Mini-Plant Design and Operation
It is usual practise to first test process concepts at bench scale before moving to a traditional pilot unit. This is time consuming and costly as pilot units often cost a substantial proportion of a full scale plant. One way to circumvent the pilot unit is to design small scale reactors in such that they exactly represent a 'slice' through the full scale catalyst bed.
We have developed a novel and highly cost-effective approach to pilot plant trials. This entails intensive work at bench scale to generate kinetic and equilibrium data together with evaluation of mass and heat transfer coefficients.
These results are used to design Mini-Plants that reproduce in every detail all the unit operations in an entire flowsheet. Moreover, although being on the smallest possible scale Mini-Plants are so highly instrumented that they are capable of reproducing the entire process with all recycles over a wider envelope of operating conditions than the full scale plant.
However, the most significant advantage is that Mini-Plants can be operated continuously so that the process can be optimised and then run for thousands of hours with stable operation at optimum process conditions. This allows us to proceed directly with the construction of industrial scale plant with complete confidence that it will perform.
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