction kinetics,
  • Reaction enthalpy,
  • Heat capacity,
  • Maximum Temperature of the Synthesis Reaction (MTSR),
  • Nature and gas flow released during the reaction.

RESULTS

The measured data define the level of criticality of the chemical reaction and equipment size to minimize risks.

Case study: Vapor-liquid equilibria of solvent and light hydrocarbons

Case study: Vapor-liquid equilibria of solvent and light hydrocarbons

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Paints and Coatings, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The objective of this study is to acquire data to design an extractive distillation process for separating light hydrocarbons.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

A key element of success in the study is the measurement of vapor-liquid equilibria at pressures of 2 to 5 bar, to determine the liquid and vapor compositions in a mixture of heavy and light components (boiling point difference > 230°C).

OUR METHODOLOGY

We undertook this study by:

  • Developing efficient analytic methods,
  • Developing a suitable experimental strategy to acquire measurements in line with customer’s project and time constraints.

RESULTS

The measurements were carried out successfully in our labs, and Processium was able to provide:

  • A feedback on notable issues encountered, particularly degeneration of seals or corrosion problems
  • Data values which allowed our customers to better understand their process, and for the licensor to anticipate autonomously any future maintenances. A considerable profit in maintenance was achieved with this study.
Case study: Vapor-liquid-liquid equilibria of vegetable oil/methanol/glycerol

Case study: Vapor-liquid-liquid equilibria of vegetable oil/methanol/glycerol

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Paints and Coatings, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Our client conducted a study of biodiesel conversion and separation in which our teams provided essential thermodynamic expertise for the design of the process.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

The objective of this study was to obtain liquid-liquid-vapour equilibria measurements for a complex mixture. This study involved:

  • Thermodynamic measurements on viscous mixtures at high pressure
  • Very complex sampling protocol as a result of the differences in volatility of the compounds (methanol-glycerol) and the operating conditions

A complex analysis process due to the nature (vegetable oil) and the physical properties of the compounds

OUR METHODOLOGY

Processium successfully completed this study by using:

  • A customized experimental strategyallowing timely data acquisition in line with client project requirements
  • Objectivity and a wider perspectivein interpreting the obtained results to precisely understand the behaviour of client compounds.

RESULTS

The measurements allowed definition of the thermodynamic behavior of products mixture in a large range of temperature (60 to 200°C). This data acquisition allows client to successfully design its reactors.

Case study: Prediction of physico-chemical data

Case study: Prediction of physico-chemical data

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Paints and Coatings, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Our client, a manufacturer of synthetic oils, wishes to determinate the vapor pressure and the boiling point of oil’s constituents in order to design and optimize their production processes.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

The challenges met in this project are the following ones:

  • Presence of considerable number of compounds in each oil, whose properties are unknown (high cost for carrying out measurements)
  • Difficulty of separation and purification of these synthetic oils: it is impossible to access to pure compound

OUR METHODOLOGY

The method of physico-chemical data prediction, specifically developed for this project, allows to free itself from properties measurement of these products. It consists in the following steps:

  • Definition of a customized decomposition method for these synthetic oils
  • Evaluation and sorting of available data based on the specifications. The e-thermoTM software developed by Processium allows to reach and sort out quickly the data
  • Development of the most performing model to represent the customer products
  • Validation of the reliability of the model
  • Development of the experimental design to strengthen the reliability of the model for certain types of molecules and extend the field of applications
  • Measurement of complementary data of vapor pressure and boiling point
  • Final update of the model

RESULTS

The use of this static approach allows:

  • A gain of time for the selection of the prediction model
  • An optimal selection of the molecules to characterize (pressure range of interest, distribution of functional group…) in order to improve the model

This model is currently used by our client for its ongoing projects.

Case study: Solvent selection

Case study: Solvent selection

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Paints and Coatings, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Our client has developed a production process of organic acids by fermentation. Organic acids need to be extracted and purify from the broth using a solvent extraction technology.

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

In order to satisfy client requirements for its Project, Processium had to to identify a bio-based solvent for the extraction of acids and able to preserve microbes used for fermentation.

OUR METHODOLOGY

The methodology developed by Processium for the successful development of the Project had been developed as follow:

  • screening of in - house database containing more than 1,000 industrial solvents data sets,
  • identification of additional candidate determined thanks to a specific Computer Aided Molecular Design tool,
  • modeling of solvent properties and prediction of missing data,
  • identification of 5 solvents and measurement of distribution coefficients,
  • performance evaluation of solvents on Processium own extraction pilot scale unit,
  • sizing of corresponding unit at industrial scale,
  • CAPEX and OPEX estimate for the purification process.

RESULTS

Thanks to Processium methodology, solvent selection and associated purification technology had been defined technically and economically.

Case study: Salts solubility in water

Case study: Salts solubility in water

Industrial Biotechnlogy, Specialty Chemicals, Oil and Gas, Natural Ingredients, Paints and Coatings, Fine Chemicals

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Our customer wishes to know the solubility of a solid inorganic salt in an aqueous solution at 80 °C. The influence of pH of this solution on the solubility of the salt must be estimated.
Measures are led at 3 different hydrogen potential by going from pH 4 (acidic), pH 7 (neutral) and to pH 9 (basic).

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

  • Why do we speak about challenges? For two main reasons:The solubility of the salt in the liquid is very high. The first difficulty is to identify an analytical methodology adapted to the inorganic solid. ICP-AES had been selected as the most accurate technique for the analysis of this molecule and was successfully used.
  • Thermogravimetry study was coupled with a specific chemical analysis to insure reliability of the supplied results because of the combination of these two analytical methods.

OUR METHODOLOGY

  • We use an equipment able to realize measures at high temperatures until 150 °C.
  • The quality of the supplied results is validated by a repeatability procedure within the frame of REACH standards.