An investigation of the European market for Ethyl Acetate has identified an opportunity to build a new plant of capacity around 200000 tonnes per year (200 ktpa). You are required to undertake an initial assessment of the feasibility of such a project, taking into account its potential safety, environmental and economic performance. At this stage there are no constraints on feedstocks, process route or country of location – you are expected to research these, include them in your analysis and indicate your preferred option.
It is the company’s policy that its operations should not result in any harm to people or the environment. The design must ensure that the health, safety and environmental (HSE) risks are as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) and meet all current and reasonably foreseeable safety and environmental legislation
The process should be efficient in raw materials and energy usage, including the recovery of any byproducts for sale.
The process control scheme should ensure that the plant operates normally under full automatic control, and provide sufficient information for its performance to be monitored and optimised.
1.1. Plant Onstream Availability
The plant should be designed on the basis of 8000 hours per year operation. Major items of equipment which would be difficult or expensive to replace (distillation columns, large vessels, tanks etc.) should have a 20% capacity overdesign to allow for future debottlenecking.
1.2. Product specification
Acidity as Acetic acid
2. Study Considerations
All economic information shall be stated in Pounds Sterling (UK£) on a June 2017 basis. The target internal rate of return on investment (IRR) is ≥ 20%, based on an expected life of 20 years.
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At this stage only the preferred country in which the plant should be built needs to be identified. It is the company’s preference to expand existing manufacturing sites (brownfields) rather than create new ones (green fields), so it may be assumed that the location will be an established site with a reasonable infrastructure (plot area, road/rail/sea logistics etc.). The availability of suitable utilities cannot be assumed at this stage, so an allowance for these must be made in the capital cost estimate.
Note: the complications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should be ignored for the purposes of this study and “Europe” should be considered in its geographical context.
All information and documentation must use the standard metric system of units, with the exception of pressure which should be stated in bars (absolute or gauge).