The Background.

Recovering and reusing a solvent for producing the final product not only has demanding quality criteria but is the largest single energy user in the company world-wide so is a significant focus for ensuring optimum efficiency, cost savings and carbon footprint.

Having a track record in both in Distillation technology optimization and innovation, BW were engaged to carry out a concept study to assess a proposal that had been developed internally that re-purposed redundant equipment against alternative technologies, a necessary stage of the company Project Process, and to then carry out a Concept Engineering Study with projected savings and a +/- 40% cost estimate. Should the criteria be met, the project would proceed through the further project check-point phases (Basic Engineering, Detailed Engineering & Construction) to implementation.

The Client

Large multi-national company producing Vitamins and food/feed additives. Large manufacturing site in Scotland and one of the largest producers in the world.

The Solution.

Other appropriate technologies for the solvent that could be beneficially integrated into the existing recovery system and facilities were identified and evaluated including membrane Vapour Permeation, Molecular Sieves and Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR).

Compared to the original proposal which re-used equipment, capital investment and process complexity associated with alternatives would be significantly greater. During the Concept Engineering phase, re-use of some key equipment was a constraint and by a combination of specifically designed replacement and enhancement, a greater recovery efficiency could be achieved and the additional capital cost more than off-set by the additional savings – better than 40% of the steam consumption per unit of solvent. Rigorous Aspen Hysys® modelling (and independent client company modelling) confirmed predicted savings but also facilitated detailed assessment and design optimisation. On passing the cost/savings criteria, BW were awarded the subsequent design phases enabling the client to award construction contracts and also enable implementation of the additional automation carried out by the client.  BW provided technical assistance through construction and less so during commissioning due to the few issues encountered.

The Benefits.

By collaboration, achieve significantly better savings and smaller carbon footprint than was originally anticipated - all but halving the steam consumption

Greater confidence during the project phases that targets would be achieved

Improved recovered solvent quality and consistency with benefits to the main production process

Flexibility in engagement so the client can choose the best way to integrate resources for implementing the project