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Course Outline
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction: Methodology of The Design Process
1.1 Design
1.2 Fixed/regid Constraint
1.3 The design process
1.4 The design objective
1.5 Data collection
1.6 Generation of possible design
1.7 Selection
1.8 Chemical Manufacturing Processes
1.9 Continuous and Batch Processes
2.1 Codes and Standards
2.2 Design Factors
2.3 Systems of Units
2.4 Mathematical Representation of the Design Problem
2.5 selection of the Design Variables
3.1 Simple Models
3.2 Multiple Variable Systems
3.2.1 Methods of Analysis
3.2.2 Search Methods
3.2.3 Other Optimization Methods
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Raw Materials and Chemical Reactions
5.3 Heuristics in Equipment Design
6.1 Process Simulator

There are two exams:

Mid-semester and
Final exams.
Grades will be assigned according to the following distribution:




Homework problems


1. Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers: By Peters and Timmerhaus
2. Coulson & Richardsons Chemical Engineering Design: By Sinnot, Volume 6

1.1 Design: It is the synthesis of ideas to achieve a desired goal (product). The designer

starts with an idea and proceeds to develop several alternative designs that he evaluates
and finally settles on the one that satisfies his objective (goal).
The search for alternatives: this step becomes necessary because the designer will be
constrained by several factors.
1.2 Constraints on a Design Problem
1.2.1 Fixed/Rigid Constraints: these are constraints the designer must live with outside
his influence. E.g. physical laws, government regulations and standards. The fixed
constraints define the outer boundary of all possible designs.
1.2.2 Less Rigid Constraints: these are constraints the designer can manipulate inorder to
arrive at the best design. E.g. materrials of construction, time. These are interrnal
constraints over which the designer has some control.
In summarry we have the following diagramatic sketch.

Fig. 1.1 Design Constraints

1.3 The Design Process
The design process can be shown in schematic form as below.

Fig. 1.2 The Design Constraints

The diagram shows the design process as an iterative procedure because as the design
proceeds the designer will be looking for information and ideas to refine the design.
1.4 The Design Objective
In the particular case of a chemical process plant, the objective/goal is to satisfy the
public need for a product. In large commercial organizations, this need is identified by
the sales/ marketing department. Before starting to work, the designer should obtain
complete information/background on the need for the product and its application
1.5 Data Collection
To proceed with the design, the designer must assemble all the relevant facts and data
required. For process design, the information should include process alternatives,

equipment performances, physical property data. In large design companies, they have
in house manuals containing all the process know how on which the design is based
and preferred methods and data for the frequently used design procedures.
1.6 Generation of Possible Designs
At this stage the designer must come up with all possible solutions for analysis,
evaluation and selection. To do this, he must rely on his own experience or that of others,
using tried or tested methods.
Chemical engineering projects can be divided into 3 types:
1. Modification, additions to existing plant often undertaken by the plant design
2. New production capacity to meet growing sales demand, and the sale of
established processes by contractors. Repetition of existing designs, with only
minor design changes.
3. New processes, developed from laboratory research, through pilot plant, to a
commercial process. Here most of the unit operations and process equipment will
use established designs.

1.7 Selection
The selection process can follow the following screening stages:
Possible designs (credible) within the external constraints

Plausible designs (feasible)- within the internal constraints

Probable designs likely candidates

Best designs (optimum) judged the best solution to the problem

To select the best design from the probable designs, detailed design work and costing will
be necessary.
1.8 Chemical Manufacturing Processes
The basic components of a typical chemical process can be shown using the block
diagram below.

Fig. 1.3 Anatomy of a Chemical Process

Each block represents a stage in the overall process for producing a product from the raw
materials. Each stage is a collection of equipment required to accomplish a defined task.
Stage 1: Raw Material Storage
Unless the raw materials are supplied as intermediate products from a neighboring plant,
storage space is needed to hold several days or months supply. Types of storage required
will depend on the nature of the raw materials, and the methods of delivery.

Stage 2: Feed Preparation

Some purification of the raw materials will be necessary to render them in a form
required for feed to the reaction stage.
Stage 3: Reactor
In the reactor the raw materials are brought together under conditions that promote the
production of the desired product. However by-products and unwanted compounds/
impurities will also be formed.
Stage 4: Product Separation
After the reactor, the products and by-products are separated from any unreacted material.
If in sufficient quantity, the unreacted material will be recycled to either the reactor
directly or to the feed purification and preparation stage.
Stage 5: Purification
Before sale, the main product is purified to meet product specification. If the by-product
is also produced in sufficiently large quantities, it must also be purified for sale.
Stage 6: Product Storage
Provision for product packaging and transport will be required. Besides some inventory
of finished product must be held to match production with sales
Ancillary Process
In addition to the main process stages/ units, provision will have to be made for the
supply of utility services, process water, cooling water, compressed air, steam. Facilities
are required for maintenance, firefighting, offices, laboratories and accommodation.
1.9 Continuous and Batch Processes
Continuous processes are designed to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout
the year (365 days). However down time is allowed for maintenance and process catalyst

1.9.1 Plant attainment: this is the percentage of the available hours in a year that the plant
operates. This is usually 90-95%.
1.9.2 Choice of Continuous versus Batch Production
The choice will not be clear - cut, however one can use as a guide the following rules:

Production rate greater than 5*106 kg/h (5000tonnes/h)

Single product
No severe fouling
Good catalyst life
Proven process design
Established market
Cost can be reduced
Less labor


Production rate less than 5*106 kg/h (5000tonnes/h)

A range of products or product specifications
Severe fouling
Short catalyst life
New product
Uncertain design

1.9.3 Organization of a chemical engineering design project

The design work required in the engineering of a chemical manufacturing process plant
can be divided into two broad phases:
Phase 1.Process Design
This covers the steps from the initial selection of the process to be used, through to the
issuing of the process flow-sheets; and includes the selection, specification, and chemical
engineering design of equipment. In any organization, this phase is handled by the
process design group composed of chemical engineers. The group is also responsible for
the preparation of piping and instrumentation diagrams.
Organization of a project group is shown in Fig. 1.4 below.

Fig.1.4 The structure of a chemical engineering project

Phase 2. The detailed mechanical design of equipment; the structural, civil and electrical
design; specification and design of ancillary services. Other specialist groups will be
responsible for cost estimation, and the purchase and procurement of equipment and
The sequence of steps in the design, construction and start up of a chemical process plant

is shown diagrammatically in Fig.1.5.


Fig.1.5 Project Organization

Project manager; a chemical engineer by training is responsible for the coordination of
the project.

2.1 Codes and Standards
The terms CODE and STANDARD are used interchangeably, though CODE should be
reserved for a code of practices. That is a recommended design or operating procedure.
STANDARD on the other hand refers to preferred sizes, eg. pipes, composition etc.
In modern engineering practice we have standards and codes that cover various functions


Materials, properties and composition

Testing procedures for performance, composition and quality
Preferred sizes, eg tubes, plates, sections
Design methods, inspection, fabrication
Codes of practice, for plant operation and safety

All developed countries have national organizations responsible for the issue and
maintenance of standards for the manufacturing industries and for the protection of
In the U.K:; British Standards Institution
In the U.S; National Bureau of Standards
They are responsible for coordinating information on standards. Standards are issued by
the Federal State and various commercial organizations. The major ones of interest to
chemical engineers are:
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
American Petroleum Institute (API)
American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) coordinates the publication of
International Standards.
In Ghana, there is no national standards organization to coordinate local standards for
industries. However there are national standard organizations with standards for the
protection of consumers eg. Standards Boards, Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Equipment manufactures work together to produce standardized designs and size ranges
for commonly used items; electric motors, pumps, pipes, and pipe fittings.
2.2 Factors of Safety (Design Factors)
Design is an inexact act; errors and uncertainties can arise in the design data available
and in the approximations necessary in the design calculations. To meet design
specifications, factors are included to give a margin of safety in the design so that the

equipment will not fail to perform satisfactorily, and that it will operate safely.
e.g. in a mechanical and structural design, the magnitude of design factors used to allow
for uncertainties in material properties, design methods fabrication and operating loads
are well established. In process design, design factors are used to give tolerances in the
design e.g. process stream average flows calculated from material balances are often
increased by a factor of 10%, to give some flexibility in process operation. This factor
then sets the maximum flows for equipment, instrumentation and piping design.
2.3 System of Units
Chemical engineering uses a diversity of units from American and British engineering
Systems, CGS (grain, centimeter, second)
MKS( kilogram, meter, seconds)
English and American pound mass (lb), foot, second or hours, pound force.
If working in S. I units is preferred, data expressed in the American and British
engineering systems can be converted to S.I units. Conversions factors are available in
the literature.
2.4 Mathematical Representation of the Design Problem
A process unit e.g. distillation unit in a chemical process plant performs some operation
on the inlet material stream to produce the desired outlet stream.

Inlet stream


Outlet stream

In the design of such a unit, the design calculations model the operation of the unit. Thus
the flow of materials is replaced by flow of information into the unit and flow of derived
information out of the unit.





Information flows are the values of the variables which are involved in the design.
Input stream

Output stream



Flow rate

same as the input variables.


Composition, temperature, pressure are called intensive variables, i.e. independent

of quantity of material flow (flow rate)(Nv).

The constraints on the design will place restrictions on the possible values that
these variables can take; for example the values of some of the variables will be
fixed directly by process specification. The values of other variables will be
determined by design relationships arising from constraints.

Some of the design relationships will be in the form of explicit mathematical

equations (design equations): such as those arising from material and energy

balances, thermodynamic relationships, and equipment performance parameters.

Other relationships will be less precise such as those arising from the use of

standards and preferred sizes and safety considerations (Nr).

The difference between the number of variables in the design and the number of
design relationships is called the number of degrees of freedom.

If Nv the number of possible variables in a design problem

Nr the number of design relationships
Nd = Nv Nr
Nd = number of degrees of freedom

Case 1.
If Nv=Nr implies Nd = 0; this implies that there is only one unique solution to the
problem. The problem is not a true design problem and no optimization is possible.
Case 2
Nv is less than Nr, Nd is less than 0; this implies that the problem is over defined, and
only the trivial solution is possible.
Case 3
Nv >Nr, Nd > 0; implies there is an infinite number of possible solutions. However for a
practical problem, there will be only a limited number of feasible solutions. Nd represents
the number of variables which the designer must assign values to solve the problem.
Example 1: consider a single phase stream (liquid/vapour) containing C components.

Process Unit


(1) The sum of the mass/mol fractions equal 1.
(2) The enthalpy is a function of stream composition, temperature and pressure.
Therefore, Degrees of Freedom, Nd = Nv Nr =(C+4) (2) = C+2
Specifying C+2 variables completely defines the stream.
Example 2: Flash distillation / Equilibrium distillation
In this process unit, a feed is passed into a still (fractionating column), where part is
vaporized, and the vapour remaining in contact with the liquid. The mixture of vapor and
liquid leaves the still and is separated so that the vapour is in equilibrium with the liquid.

Where, F= Stream flow rate, P= pressure, T=temperature, xi= concentration of

component i, q = heat input.
Surfixes, 1= inlet; 2=outlet vapor; 3 =outlet liquid

Note: 1. given the temperature and pressure, the concentration of any component in the
vapor phase can be obtained from the concentration in the liquid phase ( v-l-e data)
2. An equilibrium separation implies that the outlet streams and the still are the
same pressure and temperature.
This implies that

P2 = P


T2 = T


P3 = P


T3 = T


Gives 4 equations.

Degrees of freedom Nd (No of degrees of freedom)=Nv - Nr= (3C + 9) - (2C + 5) = C + 4

Though the total degrees of freedom calculated is (C+4), some of the variables will be
fixed by the process conditions and will not be free for the designer to select as design
variables. For example: the flash distillation unit will normally be one unit in a process
system and the feed composition and feed conditions will be fixed by the upstream
process. Hence defining the feed, fixes (C+2) variables and the designer is left with,
(C+4)-(C+2) = 2
2.5 Selection of Design Variables
To solve a design problem, the designer has to decide which variables are to be chosen as
design variables, i.e the ones he can manipulate to produce the best design. This choice is
crucial to enable the simplification of the calculations.
Example: Flash distillation problem in the previous example.
For a binary mixture, C=2; this implies Nd=C+4=6
If the feed stream flow, composition, temperature, pressure are fixed by upstream
conditions, then the number of design variables is Nd=6-(C+2)=6-4=2. This implies, the
designer is free to select 2 variables from the remaining variables to proceed with the
calculation of the outlet stream composition and flows.
Scenerio 1

Suppose you select the still pressure implies for a binary system, vapour-liquid
equilibrium (V-L-e) relationship is determined, and one outlet stream flow rate, then the
outlet compositions can be calculated by the simultaneous solution of mass-balance and

(v-l-e) relations.
Scenerio 2

If you select the still pressure and the liquid outlet stream composition, then the
simultaneous solution of the mass balance and the v-l-e relationship will not be necessary.
Following the procedure below, one can calculate the stream compositions.
1. Specify P determines the v-l-e curve from experimental data
2. Knowing the outlet liquid composition, the outlet vapor composition can be
calculated from the v-l-e.
3. Knowing the feed and outlet compositions, and the feed flow rate, the outlet
stream flows can be calculated from a material balance.
4. An enthalpy balance gives the heat input required.
Optimizing the design of a chemical process plant is a foreboding task. This can be
achieved by subdividing the plant into subunits and optimizing each subunit. However
this does not result in the optimal design of the whole plant because the optimization of
each subunit is at the expense of the other.
The general procedure for optimizing process units and equipment design:
Step1: the first step is to clearly define the objective. i.e the criteria to be used for
measuring the performance of the system. For a chemical process plant, the overall
objective is to maximize profit.
This overall objective can be broken down into sub objectives such as; minimize

operating cost, minimize capital investment, maximize yield of the product, reduce labour
requirements, reduce maintenance, operate safely.
Step 2: the second step is to determine the objective function; the system of equations
and other relationships, which relate the objectives with the variables to be manipulated
to optimize the function.
Step 3: this step is to find values of the variables that give the optimum value of objective
function i.e maximum or minimum. The best technique to be used will depend on the
complexity of the system and the type of mathematical model used to represent it.
3.1 Simple Models
If the objective function can be expressed as a function of one variable (single degree of
freedom), the function can be differentiated or plotted to find the maximum or minimum.
This situation arises only for exceptional cases. In most practical situations, the numbers
of variables exceed the number of relationships.
Example of a simple model: Determine the optimum proportions for a closed cylindrical

The surface area A in terms of the dimensions is:

A DL 2
D DL D 2

the objective function is f D, L D L
for a given volume (V) we have,




exp res sin g the objective function in terms of one variable D, we have


4V D 2


differentiating ; f ' (D)



finding the optimum D, we set the above equation to zero

D 0 D3

4V 4V
substituting D in (2) above L


For a cylindrical container, the minimum surface area to enclose a given volume is
obtained when the length (height) is made equal to the diameter.
In practice, when the cost is the objective function; L=2D; this is because the cost must
include that of forming the vessel, making the joints in addition to the cost of the

3.2 Multiple Variable Systems

The general optimization problem can be represented mathematically as:
f f (v1 , v 2 , v3 ,.......v n )
where f objective function and v1 , v 2 , v3 ,.......v n are the variables
In a design situation, there will be constraints on the possible values of the objective
function due to constraints on the variables.

Equality constraints are expressed by equations of the form

m m (v1 , v 2 , v3 ,.......v n ) 0
Inequality constraints are expressed by equations of the form
p p (v1 , v 2 , v3 ,.......v n ) Pp

Optimization of the problem involves finding values for the variables v1 , v 2 , v3 ,.......v n
that will optimize the objective function ( i.e give maximum or minimum values within
the constraints).

3.2.1 Methods of analysis:

a. Analytical method: objective functions can be expressed as a mathematical function;
use the methods of calculations to find maximum or minimum values.

For practical situations where the values of the variables are subject to constraints,
the optimum of the constrained objective function will not necessarily occur
where the partial derivatives of the objective function are zero.


FIG.3.1: Effect of constraints on the optimum of a function


The method of Lagranges undetermined multipliers is a useful analytical

technique for dealing with problems that have equality constraints (fixed design

b. Search Methods: Relationships between variables and constraints that arise in

practical design problems are such that analytical methods are not feasible; hence the use
of search methods.
For single variable problems where the objective function is unimodal, the simplest
approach is to calculate the value of the objective function at uniformly spaced values of
the variable until a maximum or minimum is obtained.

FIG.3.2 Yield as a function of reactor temperature and pressure

3.2.3 Other Optimization Methods
- Linear programming; a technique used when the objective function and constraints can
be expressed as a linear function of the variables.
- Dynamic programming; used for the optimization of large systems.



Productive period: this is the period when product is being produced

Nonproductive period; this is the period when the product is discharged and
equipment prepared for the next batch.

Total batch time: productive period + nonproductive period

The rate of production is determined by the total batch time as follows:

Batches per year = 8760 x Plant attainment
Total batch time (batch cycle time)
Annual production rate = (quantities produced per batch)x(batches per year)

Cost per unit of production= annual cost of production

Annual production rate
5.1 Introduction: process synthesis aims at the optimization of the logical structure of a
chemical process; specifically the sequence of steps; reaction, separation (distillation,
extraction etc), the source and destination of recycle streams.
The logical structure of a chemical process: Given the following;

Raw materials, required products, allowed byproducts, a set of unit operations for
consideration, cost factors for materials and unit operations required to generate
and rank in order of preference and feasible chemical plant flow sheets.

Approach 1. Combinatorial algorithms are used to find all feasible flow sheets contained
in a toolkit of raw materials and operating steps. The flow sheets are then reviewed and
optimized based on performance, economic and safety criteria.
Approach 2. Heuristic rules based on experiences that are used for the selection and
positioning of processing operations as flow sheets are assembled.
5.2 Raw Materials and Chemical Reactions
Heuristic 1: select raw materials and chemical reactions to avoid or reduce the
handling and storage of hazardous and toxic chemicals.
e.x. Manufacture of ethylene glycol

C 2 H 4 1 O2 CH 2 CH 2


CH 2 CH 2 H 2 O CH 2 CH 2


Both reactions are extremely exothermic, therefore they need to be controlled

carefully. Such processes are designed with two reaction steps with storage of the
intermediate, to enable continuous production, even when maintenance problems
shut down the first reaction operation.

Alternative to the 2-step example process:

1. Use chlorine and caustic in a single reaction step, to avoid the intermediate:

CH 2 CH 2 Cl2 2 NaOH ( aq) CH 2 CH 2 2 NaCl

2. Use the 2-step reaction with the following modifications:
- As ethylene-oxide is formed, react it with carbon dioxide to form ethylene
carbonate, a much less active intermediate that can be stored safely. This can then
be hydrolysed to form the required ethylene glycol product

Heuristic 2: Distribution of Chemicals

Use an excess of one chemical reactant in a reaction to completely consume a second
valuable, toxic or hazardous reactant.
e.x. use an excess of ethylene in the production of Dichloroethane.

Heuristic 3: when nearly pure products are required, eliminate the inert species before
the reaction operations, when the separations are easily accomplished, or when the
catalyst is adversely affected by the inert.

Heuristic 4: introduce liquid or vapour purge streams to provide exit for species that;

Enter the process as impurities in the feed

Produced by irreversible side reactions

e.x. Ammonia, NH3 synthesis loop

Heuristic 5: Do not purge valuable species or species that are toxic and hazardous, even
in small concentrations

Add separators to recover valuable species

Add reactors to eliminate toxic and hazardous species

e.x. catalytic converter in car exhaust

Heuristic 6: For competing series or parallel reactions, adjust temperature, pressure, and
catalyst to obtain high yields of desired products. In the initial distribution of chemicals,
assume that these conditions can be satisfied; obtain kinetic data, and check this
assumption before developing a base-case design.
e.x. Manufacture of alkyl-chloride

CH 2 CHCH 3 Cl 2 k1 CH 2 CHCH 2 Cl HCl

Cl 2


CH 3 CHClCH 2 Cl




This is a series/parallel reaction;


for each reaction, obtain

H R , K o , E

For each reaction, obtain kinetic data and examine the dependency of reaction rate on
temperature; implies

k koe


Since for multiple reactions, high temperature favors the reaction of higher activation
energy and vice versa.

for each reaction obtain

H R , K o , E

Heuristic 7: for reversible reactions, consider conducting them in a separation device

capable of removing products, and hence driving the reaction to the right.
e.g. manufacture of ethyl-acetate using reactive distillation

Heuristic 8: Separations : separate liquid mixtures using distillation, stripping towers

and liquid-liquid extractors.

Heuristic 9: attempt to condense vapour mixtures with cooling water, then use heuristic


Heuristic 10: Heat Transfer in reactors: to remove highly exothermic heat of reaction,
consider the use of excess reactant, an inert diliuent.

Heuristic 11: For less exothermic heat of reaction, circulate reactor fluid to an external
cooler, or use a jacketed vessel or cooling coils.

Heuristic 12: Pumping and Compression: To increase the pressure of a stream, pump a
liquid rather than compress a gas: i.e condense a vapor as long as refrigeration ( and
compression) is not needed before pumping.

Compressors have large capital cost and consume a lot of power.


The discussion focused on the following:

understanding the importance of selecting reaction paths that do not involve toxic

or hazardous chemicals.
Be able to distribute the chemicals in a process flowsheet, to accont for the
presence of inert species, to purge species that would otherwise build up to

unacceptable concentrations, to achieve a high selectivity of the desired products.

Apply heuristics in in selecting separation processes to separate liquids, vapours,

and vapour-liquid mixtures.

Understand the advantages of pumping a liquid rather than compressing a vapor.

5.3 Heuristics in Equipment Design

5.3.1. Equipment Size
Need information on the required throughput to determine vessel size

General guidelines for vessel size

o Height: 2-10 m
o L/D: 2-5m
Towers/ Columns
o Height: 2-50m
o L/D: 2-30m

Note: Do not specify units outside these ranges

5.3.2 Heat Exchangers

Several kinds are used


Area: 10-1000m2
For shell and tube (tubular)
o Tube diameter: 1-2 cm
o Tube length: 2-6m
o Shell diameter:0.3-1m
Plate and frame
Newer technology- thin, gasketed plates separate hot and cold fluids.
Advantage: more compact and very efficient Heat transfer considerations


Minimum temperature approach: for fluids 10oC and for refrigerants, 5oC
Cooling water in: 30oC; Cooling water out: 45oC
Equipment heat transfer(overall) coefficient in decreasing order of magnitude
Heat Exchangers:tlm < 100oC Towers/ Columns

Tower operating pressure is usually determined by the temperature of condensing
medium or maximum allowable reboiler temperature

Sequencing multiple towers: typically

Do easy separation first and leave difficult ones for last
If relative volatilities of all species are close , remove one-by-one from overhead
When volatilities are close but feed concentrations vary, remove high
concentrations first.
Distillation operating conditions
Economically reflux ratio is typically 1.2-1.5 times Lmin
Optimum number of theoretical trays trays is typically 2 times Nmin
Find Nmin from Fenske-Underwood equation
Tower design
Tray spacing are typically 20-24
Pressure drop typically 0.1psi per tray
Tray efficiencies: 60-90% for gas absorption and stripping

5.3.3 Process Conditions: General Guidelines High Pressure
To achieve a high pressure in a process:

For a liquid use a pump; for a vapour first condense it and pump it into an

For a gas compression; P/Po<3

Note that , compressors are high cost items: large capital cost and high power
Advantages of high pressure
o Smaller volumes
o Greater concentration
o Change thermodynamics
Lower pressures processing conditions
o 1-10 bar is preferable
o Higher pressure or vacuum requires special equipment
o Unless there is a compelling reason, operate at 1-10 bar pressure High Temperature

Operate at high temperature to achieve the following:

o High reaction rates
o Change equilibrium of reaction or VLE
Achieve a high temperature in a process by the following means:
o Furnaces(using fuel gas, oil)- very high temperatures
o Heat exchangers(using steam, thermal fluids, molten salt)
o High pressure steam: 40 50bar (approx. 260oC)
o Medium pressure steam: 20 bar(approx. 200oC)
o Low pressure steam: 5- 10 bar(approx. 150oC) Low Temperature

Operate at low temperature to achieve the following:

o Slow reaction rate
o Prevent thermal sensitive species from degradation
o Change thermodynamics
Achieve a high temperature in a process by the following means:
o Using a heat exchanger with the following fluids( cold steam)
Cooling tower water
Chilled water
Active refrigeration


Process simulation is the act of representing some aspects of the real world by

numbers or symbols that may be easily manipulated to facilitate their study.

The important step in process simulation is the representation of that aspect of the

real world to be studied in terms of a mathematical model.

With respect to chemical engineering, the real world is a chemical process
described by a process flow sheet. Therefore process simulation is used to solve
problems related to the process flow sheet, i.e process design, process analysis,

process control etc.

The mathematical model that simulates an aspect of the process needs an

appropriate method of solution.

A process simulation is a computer program developed to solve the model and
study its behavior by manipulating the model parameters.

6.1 Process Simulator:

Computational package that enables predictions of the process behavior
Inputs for the package are:
Basic engineering relationships such as :

Mass and energy balances

Phase and chemical equilibrium
Flowsheet topography

Uses are:

For design of new plants

Increase profitability in existing plants
Run many possible cases
Sensitivity studies, and optimization

Accuracy depends on the use of


Reliable thermodynamic and property data

Realistic operating conditions
Rigorous equipment models

6.1.1 Types of process simulation

There are several commercial packages. E.g Aspen Plus, Chemcad, Hysis Pro/II.
Common features of all these are:
1. Database of hundreds thousands( a large number) of compounds
2. A parameter library to compute /estimate properties of these compounds
3. Flowsheet builder- graphical interface that enables units to be defined and
4. Thermo Solver; computes phase equilibrium and thermodynamic properties given
the database
5. Unit operations Solver: short cut and rigorous solvers for equipment
6. Overall flowsheet solver; mathematical convergence of the flowsheet

6.1.2 Unit Operations Solvers; e.g Reactors

- specifies the reaction stiochiometry, temperature, pressure and conversion
- when the reaction is equilibrium limited, specifies the stoichiometry , the approach to
equilibrium and equilibrium constants
- for the reaction involved, specifies the kinetic expression, reactor type and enables the
reactor size calculation.
- distillation columns
- Uses the Feuske, Underwood methods to provide a good initial guess for subsequent
- for rigorous plate-by-plate approach, it solves simultaneously, material and energy
balance equations, and VLE relations for each plate.
6.1.3. Uncertainty and Sensitivity Issues.
It is important to be able to quantify the uncertainty of results:

Determine the probability of accuracy of results

Determine what part of results obtained is most likely to be incorrect, and

estimate error range

Sensitivity issues; in cost estimation and profitability studies, estimate the
sensitivity of the results to variations in capital cost, operating cost etc.

Other causes of uncertainty of results using a simulator.


Thermo model used

Physical properties data
Convergence tolerance
Simulation method ( simulator)
Because there are disturbing variations between different process simulators using
the same models
What can we do?
o Estimate uncertainties by performing simulations using a range of
parameters, different models.
o Determine the sensitivity of results
o Use statistical methods to design experiments over ranges of parameters
and the results will provide confidence limits
o Ultimately, final designs should be tested on pilot studies.


7.0 Cost Estimation
An acceptable plant design must present a process that is capable of operating under
conditions which will yield a profit. Since net profit equals total income minus all
expenses, it is essential that the chemical engineer be aware of the many different types
of cost involved in manufacturing process. Capital must be allocated for direct plant
expenses, such as those for raw materials, labor and equipment. Besides direct expenses,
many other indirect expenses are incurred and these must be included if a complete

analysis of the total cost is to be obtained. Examples of these indirect expenses are
administrative salaries, product-distribution cost, and cost for interplant communications.
A capital investment is required for any industrial process, and determination of the
necessary investment is an important part of a plant-design project. The total investment
for any process consist of fixed-capital investment for physical equipment and facilities
in the plant plus working capital which must be available to pay salaries, keep raw
materials and products on hand and handle other special items requiring a direct cash
outlay. Thus in an analysis of cost is industrial processes, capital investment costs,
manufacturing costs, and general expenses including income taxes must be taken
into consideration.
7.1 Cash Flow for Industrial Operations
Figure 7.1 shows the concept of cash flow for an overall industrial operation.
7.2 Factors affecting Investment and Production Costs

Sources of equipment
Price fluctuations
Company policies
Operating time and rate of production
Governmental policies

7.3 Capital Investment

Before an industrial plant can be put into operation, a large sum of money must be
supplied to purchase and install the necessary machinery and equipment. Land and
service facilities must be obtained, and the plant must be erected complete with all
piping, controls, and services. In addition it is necessary to have money available for the
payment of expenses involved in the plant operation.

Fixed capital investment

The capital needed to supply the needed manufacturing and plant facilities.

Working capital

The capital necessary for the operation of the plant


Total capital investment = Fixed capital investment + Working capital

Fixed capital investment= Manufacturing fixed capital investment + Nonmanufacturing fixed capital Investment.

Manufacturing fixed capital investment: the fixed capital necessary for the
installed process equipment with all auxiliaries that are needed for complete
process operation. These include expenses for piping, instruments, insulations,
foundations, and site preparation.

Non- manufacturing fixed capital investment: the fixed capital required for
construction overhead and for all plant components that are not directly related to
the process operation. These plant components include the land, processing
buildings, administrative and other offices, warehouses, laboratories,
transportation, shipping and receiving facilities, utilities and waste disposal
facilities, shops and other permanent parts of the plant.

Construction overhead cost: consists of field-office and supervision expenses,

home-office expenses, engineering expenses, miscellaneous construction costs,
contactors fees and contingencies. In most cases, construction overhead is
proportioned between manufacturing and non-manufacturing fixed-capital

Working capital: the working capital for an industrial plant consist of the total
amount of money invested in
o Raw materials and supplies carried in stock
o Finished products in stock and semi-finished products in process of being
o Accounts receivable
o Cash kept on hand for monthly payment of operating expenses , such as
salaries, wages, and raw materials purchases
o Accounts payables
o Taxes payables
The ratio of working capital to total capital investment varies with different

companies. Most chemical plants use an initial working capital of 10 to 20 percent

of the total capital investment. It is 50% or more for companies producing
products of seasonal demand because of the large inventories which must be
maintained for appreciable period of time.
7.4 Estimation of Capital Investment
Of the many factors which contribute to poor estimates of capital investments, the most
significant one is usually traceable to sizeable omissions of equipment, services, or
auxiliary facilities rather than to gross errors in costing. A check list of items covering a
new facility is an invaluable aid in making a complete estimation of the fixed capital
investment. A typical list of items is:
Direct cost

Purchased equipment; all equipments listed on a flow sheet

Purchased-equipment installation
Instrumentation and controls
Electrical equipment and materials
Buildings(including services)
Yard improvements
Service facilities

Indirect cost

Engineering and supervision

Construction expenses
Contractors fees

7.4.1 Types of capital cost estimates

An estimate of the capital investment for a process may vary from a predesign estimate
based on little information except the size of the proposed project to a detailed estimate
prepared from complete drawings and specifications. The following five categories
represent the accuracy range and designation normally used for design purposes:
1. Order-of-magnitude estimate(ration estimate) based on similar previous cost data:
probable accuracy of estimate over 30 percent
2. Study estimate (factored estimate) based on knowledge of major items of

equipment; probable accuracy of estimate up to 30 percent

3. Preliminary estimate (budget authorization estimate; scope estimate) based on
sufficient data to permit the estimate to be budgeted; probable accuracy of
estimate within 20 percent.
4. Definitive estimate(project control estimate) based on almost complete data but
before completion of drawings and specifications; probable accuracy of estimate
within 10 percent
5. Detailed estimate (contractors estimate) based on complete engineering
drawings, specifications and site surveys; probable accuracy of estimate within


7.4.2. Cost Indexes

Most cost data which are available for immediate use in a preliminary or predesign
estimate are based on conditions at some time in the past. Because prices may change
considerably with time due to changes in economic conditions, some methods must
be used for updating cost data applicable at a past date to costs that are representative
of conditions at a later time. This is done using a cost index.
A cost index is hence an index value for a given point in time showing the cost at that
time relative to a certain base time.

index value at present time

Pr esent cost Original cost

index value at time original cost was obtained
Cost indexes can be used to give a general estimate, but no index can take into
account all factors, such as special technological advancements or local conditions.
The common indexes permit fairly accurate estimates if the time period involved is
less than 10 years.
Some indexes are used for estimating equipment cost, others apply specifically to
labor, construction, materials etc.
The most common of these indexes are the Marshall and Swift all-industry and
process-industry equipment indexes, the Engineering New-Record construction index,
the Nelson refinery construction index and the Chemical Engineering plant cost

Methods for Estimating Capital Investment

Power factor applied to plant-capacity ratio

Unit cost Estimate
Percentage of delivered-equipment Cost
Lang factors for approximation of capital Investment
Detailed Item Estimate

Turnover ratios: A rapid evaluation method suitable for order-of-magnitude

estimates is known as the turnover ratio method.
Turnover ratio is defined as the ratio of gross annual sales to the fixed capital

Turnoverra tio

gross annual sales

fixed capital investiment

Where the product of the annual production rate and the average selling price of the
commodities produced is the gross annual sales figure.

Capital ratio or investment ratio

Turnover ratio

Turnover ratio ranges between 0.2 to 5. For chemical industries, as a very rough rule of
thumb, the ratio can be approximated to 1.
An analysis of costs and profits for any business operation requires recognition of the fact
that physical assets decrease in value with age. This decrease in value may be due to
physical deterioration, technological advances, economic changes, and other factors
which ultimately will cause retirement of the property. The reduction in value due to any
of these causes is a measure of the depreciation.

Types of Depreciation
1. Physical depreciation: is the measure of the decrease in value due to changes in
the physical aspect of the property. Wear and tear, corrosion, accidents and
deterioration due to age.
2. Functional depreciation: depreciation due to all other causes. One common type
of functional depreciation is obsolescence. This is caused by technological
advances or developments that make an existing property obsolete. Though the
property does not has suffered no physical change, its economic serviceability is
reduced because it is inferior to improved types of similar assets that have been
made available through advancements in technology.

Service life
The period during which the use of a property is economically feasible. Both physical
and functional depreciation are considered in determining service life and the term is
synonymous with economic or useful life. In estimating the probable service life, it is
assumed that a reasonable amount of maintenance and repairs will be carried out at the
expense of the owner.
Salvage value
It is the net amount of money obtainable from the sale of used property over and above
any charges involved in removal and sales. If a property is capable of further service, its
salvage value may be high. However, other factors such as location of the property,
existing price levels, market supply and demand, and difficulty of dismantling, may have
an effect.
If the property cannot be disposed of as a useful unit, it can often be dismantled and sold
as junk to be used again as a manufacturing raw material. The profit obtainable from this
type of disposal is scrap or junk value.
Present Value
It is the value of an asset in its condition at the time of valuation. Types of present values

1. Book value or unamortized cost: the difference between the original cost of a
property, and all the depreciation charges made to date.
2. Market value: the price which could be obtained for an asset if it were placed on
sale in the open market.
3. The cost necessary to replace an existing property at any given time with one at
least equally capable of rendering the same service.
Methods for determining Depreciation
1. Straight Line method
With this method, it is assumed that the value of the property decreases linearly
with time. Equal amount are charged for depreciation each year throughout the
entire service life of the property.

V Vs

where d annual depreciation, $/year

V original value of the property at start of the service life period, completely
installed and ready for use, dollars.
Vs salvage value of property at end of service life, dollars
n service life, years
The book value ( or asset value)of the equipment at any time during the service

life may be determined from:

Va V ad
where Va book value, dollars
a number of years in actual use
2. Declining Balance ( or Fixed Percentage) Method
When this method is used, the annual depreciation cost is a fixed percentage of

the property value at the beginning of the particular year. The fixed percentage
factor remains constant throughout the entire service life of the property, while the
annual cost for depreciation is different each year. Under these conditions, the
depreciation cost for the first year of the propertys life is Vf.
where f represents the fixed-percentage factor.
At the end of the first year,
Asset value Va V (1 f )
At the end of the second year,
Asset value Va V (1 f ) 2

At the end of the a year,

Asset value Va V (1 f ) a

At the end of the n year ( i.e. at the end of service life)

Asset value Va V (1 f ) n Vs


V n
f 1 s
Practice Question: The original value of a piece of equipment is $22,000,

completely installed and ready for use. Its salvage value is estimated to be $2000
at the end of a service life estimated to be 10 years. Determine the asset ( or book)
value of the equipment at the end of 5 years using:
(a) Straight line method
(b) Text book declining-balance method.
Other methods for determining depreciation are Sum-of-the-Years-Digits Method and
Sinking-Fund Method.
Profitability is generally a term for the measure of the amount of profit that can be
obtained from a given situation. Before capital is invested in a project or enterprise, it is

necessary to know how much profit can be obtained and whether or not it might be more
advantageous to invest the capital in another form of enterprise. Thus, the determination
and analysis of profits obtainable from the investment of capital and the choice of the
best investment amongst various alternatives are major goals of an economic analysis.
The design engineer, however, usually deals with investments which are expected to yield
a tangible profit.
Profitability Standards
In the process of making an investment decision, the profits anticipated from the
investment of funds should be considered in terms of a minimum profitability standard.
The profitability standard, which can normally be expressed on a direct numerical basis,
must be weighed against the overall judgment evaluation for the project in making the
final decision as to whether or not the project should be undertaken.
The judgment evaluation must be based on the recognition that a quantified profitability
standard can serve only as a guide. Thus it must be noted that the profit evaluation is
based on a prediction of future results so that assumptions are necessarily included. Many
intangible factors, such as future changes in demand or prices, possibility of operational
failure, or premature obsolescence, cannot be quantitized. It is in areas of this type that
judgment becomes critical in making a final investment decision.
A primary factor in the judgment decision is the consideration of possible alternatives.
For example, the alternative to continuing the operation of an existing plant may be to
replace it with a more efficient plant, to discontinue the operation entirely, or to make
modifications in the existing plant.
Basis for Evaluating Project Profitability
Total profit alone cannot be used as the deciding profitability factor in determining if an
investment should be made. The profit goal of a company is to maximize income above
the cost of the capital which must be invested to generate the income. If the goal were
merely to maximize profits, any investment would be accepted which would give a profit,
no matter how low the return or how great the cost.

Assume two equally sound investments A and B could be made.
Investment A: Capital needed=$100,000; Profit yielded=$10,000/year
Investment B: Capital needed=$1 million; Profit yielded=$25,000/year
Investment B gives a greater yearly profit than A but annual rate of return on the second
investment is only
($25,000/$1,000, 000) x100=2.5%
While annual rate of return on $100,000 is 10%.
Because reliable bonds and other conservative investments would yield annual rates of
return in the range of 6 to 9%, the $1 million investment in this example would not be
very attractive; the 10% return on the $100,000capital would make this investment
worthy of careful consideration.
Therefore, the rate of return rather than the total amount of profit is the important
profitability factor in determining if the investment should be made.
Mathematical Methods for Profitability Evaluation
The most commonly used methods for profitability evaluation are:

Rate of return on investment

Discounted cash flow based on full-life performance
Net present worth
Capitalized cost
Payout period

Note: No single method is best for all cases.

1. Rate of return on investment
Total initial investment Years

Profit= income expenses

Total investment determination; consider both fixed capital and working

To determine profit; estimates must be made of direct production cost,
fixed charges including depreciation, plant overhead costs, general

Profits may be expressed on a before-tax or after-tax basis but the
condition must be indicated.

A proposed manufacturing plant requires an initial fixed capital investment of
$900,000 and $100,000 of working capital. It is estimated that the annual income
will be $800,000 and the annual expenses including depreciation will be $520,000
before income taxes. A minimum annual return of 15% before income taxes is
required before the investment will be worthwhile. Income taxes amount to 48%
of all pre-tax profits. Determine the following:
a. The annual percent return on the total initial investment before income taxes.
b. The annual percent return on the total initial investment after income taxes
c. The annual percent return on the total initial investment before income taxes
based on capital recovery with minimum profit
d. The annual percent return on the average investment before income taxes
assuming straight-line depreciation and zero salvage value.
2. Discounted cash flow
The method of approach for a profitability evaluation by discounted cash flow
takes into account the time value of money and it is based on the amount of the
investment that is unreturned at the end of each year during the estimated life of
the project. A trial and error procedure is used to establish a rate of return
which can be applied to a yearly cash flow so that the original investment is
reduced to zero (or to savage and land value plus working-capital investment)
during the project life. Thus, the rate of return by this method is equivalent to the
maximum interest rate ( normally after taxes) at which money could be borrowed
to finance the project under conditions where the net cash flow to the project over
its life would be just sufficient to pay all principal and interest accumulated on the
outstanding principal.
3. Payout period
Payout period or payout time is the minimum length of time theoretically

necessary to recover the original capital investment in the form of cash flow to the
project based on total income minus all costs except depreciation. Generally for
this method, original capital investment means only the original, depreciable,
fixed-capital investment, and interest effects are neglected. Thus
Payout period in years

depreciabl e fixed capital investment

avg profit/yr avg depreciation/yr