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EthyleneOxideReactorSystem

jEO&Associates
ProjectManager:
JanetHuang

DesignEngineers:
DanielResendez
GinaTran

October8,1999

ExecutiveSummary:

DavisCorporationcontractedjEO&Associatestoanalyzetheprofitabilityofconstructinganewethyleneoxideplant.Additionally,jEOwascharged
withthetaskofdesigningthemostprofitablereactorsystemifmarketconditionsareindeedpromising.DavisCorporationprojectedthattheplantcanbe
constructedintwoyearsandthatthemarketdemandatthistimewillbeapproximately150,000tons/year.

Afterapreliminaryanalysis,jEOdeterminedthatmarketconditionswerefavorableenoughtomakeanewEOplantsufficientlyprofitable.Following
extensiveresearch,thedirectoxidationprocessusingpureoxygenandthetypicallyusedsilver/aluminacatalystwaschosenandadetaileddesignwas
constructed.Therecommendeddesignrequiresacapitalinvestmentof$9.3million,operatesonanyannualcostof$92millionandisprojectedtoyielda
$350profitinpresentdaydollarsafter15yearsofproduction(17yearsafterconstructionbegins).jEOrecommendsthatconstructionofthesefacilities
beginimmediately.

TableofContents:

Introduction

EthyleneOxideImportance(MarketingAnalysis)

EOProductioninIndustry

DirectOxidationProcess

Airbasedvs.OxygenbasedProcess

SafetyandEnvironmentalIssues

OverviewofProcess

ProcessDetails
ReactorFeedPreheat/EffluentCooler

Reactor

ReactorChemistry

Catalyst

DesignDetails

CoolingWater

MaterialsofConstruction

AbsorberSection

CompressorTrain

Utilities

SafetyConcerns
Piping

Flanges,ORings,andPacking

Pumps

Valves

Insulation

ReliefSystems

StorageandTransportation

VentGasScrubber

PreventionofBackflow

Operability

Economics
TotalCostofAnalysis

Conclusions

Introduction:

EthyleneOxideImportance(MarketAnalysis)
Manycompaniesproduceethyleneoxide(EO),animportantcommoditychemical.Asmallportionofthedirectethyleneoxideproductisusedasa
generaldisinfectantoffinerinstruments,sterilizerformedicalpurposes,andasafumigantinthespicesindustry(10).Approximately98%ofethylene
oxideisfurtherprocessedtomakethechemicalstabulatedinFigure1(adaptedfromreference15).Sinceethyleneoxideisanessentialcomponentfor
theseconsumerproducts,ethyleneoxidewillcontinuetobeinhighdemandintothenewmillennium.

Figure1:WorldwideEthyleneOxideUses

TheGulfCoastareaisanideallocationforanewethyleneoxideplant.Thisisanareaofcontinuousgrowthforthechemicalandpetrochemical
industries.Sincetherearemanychemicalindustriesproducingnecessarychemicalfeedstockforethyleneoxideproduction,choosingthislocationforthe
futureplantwillallowforeasyavailabilityandtransportoffeed.Thecurrentavailablepipelinesinthesouthallowforeasyaccessibilityofchemicals.
Thisareaisalsoidealfortheethyleneoxidesalesanddistribution.Manycompaniesinthisareauseethyleneoxidetoproduceotherchemicals.Sincethe
plantwillbeavailableforthesurroundingcompanies,theoutlookprojectionfortheethyleneoxidebusinessishigh.Ifshipmentoftheproductis
necessary,themanywaterwaysintheareaallowforeasytransportationtodomesticandinternationalbusinesses.

AUnionCarbiderepresentativedescribesthecurrentethyleneoxidemarketasbeingslightlylowthisyear(13).Sincepricesareslightlylowerand
competitionforethyleneoxideproductionislow,thecurrentyearisanidealtimetobegindevelopmentandconstructionoftheplant.Marketpredictions
indicatethatthedemandforEOwillincreaseinapproximatelytwoyears.DevelopmentofanewEOplantthisyearwillresultinastartupin
approximatelytwoyears,asthemarketembarksonanupswingindemandforEO.

EOProductioninIndustry
Ethyleneoxideproductionisanoldprocessthathasgonethroughonemajorchangethroughoutitslife.Thebasicgoalisstillthesame,toreactethylene
andoxygeneitherdirectlyorindirectlytoproduceethyleneoxideandseveralundesirablebyproducts.Initially,thiswasaccomplishedbytheWorldWar
Ierachlorohydrinprocess.Inmoderntimes,EOisproducedbythedirectoxidationofethylene.

DirectOxidationProcess
Lefortwasthefirsttosynthesizeethyleneoxidethroughthedirectoxidationofoxygenandethyleneintheearly1930s.Thisprocessbecamepopular
commercially,andstillisthemostcommonmethodofmakingethyleneoxide.

EthyleneOxideSynthesis

EthyleneCombustion

Thereactionsabovegovernthedirectvaporphaseoxidationofethylenetoethyleneoxideoverasilvercatalyst.Themainbyproductsofthereactionsare
carbondioxideandwater.Twoothersidereactionsalsooccurinthereactor,whicharetheisomerizationofacetaldehydeandproductionofformaldehyde.
Thisinitialproposaldoesnotaccountfortheamountsofthesetwoproducts,typicallylessthan0.1%acetaldehydeandevenlessformaldehydeinthe
totalamountofreactionproducts(12).Thisdesignprocessusesthedirectoxidationprocesstosynthesizeethyleneoxide.

Airbasedvs.OxygenbasedProcess
Differentindustriesuseeitherairoroxygenasfeedstreamstoobtainanoxygensourcetoreactethylenewithoxygen.jEO&Associatesneedtoconsider
whethertouseairoroxygenforitssourceofoxygenfeed.Theoxygenbasedprocessischosenduetoitsmanyadvantages.Forallplantcapacitiesanda
giventypeofcatalyst,theoxygenbasedreactoryieldsahigherselectivityandrequireslesscatalyst(10).Althoughtheairbasedprocessmaycostlower
torun(forsmalltomediumsizedplants),theinitialbuildingcostsoftheairbasedplantismuchmorethantheoxygenbasedplant(10).Whilethe
oxygenbasedprocessrequiresacarbondioxideremovalsection,morestainlesssteel,andsomeexpensiveinstrumentation,theairbasedprocessrequires
morecatalyst,morereactors(toachieveacomparableselectivity),amultistagecompressor,airpurificationunits,aventgastreatingsystem,andtwoto
threereactortraininseries(12).

Inspiteoftheextraequipmentfortheairbasedprocess,theproductionlevelofethyleneoxideforanairbasedprocessisstilllessthantheoxygenbased
process.Theaverageselectivityrangesfrom6575%comparedto7080%fortheoxygenbasedprocess.Furthermore,theoxygenbasedplantscanhave
ayieldofupto0.1kgethyleneoxideperkgethylenemorethantheairbasedplants(12).Duetothisreason,theoxygenbasedprocessisamore
attractivechoice.

Theairbasedprocesshasthegaspurgestream,whichcontainsethylenethatrequiresextratreatmentbeforeitcanbeventedtotheatmosphere.Thisextra
airpollutionisnotpartoftheoxygenbasedprocess(5).Thecyclegaspurgestreamoftheoxygenbasedprocessisusuallysmallenoughtobeburned
withouttoomanypollutionproblems(8).Thepureoxygenprocessposeslesspotentialproblemfortheair.

Sincethesilvercatalystisexpensive,thelengthofcatalystlifeisanimportantconsideration.Fortheoxygenoxidation,thecatalystlastslongerandlessis
requiredforthecatalystcharge(12).Theairbasedoxidationgenerallyneeds1.5timesthecatalystchargeoftheotherprocess.Therequiredamountof
catalystandlengthofcatalystlifealsomakestheoxygenbasedprocessamoreeconomicallyviablechoice.

SafetyandEnvironmentalIssues
Inthegaseousstate,ethyleneoxideeasilycondensesintoliquidstateatlowtemperatures.Itismisciblewithwater,alcohol,ether,andmostorganic
solvents(10).Asavapor,itisveryflammableandexplosive.Duetothehighlystrainedcyclicstructureofanethyleneoxidemolecule,itisavery
reactivecompound.Planthardwaremustbecarefullychosentoavoidaccidentsandinjuries.Cautionmustbeusedintheproductionprocess,storage,
handlingandtransportofthechemical(5).

Ethyleneoxideisthesimplestcyclicether,whichiscolorlessasagasandliquid.Athigherconcentrations,itcanbedetectedbyaslightlysweetsmell.It
candecomposeevenintheabsenceofairoroxygen.Atcertaintemperatures,ethyleneoxidewillpolymerize,releasingapproximately900Btu/lbof
reactant.Sincerustandstrongalkaliarethecatalystsforthisexothermicreaction,theplantprocessmustbedesignedsothatethyleneoxidedoesnot
comeincontactwiththosesubstances.

Directskincontactresultsinblisteringandsevereskindamage,dependingonhowlongthecontaminationoccurs.Ethyleneoxidecanpenetrateleather,
particularkindsofrubber,aswellascloth.Theseitemsmustberemovedfromthebodyimmediatelyifexposedtothechemical.Shortterminhalation
effectsofethyleneoxideincludedrowsiness,disorientation,nausea,limbweakness,vomiting,andconvulsions.Thesetemporaryconditionsofethylene
oxidedisappearwithinafewdaysafterthelimitedchemicalexposure.Theactionleveloftheseeffectsinclude0.5partspermillionoveraneighthour
timeweightedaverage(3).

Eveninlowerconcentrations,longtermexposureofethyleneoxideleaveslastingeffectsonhumans.Thechemicalisgenerallyregardedasdangerousfor
thecentralnervoussystem,reproduction,geneticeffects,andcancer(3).Laboratoryresearchhasshownthesubstancetoincreasetheriskofleukemia,
stomach,andbraincancerinanimals.Ethyleneoxidehasalsobeenshowntodecreasethereproductiveactivityoflaboratoryratsandmice.Studiescite
thechemicalasespeciallyharmfultothemalereproductivesystem,asitcauseslastingmutations.

Sinceethyleneoxideishighlyreactive,itdoesnotremainintheenvironmentforlongfollowinganaccidentalreleaseorleak.Hydrolysisofthechemical
(resultinginethyleneglycol)onlyoccursinmoreacidicsolutionsandspecifictemperatures.Studieshaveshownthatethyleneoxideanditsderivatives
biodegradetoapproximately53%inaspanoftwentydays(3).Theeffectsofthesechemicalsaremoderatetoplants,microorganisms,andfish,causing
somemutagenicandtoxiceffects(5).Ethyleneoxidespilledintothesoileventuallyevaporates,especiallyifthesoilissaturatedwithrainwater.Inwater
systems,thesubstancewillsimultanaeouslyevaporateandmixwiththewateratthesurface.Overall,duetothehighreactivitylevel,thepossiblerelease
ofethyleneoxidedoesnotposemanythreatstotheenvironment.

OverviewofProcess:
ThedesignmodelsaprocessbasedonafourpartsystemdevelopedbytheconventionalShelldirectoxidationtechnology.Thisbasicdesigncontainsthe
followingparts:thereactionsystem,absorptionsystem,CO2RemovalSection,andEOpurificationsystem.Thisproposalfocusesondevelopingand
optimizingthereactorsystem.

Thereactionsysteminvolvesfourshellandtubepackedplugflowreactors,whichcontainsilver/aluminacatalyst.Thefeedflowsarehighpuritygrade
oxygenandethylene.Thecatalysteasesthepartialoxidationofethylenetoethyleneoxideandthecompletecombustionofethylenetocarbondioxideand
water.Theselectivityoftheethyleneoxideformationisaround81%,whiletheethyleneconversiontoEOisaround10%.Sincethereactionsare
exothermic,waterisusedasacoolingmediumontheshellsideofthereactorandislaterusedtoproducelargequantitiesoflowpressuresteam.

InjEOsdesign,theabsorptionsystemandCO2Removalsectionisincludedwiththereactionsysteminordertoproducearealisticmodeloftherecycle
streamfeedforthereactor.Sincetheseareaswerenotwithinthescopeoftheproject,theabsorptionofEOandwaterandtheremovalofCO2were
assumedtobeideal,with100%removalofEO,and100%removalofthetotalamountofCO2flowingthroughtheCO2removalsection.

ThesimplifiedanddetaileddesigncanbeseenintheFigures2and3onthefollowingpages.Additionally,thedetailedprocessinformationcanbefound
intheAppendix.Itcontainsallstreamdataandinformationforatypicalreactor.

ProcessDetails:

ReactorFeedPreheat/EffluentCooler

ThePreheatexchangersmainpurposeistopreheattheinletfeedfrom181oFto266oF.Thisisaccomplishedefficientlybypreheatingthefeedinthe
tubesidewhilesimultaneouslycoolingthereactoreffluentfrom482oFto408oF.Thepreheattemperatureisselectedbasedonpreviousresearch
performedbyapreviousengineeringteam,EOandSons,studyingethyleneoxideproduction.Althoughahighreactorinlettemperatureisdesired,EO
andSonsconcludedthattheheatexchangersurfaceareaneededforanyhighertemperaturerequiredtheuseofanexcessiveamountoflargeandcostly
heatexchangers.Theheatexchangerpressuresaredeterminedbytheoptimalreactorpressures.Thetubesideinletpressureis261psia,andtheshellside
inletpressureis243psia.Thepressuresaredeterminedbythereactorpressurerequirements.

StainlesssteelischosenforboththetubeandshellsidesbecausethereisalargeamountofEOflowingthroughtheshellandpossibletraceamountsof
EOinthetubeside.EOisveryreactivewithrustandthustheuseofstainlesssteeliscriticaltoavoidahazardoussituation.

Reactor
ReactionChemistryandKinetics

Tworeactionsforethyleneoxideproductionwereconsideredforthereactorsystem,whichcanbeseeninTable1.Themainreactionistheformationof
ethyleneoxidefromethylene,withapproximately81%selectivitytowardsthisreaction.Thesecondreactionisthecombustionofethylenetocarbon
dioxide.Thespecificationsforthesystemweretoobtainapproximately10%conversionofethyleneanda3050%conversionofoxygenwithinthe
selectivityrangestated.

Table1:ReactionsoftheSystem

PrimaryReaction: C2H4+O2>C2H4O

EthyleneOxideFormation

SecondaryReaction: C2H4+O2>CO2+
H2O
EthyleneCombustion

Thekineticsofthesystemaredeterminedinordertobeginthedesignofthereactor.ThroughtheuseofArrheniuskinetics,thereactionsaremodeled
basedongivenactivationenergiesfromliterature(7).Preexponentialfactorsneedtobeobtainedinordertocompletethekineticdesign.Thepre
exponentialfactorsaredeterminedusinganiterativemethod.First,abasecaseisbuiltinHYSYSinordertocalibratethereactordesign.TheSoave
RedlichKwongequationsofstateareselectedsincetheyarecommonlyused,andallsimulatedcomponentsarecompatibleinthissetforHYSYS.
Literaturevaluesareneededtoobtainanideaofthetotalreactortubevolumetoreactorinletflowrateratio.Thesefiguresarenecessarytoobtainan
estimatefortheresidencetimeassociatedwithtypicalliteraturevaluesforconversionandselectivity.Sinceliteratureusuallyprovidesproductflowrate
toreactorvolumecorrelation,aconversionreactorisusedtosolvefortheinletflowratetoreactorvolumeratio.Thistypeofreactorsimplyperformsa
massandenergybalancegiventheindividualconversionsforeachreaction.Witharesidencetime,inletflowtoreactorvolumeratioandkineticdata
obtainedfromKenson(7),thepreexponentialtermsaresolvedforatypicalindustrialreactor.Thesevaluesareusedtodevelopaplugflowkineticmodel
toreplacetheconversionmodel.Thefollowingtableshowsthekineticdataforthereactor:

Table2:ReactorKinetics

ActivationEnergy Preexponential
Factor

EthyleneOxide 3.8e4Btu/lbmol 1.1e12hr1


Formation

Ethylene 5.2e4Btu/lbmol 4.8e14hr1


Combustion

Thesevaluesallowfortheselectivityandconversiontostaywithinrange,allowingselectivityoftheethyleneoxideformationtobehigh,whileobtaining
arelativelylowconversionperpass.Theselectivityofthesynthesisreactionismaintainedataround81%.Approximately12%oftheethyleneis
convertedperpass,while40%oftheoxygenisconverted.

Catalyst

Thecatalystisanimportantpartofthereactionmechanismbecauseitdeterminestheheterogeneouskinetics.Silver/aluminacatalystisthetypeof
catalystused,whichdrivestheselectivityofthereactionstowardsethyleneoxidation.Thesilverallowsforoxygenadsorptiononitssurface,whichforms
anionizedsuperoxide.Theethyleneisreactivewiththissuperoxide,resultingintheformationofethyleneoxide(4).

Althoughthereareseveralvariationsofsilver/aluminacatalystavailable,averagevaluesprovidedintheliteratureareused.Unfortunately,dataon
specificcatalystsisproprietaryandverydifficulttoobtain.Thissituationdidnotallowforanyreliableorsupportablecomparisonsbetweencatalysts.
jEOthereforemodelsthecatalystinamannertoproduceconservativeresultsandusescatalystpropertiesconsistentwiththeliteraturevaluesforthe
classicShelldirectoxidationcatalyst.Thiscatalystiscapableofproducingthe12%conversionand81%selectivitydesired.Thechangeouttimeforthis
catalystisapproximatelythreeyears.OnecatalystthatjEOfeelsshouldbestudiedinthefutureisafairlynewcatalystthatiscapableof8687%
selectivitywithareducedchangeouttimeofoneyear.Duetotimeanddataconstraints,jEOisnotabletoprovideasatisfactoryevaluationofthisoption.

Catalystphysicalpropertiesaremodeledsincetheyplayasignificantroleinreactorperformanceandpressuredrop.Ahighercatalystdensityleadstoan
increasedreactionrate,butunfortunatelyproducesahigherpressuredrop.Thereforeanaccuraterepresentationofthecatalystpropertiesinthemodelis
crucialtoobtainingaccurateresults.

Thefollowingtableshowsthedetailsofthecatalystsizingthatareusedinthereactor:

Table3:CatalystDetails

Volume 352ft3

Diameter 0.026ft

Length 38ft

SolidDensity 48.7lb/ft3

Theresultsobtainedwiththesecatalystpropertiesareinlinewiththeliteraturevalues.ThepressuredropinjEOsmodelis14.2psia.Industry
correspondancestatesthatatypicalpressuredropacrossareactorshouldbebetween1020psia(13).Therefore,themodelappearstobereasonablein
regardstoyetathirdparameterinadditiontoconversionandselectivity.

DesignDetails

Verticalplugflowshellandtubereactorsareusedforthesystem.Plugflowreactorsarethemostcommonreactorscurrentlybeingusedinindustryfor
ethyleneoxideproduction(13),sincetheyallowforhighvelocitiestobeusedandrequirelessvolumethanothertypesofreactors.Sincethereactionsare
exothermic,ashellandtubereactordesignisidealbecauseitallowsforcoolanttoberunthroughtheshellsideforheatexchange.Thisiscriticalin
reducinghotspotformation,andmoreimportantlyinpreventingthereactortemperaturefromrunningaway(4).Hotspotscauseseverecatalyst
degredation,andrunawaytemperaturescanleadtocatastrophicprocessfailures.Therefore,theprocessfeedflowsthroughthetubeside,whilethe
coolingmediumflowsthroughtheshellside.Thereactorsareverticalinordertoprovidebackpressureforthesystem.Thishelpstokeepthecatalystin
place.

Theparametersofthereactorsaredeterminedbasedonachievingtheobjectivesofapproximately10%ethyleneconversionand81%selectivity.These
valuesaretypicalintheliteratureandhavebeenproventoyieldanefficientconsumptionofthereactants.Usingthedevelopedkineticmodelforthe
dominantreactions,thereactorparametersareoptimized.jEOsdesignincludesatotaloffourreactorsthatareruninparallel.Thisdesignissuperiorto
onelargereactorbecausesmallerreactorsarelessexpensivetoconstruct.Furthermore,thisdesignallowsforasmallerandlessexpensivesparewhichis
crucialtoreducethethreatofunexpectedbusinessinterruptions.Eachofthesereactorscontain1712tubes,whichare38ftlongandhavea0.13ftinner
diameterandawallthicknessof0.017ft.Thetubediametersareconsistentwiththeindustrystandard,andthenumberandlengthofthetubesare
determinedbyrigoroussimulationinHYSYS.Thesetwoparametersareselectedinordertoobtainthedesiredconversionandselectivitywhile
maintaininganacceptablepressuredrop.

Itisdeterminedthattheinlettemperatureshouldbe268oF(basedonpreheatexchangerlimitationsseeReactorFeedPreheat/EffluentCoolersection)
withanoutlettemperatureof482oF.Thereactoroperatesat231psia.Literaturesourcesindicatethattypicalreactorconditionsarewithtemperaturesof
230260oCandpressureataround147367psia(12)Thefeedcontainsethyleneat99.5%purityandoxygenat99.5%purity.Theinletis33%ethylene
and8%oxygen.

Thefollowingtablegivesthereactorinletandoutletconditionsandcompositions:

Table4:ReactorFeedandEffluentData

Ethylene Oxygen Reactor Reactor


Feed Feed Recycle Effluent

86oF 86oF 162oF 482oF


Temperature


Pressure 261psia 261psia 231psia 241psia

1051 1023 24064 25577


lbmol/hr lbmol/hr lbmol/hr lbmol/hr
TotalMolar
Flow

Component
Flows
(lbmol/hr):

1050 0 7532 7533

Ethylene

0 1023 1039 1039

Oxygen

0 0 1483 1881

CarbonDioxide

0 0 0 850

EthyleneOxide

1.36 0 12549 12550

Methane

.0607 0 690 552

Ethane

.0145 0 127 127

Nitrogen

0 .0420 366 366

Argon

0 0 278 679

Water

CoolingWater

Thehighlyexothermicreactionsrequireaneffectivecoolingmediumintheshellsideofthereactortopreventrunawayreactionsandhotspotformations.
Thechosencoolingmediumchoseniswater,whichentersthereactorat187oFandleavesat366oFintheformofsteam.AccordingtoJChem,this
methodofcoolingprovidesthebestheattransfer(4).

Thecoolingwaterrequiresapumpsystemtopropelthewaterintotheshellsideofthereactor.Thispumpsystemprovidesthenecessarycoolingwaterto
eachofthefourparallelreactorstoremovetheheatgeneratedbytheveryexothermicreaction.Fourseparatepumps(oneforeachreactor)transporta
totalof75,189lb/hrofcoolingwater.Thisarrangementdeliversanequalamountofcoolingwatertoeachreactorandreducestheriskofcompletefailure
associatedwiththeuseofasinglelargeandveryexpensivepump.Itisunlikelythatfourpumpsshouldfailorsimultaneouslyneedreplacements.
Therefore,alessexpensive,smallerpumpcanbeusedasauniversalspare.Additionally,repairexpensesarenotashighforsmallerpumps.

MaterialsofConstruction

Stainlesssteelischosenthetubesideandcarbonsteelischosenfortheshellside.ThereisalargeamountofEOflowingthroughthetubeside.SinceEO
isveryreactivewithrust,theuseofstainlesssteeliscriticaltoavoidahazardoussituation.Coolingwaterisflowingthroughtheshell,thereforecarbon
steelissuitable.

AbsorberSection
Thereactoreffluentleavesthereactortrainandmovesintotheabsorberarea,withagreatdealofinertgasesandunreactedethylene.Fromthereactor,the
processflowenterstheEOabsorber,wherewaterremovestheEOfromthestream.TheEOexitsthroughthebottomoftheabsorberandentersfurther
separationandpurificationsteps.Thesefurtherstepsarenotwithinthescopeofthisproposal.Theremainingcomponentsleavethroughtheoverheadof
theabsorber.AportionofthisoverheadstreamenterstheCO2removalsystem.Thisstreamservesastherecycleatthebeginningoftheprocess.Partof
theoverheadfromtheEOabsorbercompletelybypassestheCO2removalsystemandjoinstherecyclestream.Theventpurgesasmallfractionofthe
inertsintheEOabsorberoverhead(topreventbuildupofinertsinthestream).

CompressorTrain
Thecompressortrainincreasesthepressureoftherecyclestreamreturningtothereactorinlet,inordertoachievethereactorinletpressureconditions.
Thecompressortrainincreasesthepressureofthestreamfrom223psiatothereactorinletconditionat261psia.Atwostagecompressiontrain
consistingofrotarycompressorsaccomplishesthisgoal.Whencomparedtootherunitssuchasaxial,reciprocating,andcentrifugalcompressors,thistype
ofcompressorisasuitableandveryeconomicalchoice.Additionally,twostagecompressionismoreeconomicalastheuseofasingle,muchlarger
compressorisveryexpensiveduetothelargepressureincreaseitmustproduce.Theprocessrequirescompressorsthataresizedtoachieveapproximately
75%adiabaticefficiencyand75%polytropicefficiency.

Utilities:
Thereactorinletpreheaterwarmsthereactorinletfrom181oFto266oF,whichrequiresadutyof2.33e7Btu/hr.Thisheatexchangeralsoservesto
removeapproximately2.33e7Btu/hrofheatfromthereactoreffluentstream,whichcoolsthestreamfrom482oFto408oF.

Thecoolingwatersystemaroundthereactorservestoremoveheatreleasedbythereaction.Thisheatremovaldecreasesthereactoreffluenttemperature
to482oF.Theheatremovalrequiredisadutyof8.66e7Btu/hr.Thisextraheatvaporizesthecoolingwaterfrom187oFto365oF.Theheatdutyrequiresa
coolingwaterflowof75,200lb/hr.Thewatercomesfromanexternalsource.Thisamountofwaterrequires4.72e4Btu/hr(13.8kW),whichisprovided
byelectricity.

Thecompressorperformsworkontherecyclestreamtoincreasethepressureofthestreamfrom223psiato261psia.Twostagecompression,whichuses
electricity,providesthework.Thefirststageinvolvesacompressionfrom223psiato242psia.Thisrequires3.15e6Btu/hr(920kW).Thesecondstage
ofcompressionincreasesthepressurefrom242psiato261psia.Thisrequires2.97e6Btu/hr(872kW).

Table5liststhetotalutilitiesused:

Table5:TotalUtilities

TotalElectricalConsumption 1,800kW

TotalCoolingWaterConsumption 75,200lb/hr

InternalHeatExchangerDuties 8.66e7Btu/hr

SafetyConcerns:
Piping

Pipelinesarespecificallydedicatedtotransportationofethyleneoxide,duetothepotentialhazardsofservicingthesystemformultiplesubstances.Since
carbonsteelcanpotentiallyrust(whichleadstootherreactionsofethyleneoxide),thepipelinesareconstructedofausteniticstainlesssteel(Type304).
Copper,silver,magnesium,mercuryandcastironsarenotrecommendedforequipmentservicingethyleneoxideduetolowductility,acetylenicmaterials,
orhighcorrosionrates(3).Thedesignofthepipingsystemminimizeslowpointsandstagnatedeadspots,toalsoavoidthepolymerizationreaction(6).
Furthermore,thesurfaceareaofthepipesizeswillbelimitedbykeepingthediameterandlengthrelativelyshort.Highsurfaceareastendtoleadtomore
polymerizationoftheproduct.Pipelinesarekeptshortbyutilizingagravitydrainagesystemwherethelinecanbepurgedwithnitrogen.

Flanges,Orings,andPacking

Thepipingsystemisdesignedwithveryfewflanges.Ateachflange,thereisapotentiallyhazardousleak,whichcouldleadtodangerousreactionsinthe
atmosphere.ThegasketmaterialofflangesarespiralwoundstainlesssteelwitheitherTeflonfillerorGrafoilGTBfiller.Theexactfillermaterialofeach
flangearechosenaccordingtothetemperatureofthesubstancepassingthrough,sinceteflonisonlychemicallyresistanttoethyleneoxideupto400500
degreesFarenheit.Forthesamereason,oringsaremadeofKalrez2035,virginTeflon,orChemrez505.OnlyTeflonorGrafoilGTBareforthepacking
material(3).

Pumps

Onlycarbonsteel,stainlesssteel,orductileironpumpsareusedintheprocess.Basedonpastexperience,centrifugalpumpswithdoublemechanicalseals
areused.Thesealfluidisa50%aqueoussolutionofethyleneglycol,duetoitslowreactivitywhenincontactwithethyleneoxide.Thepumpsare
strategicallyplacedincurbedspots,isolatedfromdirectprocessorstorageunits.Thisdecreasestheriskofpotentialoverheating,leadingtoignitionof
ethyleneoxidevapors(3).

Valves

Valvesareselectedtoavoidstagnateethyleneoxideinanyvalveopenings.Asinthepipelines,thesedeadareascanleadtopolymerizationofthe
chemical.Forthisreason,ballvalvesandplugvalvesarenotrecommendedforethyleneoxideservice.Furthermore,possibleemissionsofspecificvalve
designsshouldalsobeconsidered(3).Gatevalves,globevalves,andbutterflyvalvesareinstalledatthenecessarylocationsinthepipelines.

Insulation

Theexternalwallsofpipelinesandvesselsshouldbeprotectedagainstexcessiveheat,duetothepossibilityofethyleneoxidedecomposition.Insulation
materialsshouldbeselectedbasedonlowcorrosionrates,resistancetoexothermicreactionsofethyleneoxide,anddurabilityunderfireflames.In
considerationoftheseissues,cellularfoamglassareusedasinsulationsinceitisaclosedcellmaterial(decreasingtheriskoftrappingwater,whichleads
toexothermicreactions).

ReliefSystems

Thepressurereliefsystemaredesignedtotieintoanoverallsystem,whichfeedstoaflare.Thisreducestheriskforpotentialexposuretopeopleinthe
surroundingarea.Acarefulanalysisofthesystemisperformed,andreliefmechanismsaredesignedforstorageunitsandpiping(wherestagnantliquid
cangather).Thereliefsystemisdesignedtoavoidanypossiblepluggingduetopolymerization.Thefollowingfactorsareconsidered(3):

Stainlesssteelpiping
Installationofrupturedisksunderneathreliefvalves
Decreasethedistancebetweenreliefvalvesandequipmentunits
Addingnitrogentothereliefvalvesystemperiodically

StorageandTransportation

Uponproductionofethyleneoxide,itistransportedbyarailcartoastoragearea.Fromtherailcar,thesubstanceispressurizedwithaninertgas,suchas
nitrogen,andpumpedintothetemporarystoragetankbeforeitisusedforfurtherchemicalprocessing(4).Thestoragevesselsaredesignedaccordingto
ASMEspecificationsandconstructedofstainlesssteel(Type304).Thetanksareexternallycoatedtoavoidthepossibilityoflongtermstresscorrosion
duetoexposuretoatmosphericchlorides.Therailcarsandstorageunitsareexclusivelyusedforethyleneoxidetoreducetheriskofcontamination.The
vesselsarerefrigerated(intherangeof2080oF)todecreasethepossibilityofpolymerizationandcontroltheheatofanyotherreactions,whichmight
occur(3).Theethyleneoxidecanalsobestoredlongerwithrefrigeration.Thestoragetanksareelectricallygrounded,placedinanareafreefrompossible
fires,andequippedwithpressurereliefvalves(12).

VentGasScrubber

Ventgasscrubbersystemsarecommonlyusedtoremoveethyleneoxidefromthestream.Thescrubbercolumnwillbefilledwithpallringpackings.The
ethyleneoxideisabsorbedbyastrongacidicstreamrunningcountercurrenttotheventgas.Althoughabasecanalsobeused,itisnotaseffectiveasthe
acid(3).Thescrubbedgasisthenreleasedatmosphericallyandtheabsorbedethyleneoxidedisposedofaccordingtoenvironmentalregulations.

PreventionofBackflow

Inordertopreventthepossibilityofbackflowfromdownstreamprocessesusingethyleneoxidetothestorageunits,adetailedanalysisismadeofthe
pipingsystemandvessels.Basedonthedistancebetweenunitsandotherstructures,checkvalvesareplacedalongthepipelines,particularlyatthe
dischargesiteofpumps.Intheeventofanincident,thesystemcanbeshutoffcompletelyatspecificspots,soastoavoidfurtherbackflowintothe
storageunits,whichcouldleadtoexothermicreactionsandpossiblevesselexplosions.

Operability

Withalloftheabovesafetyconsiderationsinmindduringthedesignphase,theprocessiseasilyoperable.Thereareprovisionsforthesysteminthecase
ofshutdown,plugsinthepipingsystem,longtermbreakdownofhardware,saferstorageoptions,andaviabletransportationplan.Inthecaseofaspillor
leak,thepossibleharmfuleffectsareevaluatedanddeterminedtoberelativelyacceptable,inconsiderationofthesocietalbenefitsofethyleneoxide.

Economics:
Thecostanalysisofthisproposalusesanoperatinglifeof15years,anoperatingyearof8000hours,anda15%discountfactorfortheprofitprojections.
Tomakeiteasiertocomparethenumbersataglance,mostofthefinalvaluesareroundedtothreesignificantfigures.

CapCostgeneratesanestimateofthebasecostandbaremodulecostofthedesignhardware.Thecostincludestheexpenseofaspareduplicatepartfor
mostoftheequipmentpieces.Duetostoragelimitationsandexpense,jEOgenerallyincludesonlyonespareforeachequipmenttype.Table6liststhe
specificcosts.DavisCorporationspecificallyrequeststhatthepreliminarycostanalysisdoesnotaccountfortheabsorptionsystem.

Table6:EquipmentCosts

EquipmentType BaseCost($) BareModuleCost($)

Preheatexchanger 79,000 500,000

Fourreactors 900,000 3,900,000

(withonespare)

Centrifugalpump 19,000 64,000

(withonespare)

Tworotarycompressorsin 1,900,000 4,800,000


series(withonespare)

2,900,000 9,300,000

Total

Table7liststheelectricityusedbythepumpsforanoperatingyearof8000hours(14).

Table7:ElectricityCosts

Electricity Work(kW) Cost($/kW) Operating Cost($)


time

(hours)

Centrifugal 13.84 0.06 8,000 6,600


pump

Compressors 1,800 0.06 16,000 860,000

870,000

Total

ThebreakdownofwatercostsisdetailedinTable8.

Table8:WaterCosts

InletFlow Operatingtime Cost TotalCost

(m3/hr) (hours) ($/1000m3) ($)

34.17 8,000 6.70 1,800

Thereactorunitrunsataveryhightemperature,whichboilsoffthecoolingwater.Thereisanoptiontoeithersellthesteamforanadditionalprofit,or
reuseitforenergyinadifferentsectionoftheprocess.
Table9:SteamProducedat11barand184oC

Flow Operatingtime Price Profit

(hours) ($/1000kg) ($)

75,189 8,000 7.31 2,000,000

Table10showstheamountandcostofcatalyst.

Table10:CatalystCost

Reactor Numberof Cost %ofreactor TotalCost


Volume(ft3) reactors volume
($/bed) ($)

881.82 4 2,500 0.40 3,500,000

Table11showsthewagespaidtooperators.Seader,et.al.recommendthat5operatorsbepresentforeachshift(14).

Table11:OperatorWages

Numberof Wage($/hour) Operatingtime TotalLaborCost


Operators
(hours/year) ($/year)

5 29.94 8,000 1,200,000

TotalCostAnalysis

Table12liststhevariouscostsofpurchasing,installing,andoperatingtheplant(14).DavisCorporationrecommendsneglectingthedepreciationfactor.

Table12:TotalCostAnalysis

Table13liststheannualcashflowsoftheproposeddesignprocess.Theprojectedconstructionperiodis2years,withadiscountfactorof15%.Withan
operatinglifeof15yearsandanoperatingyearof8000hours,thenecessarylaboriscalculated(14).Thecashflowaccountsforthe1%inflationrateof
thepriceofethyleneoxideversusthe3%inflationrateofthereactants(6).Asexpected,thediscountedcashflowvaluedecreasessteadilyeachyear(see
Figure4).Inadditiontotheexpenseofthereactants,theothercostsofmanufacturing,suchaslabor,operationoverhead,utilities,andmaintenance,are
alsosubtractedfromtheannualsalesrevenuetoarriveattheannualcashflowvalue.Thereisaprofitofalmost$48millioninthethirdyear(seeTable
13).Thisprofitcontinuestogrowtoover$350millioninthelastoperatingyear.Thefinalcumulativediscountedcashflowcontinuestogrowbeyond
$350millioninthelastyear(seeFigure5).

Table13:AnnualCashFlows

Figure4

Figure5
Conclusions:
Inconclusion,jEO&AssociateshasdeterminedthatitisprofitabletoentertheEOmarketbyconstructingaplantthatwillcomeonlineintwoyears.
jEOhasdevelopedthemostprofitablereactortraindesignpossible.TheprocessdesignfocusesonafourreactortrainutilizingthetypicalShelldirect
oxidationcatalyst.Theprocessproduces

150,000tonsofEOperyear.Consideringmainlythereactorsectionoftheprocess,thecapitalcostinvolvedis$9.3million,theyearlyoperatingcostis
$92million,andthefinalcumulativediscountedcashflowis$350million.Theseresultsshowthatconstructionshouldbeginimmediatelyinorderto
startupintwoyears.

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