Facility for the Production of Tetrahydrofuran from N-Butane

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Facility for the Production of Tetrahydrofuran from n-butane Group 3: Pterodactyladiene Design Corporation
Project 0
January 23, 2012
Sean Dobbins| Lubei Guo| Rebecca Horn|

Table of Contents

Executive Summary1
Introduction and Background2
Contemporary Issues and Global Impact2
Professional Ethics and Obligations of Engineers2
Research Methods3
Discussion with Process Flow Diagram4
Process Description4
Block Flow Diagram6
Methods7
Assumptions7
Simulation Details7
Process Parameter Justifications9
Heat Integration10
Process Results15
Base Case PFD17
Base Case Stream Table18
Alternative Designs19
Optimization20
Alternative Case PFD21
Alternative Case Stream Table22
Conclusions23
Recommendations24
Safety and Environmental Summary26
Safety26
Environmental27
Equipment Information Summary28
Equipment Sizing28
Fired Heater28
Towers28
Vessels29
Reactors31
Heat Exchangers31
Pumps31
Materials of Construction32
Sizing Results33
Base Case Equipment Summary Table33
Alternative Case Equipment Summary Table35
Equipment Costing37
Economics38
Cost of Manufacture and Economic Analysis38
Economic Analysis Results40
Base Case40
Alternative Case42
Appendix A: Sizing Sample Calculations44
Fired Heater44
Example44
Towers45
Example 1: T-10145
Example 2: T-10245
Vessels46
Example 1: V-10146
Example 2: V-10646
Reactors47
Example 1: R-10147
Example 2: R-10248
Heat Exchangers49
Example: E-10149
Appendix B: Aspen Input Summary50
References56

Executive Summary

To produce your desired product of tetrahydrofuran (“THF”) from n-butane at a flow rate of 3,500 pounds per hour, we determined that the most efficient method involved the reaction of n-butane with oxygen to form maleic anhydride (“MAN”), followed by the reaction of MAN with hydrogen gas to form THF. The oxidation reaction would take place in the presence of a vanadium phosphorus oxide (“VPO”) catalyst and the hydrogenation reaction would utilize a 60% copper oxide and 40% aluminum oxide catalyst. Using 7,600 lb/h of n-butane, 76,850 lb/h of air, and 780 lb/h of hydrogen gas, we were able to simulate a THF production flow rate of 3,501 lb/h. Dibutyl phthalate (“DBP”) was required to purify the MAN after the oxidation reaction in order to obtain satisfactory THF yields during the hydrogenation reaction. Due to the presence of a THF-water azeotrope following the second reaction, pressure-swing distillation was utilized to purify the tetrahydrofuran product. The final product contained a THF purity of 99.9 mole%. At this stage of the design process, we have completed a block flow diagram (“BFD”; Figure 1) process flow diagram (“PFD”; Figure 6) and a full economic analysis. The PFD includes a corresponding stream table (Table 7) and an equipment summary table (Table 11). For the economic analysis, we took into account the cost of land, labor, raw materials, utilities, waste treatment, equipment capital costs, working capital, and the estimated sale price of the THF product. Based on our estimates, yearly revenue of $54,933,000 is to be expected. The cost of manufacture excluding depreciation (“COMd”) is estimated to be $121,640,000 per year. The despairingly large cost of manufacture is likely due to the difficulty in determining accurate raw materials costs. Due to the fact the cost of manufacture is larger than the yearly revenue, Claire and Charlie’s Chemicals (“CCC”) will lose money each year. In fact, the net present value after ten years of operation was calculated to be -$302,315,000. We remain confident, however, that given more accurate prices and additional design time, CCC’s new THF production facility will yield a generous profit.

Introduction and Background

Contemporary Issues and Global Impact
Throughout the course of time, the engineering problems facing society have continued to...
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