Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Contents
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Why this short book?............................................................................................3 Chapter One.........................................................................................................5 The literature survey............................................................................................5 Chapter Two.........................................................................................................9 Process and Raw Material Selection.....................................................................9 Chapter Three.....................................................................................................12 Material and Energy Balances............................................................................12 Chapter Four ......................................................................................................17 Equipment Sizing and Selection.........................................................................17 Chapter Five ......................................................................................................19 Detail Design of Equipment................................................................................19 Chapter Six.........................................................................................................21 Financial and Economic Analyses.......................................................................22 Chapter Seven....................................................................................................25 Site Selection and Plant Layout..........................................................................25 Chapter Eight .....................................................................................................26 Environmental Impact Analysis..........................................................................26 Chapter Nine .....................................................................................................27 Writing the References.......................................................................................27 Chapter Ten .......................................................................................................28 Presentation and Defense..................................................................................28 Appendices.........................................................................................................30
Writing and grammar..............................................................................................................30 Format of Project ....................................................................................................................31 2

Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
Writing the Abstract.................................................................................................................32 Work plan and habit................................................................................................................33 Planning Experiments..............................................................................................................34 Project ideas............................................................................................................................35 Searching the internet.............................................................................................................36

Similar ebooks and undergrad/Grad thesis Library at
https://sites.google.com/site/ethiograd123/ Ethiograd123 Services
• • • • • • • • • • •

SCHOLARSHIP resources Project / Thesis ideas Sample projects and formats Process flow sheets and description Hints on successful project writing Questions and Answers Free-E BOOKS Publications on energy Access to Publication sites Grad/Undergrad thesis library Some projects explained

400 Project/ Business ideas in Ethiopia

https://sites.google.com/site/projectethio/

Why this short book?

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project The main reason behind writing this short book is to share some vital insights I have developed over the four years as a final project advisor, evaluator and lecturer. It is not intended to repeat what you have been taught but to reflect on them. During the last three years I have advised at least three projects a year in total 9 projects not to mention 10 projects I have co-advised. Also I have evaluated at least nine projects for last three year. I have advised students from top five students to bottom five students.

Final year project grade plays a key role in someone’s professional life may be much more than the theme of the project itself. Plant design projects are unique in this way as they require sound understanding of major courses like mass and energy balance, mass transfer concepts, economic analysis etc. Excellent project grade shows very good understanding of the subject matter and even more her problem solving ability and research potential.

Over the years, unlike other departments, project grades of the chemical engineering department (BDU) have changed. They are not like 90-95% 'A'. I have seen them evolve to more like regular course grades. Therefore, projects needs much more understanding and smart effort. This short book gives proven ideas in each section of the project. Note that application of them leads to much more success.

Each chapter ends with useful books, software tools and web pages that can assist you in doing your projects. This avoids running around looking for data. Furthermore, various insights into each section of plant desing are presented. Putting the insights into action is the vital step. Enjoy reading the rest of the chapters which give you ideas from project ideas, writing the introduction to presentation and defence.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Chapter One The literature survey
The literature survey is best written if it is designed to contain the atleast the following information; history and background, problem statement, methodology and objectives. More contents are listed on the ´´format of a project`` section.

History and background: It reviews previous literature on related topics of the main research idea. Note that you should write only relevant information. Don´t fall in the trap of stating every trivial but non impotant texts just because you like them or want to increase your thesis volume.

For a plant design project, the best contents are short description or introduction, chemical formula, chemical and physical properties, application and uses, source of raw materials and the current and future demand and prices. (Market study)

Market study is the crucial part of the literature survey as it later determines the proper size of the plant and the selling price of the product. It contains present demand and supply, priccing and distribution and projected demand. The later could be made based on the past and current price trends if figures are availble. Also, it can be estimated from expected future scenarios (e.g economic growth, growth or reduction of a sector etc). If figures are available,
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project the average growth percent or the expected growth rate could be used. The estimate should be conservative. Always present a table showing the 3-5 years of annual production or import of the product.

Below is a list of recommendations where useful information for the literature survey can be found.

Useful references
1.

Central statistics agency, CSA publications, Money and economy biro library, Bahir-dar, hospital road.

2.

CSA website, http://www.csa.gov.et/Census.htm Or http://www.csa.gov.et/

3. 4.

Encyclopedias and Handbooks Ethiopian foregn trade statistics, Ethiopian customs authority,

Megenagna, close to the office of Bole Sub City, http://www.erca.gov.et/

Problem statement: This section develops the main motivation for the study explaining real life problems to be dealt with. It is also called the rationale. In stating the problem it is best to specifically describe what the project intends to solve. For example, the possible real life problems may be shortage or even absence of the product in the local market, or to reduce the foreign import or to introduce a new and innovative product. The problem statement should specifically mention these reasons.

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project The justifications of the project, reasons for studying the problem, should also be included in this section. For instance, the fact that Brewery industries in Amhara region mainly import malt while it was possible to produce the barely in highlands of the region could justify the malt production project.

This part is best written if specific numbers are mentioned. For instance, if reduction in foreign import is the main problem, the average import in 3-5 years and its implications should be mentioned. This will transform the problem statement part to evidence based argument than a mere general problem.

Objectives: This is the most crucial part of the project. It is the first seen by project evaluators hence leading to many critical questions. If the student came up with an the project idea, the best step is to have the preliminary objectives and discuss with the advisor to come up with the final clear objectives. In writing the objective part the best format is to divide them into general objective and specific objectives and write at least three objectives in each category.

The general objective is derived from the statement of the problem. It restates how this project solves the problems and the overall uses thereof. For instance, for plant design project, the general objectives could be to satisfy local demand, reduce foreign import and save foreign currency, introducing new product that has market potential, create jobs and contribute to economy etc. Please note that writing bulleted one line statements as objectives is the worest way to describe them. So always write an elaborated objectives to make it clear to even the project evaluator who has little knowledge about your objectives.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

The specific objective should state what specific tasks are planned in the study. For instance, the literature survey leads to identification of the state of the art in the production and review of current researches related to the topic. These results are one specific objective.

Another specific objective could be derived from the mass balance, energy balance and sizing chapters. This could be generalized as one specific objective i.e. to determine the exact size of the plant that can balance supply and demand or at least reduce the shortage. The market and demand study is another source of specific objectives. The outcome of this study is to determine the demand of the product and the selling price that affect the financial success of the plant. This could be generalized as one specific objective.

Financial and economic analysis gives a specific objective to determine the financial feasibility of the process plant. The outcome of the environmental impact analysis section is summarized as one specific objective. Methodology The methodolgy of a project is details the principles, procedures or rules to

be used. Plant design procedures are usually clear. It starts with literature survey, market survey, design calculations, may include laboratory experiments and ends with financial analysis and environmental impact analysis. These processes should be elaborated in the project methodology section.

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Useful references

1.

Shafiur Rahman, 1995, Food properties handbook,1st ed, CRC press, Important for properties of food and related items.

2. 3. 4.

Inroductory texts at FAO library http://www4.fao.org/faobib/ Cheresources, Chemical engineerind resources , www.cheresources.com Perry et al, chemical engineers handbook, 8th ed, McGraw Hill, also available online

5. 6.

400 project ideas discussion , https://sites.google.com/site/projectethio/ Publication sites, get acess to them at , http://sites.google.com/site/ethiograd123/

Chapter Two Process and Raw Material Selection

The state of the art and status of the research in the project idea is studied in the literature survey. Competitive and possible production routes and raw materials are discussed in this chapter. This section is written best when a

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project well supported and balanced argument is presented in the selection of process alternatives and raw materials.

The common mistake is to present more advantages for the process to be and discuss more disadvantages of the other competitive ways. Most students reject alternative process entirely based on one or few reasons. The best way to compare alternative processes is to rate them on comparative criteria. The main point to remember is that it is your ability to make reseonalble arguments (as an engineer) that is being evaluated. It is not expected that you might make wrong choices.

In some cases process selection could be obvious. The state of the art is the only process available. In these cases, the alternative processes should be mentioned to comply with the plant design procedure. process evolved to it. These processes are predecessors of the current process and it is your jos to discrbibe how the

Raw material selection is done once the process is known in process selection. Some processes have many alternative raw materials. Ethanol production and biodiesel are typical examples. From process point of view, trans-esterification and estirification are possible pathways with the previous one being the most common. If raw material sources are considered, numerous options could be sited. For ethanol it could be cereals like corn or cheap alternatives like molases. In this case you can compare the price per liter of the ethanol from the alternatives, potentital of raw material and price, process technology and related utilities can be used to select the appropriate raw material. Therefore, each alternative should be scrutinized to come up with convincing argument.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

It is true that the selected process requires specific raw materials making it unnecessary or challenging to try another. This step is only desired when it is possible to substitute one raw material by another less cheap, more environmentally safe or available locally. But the basic requirement is that it should give comparable process performance without substantial increase in process steps or costs. Common example is the methanol versus ethanol as a catalyst for bio diesel. It would seem feasible to select ethanol because currently methanol is not widely availble. But this should be weighted with the cost of additional azeotropic distillation coloumn .

Finding flow sheets is challenging in most cases. The reference one below is the most common source of flow sheet for common processes. Mostly it is not easy to find flowseets. Students should, however, understand that once the process description is understood, flow sheets could be developed from it.

The best way to prepare flow sheet is using CHEMCAD since actual unit diagrams are used than simple boxes (prefered in the introduction section for briefe discription). Another disadvantage with boxes is that they don’t show auxiliary units leading to over simplifications. If you are determiined to make a project sucessful, learning how to draw in CHEMCAD takes not more than a day. See reference 11 on flow sheet preparation and discription. Useful references
1. 2.

Shrives,1995, chemical process industries, McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of science and technology, 10th ed McGraw Hill
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
3.

Free resources at national academy of science, www.nasonline.org/ and issues http://www.issues.org/

4.

Design thesis, collection of plant desing projects, http://www.sbioinformatics.com/design_thesis/design-2520thesis.htm

5.

Cheresources plant design library http://www.cheresources.com/process_design.shtml

6.

Publication sites, get acess to them at , http://sites.google.com/site/ethiograd123/

7. 8. 9. 10.

Free publications of chresources, http://cheresources.tradepub.com/ CHEMCAD, www.chemstations.com
Or

http://www.chemstations.com/Downloads/

Guides on process and raw material selection, Klaus D. Timmerhaus Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, Mcgraw Hill

11.

Stanely Waalas, Chemical process equipment selection and design, 2nd ed, Elsevier

Chapter Three Material and Energy Balances

The market demand study and raw material availability studies give us the proper size of the manufacturing plant. The size of the plant should balance the

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project raw material availability and the market demand. Based on this, the material and energy balances are done.

Using the information form demand study determine the capacity of the plant interms of total annual production or total raw material requirement. This leads to the following ways of making balances.

There are two approaches for performing material and energy balances; upstream and downstream ways as known informally. In the upstream the balance is started from the last unit in the process. Final product amount, quality, yield and equipement efficiency are mainly used to do the balance. In the downstream way, the initial raw material amount is determined to arrive at desired production capacity. This could be possible if the overall yield of the process in tons of product per tons of raw materials is known.

While writing material balance, the best format is to first present the overall or general material balance and second the component balance. Show clearly the total flow rate and composition of the known streams and represent the unkown stream with appropriate labels. At the end of each section prepare summary tables with columns input, output and remark. In the remark write balanced, or state the accumulated, generated or lost amount.

The common mistake students make is failing to mention the assumptions in the calculation and yet worse not to show how the assumptions are justified. Therefore always mention the assumptions at the beginning of the material and energy balance chapters with good justifications or references.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project Balances for units with no change in mass like storage tanks are not done and it is acceptable. Electrical energy required for running units are not usually included in the balances. This is partly because their rating in only known in the sizing and at the end it is included in calculation of utility costs as fraction of total costs.

Choose the reference temperature to be the ambient conditions for energy balances. Always study the detail process steps before calculating the total energy requirement. Spray driers, kilns, coolers and combustion devices are included in this catagory and are always challenging. The common mistake is considering only sensible heat changes. The above units combine sensible, latent heat and superheating. Besides the processes are of simultaneous mass and heat transfer.

If you are dealing with mixtures in energy balance stream the overall physical properites like density, specific heat capacity and so on may be not found in tables. In this case they should be calculated based on the methods discussed in coluson and Richardson, chemical engineering, Vol 6.

Balances of size reduction machines Crushers, grinders and milling machines need mass balances in principle. Ususally the dust loss and the recycled coarse fraction are ignored. This is not accurate and the best way to do this balance is to consider the grinder alone then balances for dust recovery cyclones (high efficiency or high throughput). If the control volume include the dust recovery system, it is possible to neglect the dust loss lost but still there is some loss. Wet grinding aviods the need for

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project dust recovery systems. Since water is added during the crushing process the material balance should include this amount.

Energy balance for this units determines the energy required for crushing( Bond ´s Law). But this is not relevant from energy balance point of view and is needed if it is designed in detail. This is because the energy required is usually calculated indirectly as utility cost. For more details see references 1 and 3.

Balances on filters The filteration objective, whether the cake or the liquid is the final product, determines the type of filteration to be used and operating pressure. Overall balance on filtes requires the calculation of the accululated cake amount. This calculation inturn requires prehand determination of the filter area, cake properties and operating pressures. Further complexity arises when the rate of filterate flow should be detemined for subsequent balances. This means the filter design and operation should be known prehand.

The best way to approach this problem is first to seek for general guides on operations of filteration units. See reference 11, which contains design guides such as cake properties of some common materails and performance data of filters. availble.

Balances on spray diers In spray diers hot air at given humidity and temerpature absorbs mosture from wet substabce and at the same time the heat is transfered. Hence both mass balance and energy balance equations should be used. The heat transfered
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project raised the temperature of the dry air and the moisture. One typical problem is the final humidity of the exit air. It should be assumed to calculate the outlet air mass flow and solve the energy balance equations. Therefore some iteration is required to arrive at final values. For more details see refernce 7.

Balances on kilns Cement kilns balances are complex. The feed materials contain surface water and inherent water. The surface water undergoes sensible heat change and latent heat change at lower temperature. The inherent water in clay for instance, is evaporated in the kiln zone where temperature around 600C. Sensible heat change of every feed material shoud be considered. Besides separate balances of the primary and secondary kiln air should be done. Reaction energy of clinker formation reactions should be calculated. This calculation requires the knowledge of heat of formation of the kiln reactions at standard temperature and then at the kiln temperature. considerable kiln gasses released as loss. There is alos

Useful references
1.

Nicolas et al,2003, Hand book of chemical engineering calculations, McGraw Hill

2.

Reynolds et al, 2002, Handbook of chemical and environmental engineering calculations,

3. 4. 5.

Mc Cabe, Unit operation of chemical engineering, 3rd ed, Mc Graw Hill Fundamentals of chemical engineering text book Seader et al, 2nd ed, Separation process principles, Willey
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
6.

Chrome balance in leather processing http://www.4shared.com/document/2CzAlvHr/Chrome_balance_in_Leather _Proc.htm

7.

Spray drier balances, G V Barbosa et al, 1997, Food engineering lab manual,

8.

Mass balances in leather processing http://preresi.ineti.pt/documentacao/guias/doc_tec/Curtumes/UNIDO/Mass Balance inLeatherProcessing.pdf

9.

Online steam tables and unit converters www.cheresources.com Online steam tables calculator, http://www.dofmaster.com/steam.html

Chapter Four Equipment Sizing and Selection

Once accurate results of the material and energy flow are determined, sizing determines the volume of storage tanks. The common mistake I have seen over the years is to size reactors and distillation columns as a storage
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project tank. For these units the mass and heat transfer inside leads to different mass and energy balance and hence size.

Input flow rate and residence time are used to calculate the volumes of units involving no reaction or accumulation. For reactors, the appropriate rate equation should be used to determine the volume of the reactor. Common mistake is usually to assume first order kinetics. Reaction engineering laboratory equipment such as batch reactors should be used to determine the order of the reaction.

The equipment sizes should not be unusually large. This is partly because of the selected capacity for design. In this case using two or more identical units avoids the need for one very large volume. Length to width ratios are used to determine the dimensions once the volume is known. Refernce 1 below is a good guide for sizing units as it gives standard dimensions and proper rules. The common mistakes is sizing is to simply calculate the size without ‘feeling’ the numbers, for instance, a CSTR with 15m diameter.

Selection is done to determine the type of equipment to be used, for example, reactor types or heat exchanger types. Unless a new process is developed, there is not much need for rigorous equipment selection with a scope of plant design projects. In real cases, the different manufacturers with different specialty for one unit may exist. Only in this case thorough analysis of competitive suppliers should be done.

Design of Mixers
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project It requires the parameters like specific gravity , solid content and settling velocity (Stoke´s law) and the nature of mixing (uniform of off bottom). The blend tim, superficial velocity, power requirement should be determined besides the detail geometery and orientation of the tank, baffles and impeller. See reference 1 for complete discussion.

Useful references
1.

Stanley M Walas, 1990, chemical process equipment selection and design, 3rd ed

2. 3.

J M Coulsen and Richardson, chemical engineering vol 6, 6th ed Chemical engineering resources, design software library http://www.cheresources.com/invision/files/

4.

Comprehensive guide on spray diers design, http://www.spraydrysys.com/spray-dryers/spray-dryers.htm

5.

Kern, process heat transfer, chapters 10 onwards, furnace and kiln design

Chapter Five Detail Design of Equipment

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project This chapter is always included in plant design projects to test the students' capability in detail design of equipment. Sizing provides only simple details like size, length, width or volume. This section selects one major unit and deals in detail about it starting from thermodynamics to theoretical explanation on opertaion, proper dimensions and to selecting the material of construction.

Distillation columns designs for instance included detail mass and heat transfer equations, determining the parameters like number of trays, column dimensions, tray spacing and so on. But this is not the whole story, also included mechanical design (pressure vessel desing) of the distillation column besides checking for entrainement and weeping. Please donot forget the heat exchanger design of the condenser.

The heat loss assumption is one of the most challenging and controversial. Normally, energy balances are made assuming no heat loss. Even the assumption of 10 percent loss of the input energy can lead to misleading figures based the energy amount considered. Assuming there is loss of energy is more accurate that the no loss assumption and should be used if proper guides on the loss available. Always use justified or referenced assumptions on detail design.

If you do detail design very well, I assure you that you have multiple best outcomes. First, you get most of the mark by the advisor. Second, you get high marks by the document evaluator in the content criteria. Third, you will get high marks while presenting and defending it. Fourth, you will have unforgettable knowledge. Invest quite a good time in this part it pays off high.

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project The best way to end this chapter is to summarize the results in scaled drawing showing every detail dimension and key results. Challenging designs include boiler design, filtration unit design, kiln design, furnace design, and cooler design and spray dryer design. The following materials are highly useful.

Useful references
1. 2.

Stanley Walaas, chemical equipment sizing and design Process equipement design handbook, http://www.4shared.com/document/ObRSRAHN/Process_Equipment_Desig n_Handb.htm

3. 4. 5.

Coulsen and Richardson, chemical engineering vol 1, 2 and 6 Kern, process heat transfer, chapters 10 onwards, furnace and kiln design Detail design of sulfuric acid absorber desing, http://www.sbioinformatics.com/design_thesis/Sulphuric_acid/Sulfuric2520Acid_Design-2520of-2520Equipments.pdf

6.

Distillation column design, www.sbioinformatics.com/design_thesis/Ethylene_Glycol/Ethyleneglycol_D esign-2520of-2520Equipments.pdf

7.

Ammonia absorber design, www.sbioinformatics.com/design_thesis/Soda_ash/Soda-2520ash_Design2520of-2520Equipments.pdf

Chapter Six
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Financial and Economic Analyses
Using the specifications obtained in the sizing and detail design chapters, approximate costs of equipments are obtained. Using the results from the material and energy balance sections, annual raw material and utility cost could be determined. The most common mistake students make in this chapter is to use the fraction of capital investment cost as raw material cost and process and utility cost. The purpose of material and energy balances is to determine the annual raw material and utility cost directly.

Steam cost is the less known though it is used largely in the industry. It is the price of energy used to generate steam per ton of steam produced. It is dependent on the efficiency of the equipment. Comparable prices could be obtained from similar plants and equipments. It is essential tool in calculating the utility cost.

The selling price is always the controversial part in most cases. It is usually made higher if the plant is found unprofitable and this happens at the last hour. This problem arises from many sources; larger plant capacity, errors in balances leading to oversized and costly units or errors in sizing. Always try to know the selling price before hand to help you determine the plant capacity. If the selling price is cheap, going for larger size improves the feasibility.

Payback time, ROR, IRO and NPV/W are main methods used in financial analysis. A common mistake is failing not to use NPV/W. The main point one should remember is NPV/W is the best method for evaluation of projects and it
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project should be large and positive. In payback analysis it is assumed that the plant will give revenue similar to first year revenue through 20yrs life time making it obviously a poor method.

The useful life of plants is usually taken as 20-25yrs. This is the financial life time not the actual life time. It is to mean the cash flow after 20-25yrs discounted to present time is worth insignificant. Actually plants last longer than 25 years. Depreciation is usually calculated using straight line method which is a handy method.

The average values of fractions should be used to calculate various costs. For instance, the raw material cost may be 10-20% of the total capital investment. In this case, the average 15% should be used. Do not fall in to assuming that since fewer raw materials are used, 10% should be used.

The other most common mistake is to use costs directly from the internet. This is wrong for many reasons. Firstly, the price stated may be out dated, second hand price or wrong totally. Usually truseted suppliers don´t provide costs directly on the web page. You have to ask for quotations. Refence 1 is unque in such a way that it is mainky designed for equipement costs. You can opt for various dimensions of the equipement to get the cost and they are very recent costs. Reference 4 is also a good resource but values available for most equipements are old and Marshall and Swift cost index must be used to get current costs. What is the plant is not profitable? There many questions after this. Is the plant known to be non profitable? If yes, you are more justified. If no you have done the following mistakes and here are some tips. Is the selling price so cheap? If
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project yes try alternative justified prices since you have to change only small pages of the paper. Or show the minimum price required for profitability. Have you made silly mistakes in cost estimation? Check back and change only few pages of the project. Have you made mistakes in material and energy balance?( Which affects the sizing, costing and profitability) This type of problem is hard to solve. Sometimes, provisions are made so that you will submit the corrected version after the presentation date. Hence discuss with the advisor. Have you designed a small scale capacity plant ? If yes then you have to confess this in the paper and state how going for large scale improves profitabilty.

Useful references
1. 2.

www.matche.com , Updated equipement prices Complete financial analysis in excel, at, http://sites.google.com/site/ethiograd123/moges

3.

Guides economic anamysis , Klaus D. Timmerhaus Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, Mcgraw Hill

4.

Equipement costs and cost index, D E Garette, 1989, Chemical engineering economics, Springer

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Chapter Seven Site Selection and Plant Layout

Site selection determines the location where the plant could operate profitably. Almost 85% of the projects studied so far located their plant around Addis Ababa in my estimations. It may be right, but the common mistake is choosing Addis Ababa without showing at least another competitive town.

The best arguments in sitel selection are done using the data of site´s raw material potential along with near ness to the potential market. Remember it may be obvious to located the plant arround Addis Ababa. BUT you have to show how justified the are criterea such as availabilty of labor, infrastructure, the demand and supply market (in numbers) even for the selected location.

Plant layouts show the top view of the equipement positioning, offices and other accessories in the industry. This is the test of you industry experience, if you haven´t any i advise you to use help. The best way to do this section is also to prepare physical model out of paper. I challange you to do this if you would like to have nice very good presentation and much better marks.

[1] Guides site selection, Klaus D. Timmerhaus Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, Mcgraw Hill
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Chapter Eight Environmental Impact Analysis
Environmental performance of the process is discussed in this section to prove that the process is safe environmentally. Some advisors disagree on the naming. This is true environmental impact analysis is a wide subject by itself. It is better renamed as environmental effects for the purpose of plant design projects. Always express the detail environmental impacts of the product, raw materials and waste streams both liquid and gaseous.

Make sure all the hazardous wastes are treated or recyled and even those released has negligible impact. Use environmental protection agency (EPA) regulations and rules as a standard for the evaluation of your project. EPA USA [1], hosts such information and the best way to end your project is to use it well. [1] http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/topics/

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

Chapter Nine Writing the References
References state the sources of information implying credibility. Looking at the back of most of the final year projects, one could notice that references are poorly mentioned. In a text of about 120 pages, the reference is not more than a page. Another common mistake in referencing is not mentioning the sources inside the main text. From my experience, this is done deliberately to hide plagiarism. Well turn on the light, we can see you. You should always have time to read and reread the text and write it in your own words. It has double advantages; avoiding the plagiarism and that the knowledge is yours. The best ways to write your project is to mention the references inside the main text is one of the two ways; giving references a number like, the yield of the process is 40%[1] and at the end write [1] name of the reference in the proper format. The other way goes like this; the yield of the process is 40 %. (Name, year) This is the format in writing the references; Authors, year, Title, publisher, city. Always use the proper format for references. Mention the references in appropriate places in the text. These are 100% the advice you need in writing the references.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project Useful references
1. 2.

Online bibliography maker, www.easybib.com Very good guide on how to write references, http://www.aresearchguide.com/12biblio.html

Chapter Ten Presentation and Defense
Chemical engineering department has a good name in having two presentations until the completion. This gives a chance to shape the projects to much better outcome. Being aware of this fact is vital for the students as 10-15% of its mark is decided on the progress presentation. The best advice is the project should be done by reading very well so that you have understood it. Don’t copy paste related texts from everywhere. If this is not the case, you can defend your project. This is 90% of the advice you need to score well in oral presentation. But it is not all. One trick I have seen it work magic for me is to present to yourself at least once after you have prepared the power point. There are some helpful tools online you can download for free. The first is “my screen recorder”. With a head phone and microphone, the software can make a video of your presentation with a voice. You can replay this and listen to it so that correct you mistakes. The other magic trick is to deliberately write sentences to say at the presentation and study them by heart. This is nice because it can dramatically improve you score on the confident speaking and grammar. Because of poor general English speaking ability, students find it
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project hard to speak well constructed and grammatically correct sentences.

Deliberate writing of key sentences improves the grammar and presentation. Important notice here is that do not write all you will say, that will make it clear during the presentation that you are merely reading. One silly mistake students make in power point presentation is to copy paste texts from project to the power point. This will one make them loose mark in slide preparation, two, force them read it adding to lose of mark in presentation skills. The key is to put key words that will remind you what to say. Remember this is very useful if coupled with the idea of presenting for yourself before defense since you become very familiar with the key words. Using key words in power point is useful for the literature survey, process description, and environmental impact analysis. For presenting material and energy balances, here are few ideas. Usually you can prepare series of boxes representing each unit and show balances there with summary of calculations steps and results for each. This has advantages and disadvantages. The clear presentation in this way gives you more marks but exposing some of the errors you have made hence stealing you marks. Sometimes the latter makes you lose more marks. Optionally also, summary of key material and energy balance results could be put on the process flow sheet and the process description can be made with numbers from balance results. This makes it less necessary to put so many boxes in the power point and focus the presentation to very important parts like detail design. Another alternative is to show detail balance for selected major processes like reaction or separation units and show summary of other in table. This can earn you points by making the presentation focused and hence interesting. One important advice is to prepare well and discuss the detail design part. This really earns you more points as it makes the presentation very lively.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project But remember prepare well not to make yourself vulnerable for many questions. You must be sure that you have done the detail design well. Defense is answering questions raised by the judge and guests. The project evaluator raises the most critical questions. Try your best to answer this question. This doesn’t mean argue with him. Mostly he/she has identified a weakness you haven’t seen. If this is obvious, accept it. Don’t argue one sided. Acknowledge the comment first and present your view. Arguing is preferred if only you are so sure that you can answer it. Otherwise it is running against the persons’ ego which will be defended at whatever cost. The best step whether you know the answer or not is to first acknowledge the comment before defending it. You have already lost if you begin by saying no!

Appendices
Writing and grammar
Final projects must be well organized and written with very good grammar. Almost every student struggles with grammar and composition. It is always easy to identify when paragraphs are copy paste because uneven writing and grammar skill throughout. The best solution is first to edit before the advisor reads it. Secondly, use several online grammar editors and software tools. It is not up to the advisor to correct grammars for you. These are tools you can use;
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
1.

Whitesmoke: www.shitesmoke.com this is one my favorite software. It gives suggestions on grammar, spelling, style, vocabulary suggestions and enrichment. You can download for 9 days trials hence use it to edit the final text. It requires internet connection to do the tasks. It integrates with word putting the corrections in the main text. No need for you to copy the text or corrections. Just press F2 inside any text and press apply and then the software copies the corrections in the main text.

2.

Style writer: www.stylewriter-usa.com this software is more focused on style of your writing. It is very powerful tool. You can use this software for 10 runs only. Hence, you can run this software more than enough for your progress and final report since the runs are counted when you close the software. You need to copy paste the main text and the corrections.

3.

Grammar

expert:

www.wintertree-software.com/app/gramxp/index.html

this is also good software with 30 days trial. But it can work even after 30 days, only you have to wait 10sec between each run. You need to copy paste the text and the corrections.
4.

Online grammar checker. www.spellchecker.net/grammar/ copy paste the main text and click on check to use this online tool. It is handy if you use it daily checking small texts.

Format of Project
Plant design projects have the following format. Chapter one: Literature survey

History and backgrounds
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project

● ●

Short process description Demand study
1. 2.

Current and future prices Prices and distributions

● ●

Objectives Methodology

Chapter two: Processes and raw material selection Detailed process description Chapter three: Material and energy balance Chapter four: Detail design of equipment Chapter five: Financial analysis Chapter six: Environmental analysis Chapter seven: Site selection and plant layout References

Writing the Abstract
The abstract summarizes what has been done in the study. The format of the thesis is IMRAD. The letter ‘I’ stand for introduction, M is for materials and
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project methods and RAD is for results and discussion. Therefore, writing the abstract should follow this format. The first part should summarize the introduction and then the method is expressed. The result summarizes key results of the study. The discussion part tells the interpretations of the result. More on http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/abstracts.html

Work plan and habit
For successful completion of plant design project four months effort is required. The real question is not time management, it is energy management. It is choosing what to focus on. Time plan depends on the nature of the project. The usual plan is to give one month for literature survey, process and raw material selection and process description. Give two and half months for material and energy balance and sizing and detail design. The rest 15days is used for financial analysis. This is a tight schedule because it is interrupted by exams and time is lost in waiting for advisor comments or making the corrections. No time is available to correct mistakes and rework the financial analysis making students fall in to the trap of manipulating the financial part. The best schedule in my view is to give a maximum of two weeks for everything before the balances. While waiting for comments, start reading and
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project collecting data for balances. Give one month for the balances and have comments from advisor. While waiting for comments read a lot about the detail design. Once you make the correction give about a month for detail design including comments. Give only two weeks in the extreme case for financial analysis and have time for grammar editing at the rest of the time. If experiments are planned, always the best projects do, plan the night time for it. You have to work in balances and experiments at the same time. The work habit in plant design projects that leads to best result is work every day. Here is one trick for avoiding procrastination. Work only for ten minutes on the important task every day. You will find it impossible to stop after the end of ten minutes. Don’t count on the internet as best source of data. It is intended for advertising most of the time not as a genuine source of data. Realizing this saves you a lot of time otherwise wasted for nothing. At least ask for advice on the search and specific websites before Googling directly.

Planning Experiments
It is always best if projects include demonstration experiment. You can give the night time for making experiments. But make sure that accuracy will not be harmed. Here are some advices for making plans.
1.

Give enough time for collection relevant chemical and equipments to be used. Without these don’t start it.

2.

Know the procedures well first at least by making trial experiment to know sources of error.
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
3.

Consult with your advisor so that he is aware of the procedures and invite him to see crucial step results, not the final result. This contributes a lot to openness of your work and the trust of the advisor.

4.

Consult other lecturers you know has research experiences for valuable insights on setup and execution of experiments.

Project ideas
Using internship experiences to come up with a project idea is the best way. The next best step is to contact local institutes like Amhara investment office, Tiret, GTZ and Minstry of mines and energy in Bahirdar or similar offices where ever near and Ethiopian science and technology commission for patents. The unique advantage of doing such a search is usually you will find real life problems whose accomplishment presents very good opportunities. The other ways is to use the publication and professional websites in related fields. The following sites are useful.
1.

Ethiograd123, http://sites.google.com/site/ethiograd123/ project ideas in chemical and energy engineering. Graduate and undergraduate project library and access to publications (most of them accessed on Bahir-dar University server )

2.

Project ethio, https://sites.google.com/site/projectethio/ collection 400 project ideas in every major sector in Ethiopia.

3.

This site is my favorite. www.cheresources.com is the best site in my view in the fields of chemical engineering.

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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project
4.

Chemical

engineering

societies

have

numerous

discussion

topics,

newsletters and journals you can follow to get ideas. For instance, Ethiopian society of chemical engineers, ESCHE, www.esche.org.et/ American institute of chemical engineers, www.aiche.org/
5.

Visit websites of excellent universities in the related field and see their research activities. Usually, their research is top level, but reading I could spark ideas.

6.

The following sites, free patents online, www.freepatentsonline.com national academy of science, www.nasonline.org/ has interesting reports and reviews. are useful. The later

Follow publications and take time to read and understand them to come up with a project idea. Knowing the hot topic at the time through reading a lot leads you to best project title. Also discuss with instructors to get suggestions which can be developed to projects or share your ideas.

Searching the internet

One of the major difficulties searching the internt for infomation about projects. The initial assumption that there is everything on the internet is wrong. There is not everything about your projects on the internet. However; this doesnt mean to underestimate the power of the internet. It can help you a lot if you know how to search it. Here is short guide for internet searching, 1. Use nouns as query keywords. Never use articles ("a," "the"), pronouns ("he," "it"), conjunctions ("and," "or") or prepositions ("to," "from") in your queries
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Reflections on how to excel in doing a chemical plant design project 2. Use 6 to 8 keywords per query 3. Where possible, combine keywords into phrases by using quotation marks, as in "solar system" 4. Spell carefully, and consider alternate spellings 5. Avoid redundant terms 6. Insert a plus or minus sign: Put a plus sign (+) in front of a word that must be found in the search window. For example, city guides + New York will help you narrow the search for city guides for New York only.

More http://www.virtualsalt.com/howlook.htm

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