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Now showing 1 - 10 of 321
  • Publication
    Oxy Fuel for Clean Energy Generation
    (2018-04-20) Hally, Patrick J; Muqeem, Najib M; Richter, Colin B; Schanstra, Timothy R
    This process explores several concentrations of oxygen-enriched air streams (oxy fuel) in combination with natural gas to generate steam for a steam turbine power plant with 30 MW capacity. The proposed location for this plant is the gulf coast of the United States. The oxy fuel concentrations tested were 36 mol. %, 53 mol. %, and 95 mol. %. Nitrogen removed from air would be sold as well as the 30 MW of electricity. The three oxygen purities were not profitable for the most realistic prices of electricity, nitrogen, and natural gas. However, the scenarios were all profitable with prices of nitrogen above $0.015/lb. Additionally, the profitability could be improved with higher electricity prices or better thermal efficiency. A key takeaway is that the level of oxygen purity did not have a major effect on profitability for a given nitrogen price.
  • Publication
    Retrofit of Corn Ethanol Plant to Produce Biobutanol through Fermentation
    (2016-04-01) Dias-Lalcaca, Alexandra H; Shaulson, Ariel M; Wollman, Joanna P
    The depletion of natural gas resources coupled with the improved technologies for biofuel production present a favorable scenario for entry into the biobutanol market. This process aims to produce butanol at a competitive price to oil and natural gas produced from petrochemical processes. As such, the proposed design takes an existing 40MM gpy corn ethanol plant and retrofits the plant to produce butanol via continuous fermentation of corn using a genetically engineered strain of Clostridia. The proposed design consumes 14.5 million bushels of corn per year and produces acetone, butanol and ethanol at a mass ratio of 12:58:1, respectively. The corn is undergoes traditional wet mill processing upstream, and is then fed as a slurry to the fermenters. The liquid fermentation products pass through liquid-liquid extraction followed by distillation to recover the butanol and acetone. The solids pass through a DDGS separation section and the vapor phase leaving the fermenters is combusted. This process intends to produce butanol, acetone, and DDGS for sale in the market. The plant has the capacity to operate 330 days per year and to produce 21.7MM gpy of butanol at 99.5% purity, 2.8MM gpy of acetone at 93.2% purity and 182,509 metric tons of DDGS per year. The plant is located in the Midwest United States in the Corn Belt. It has a return on investment of 12.07%.
  • Publication
    Renewable Ammonia
    (2020-04-21) Finsnes, Kolbein A; Kwon, James P; Wallach, Dakota M
    Ammonia is one of the most widely used chemicals that is commercially produced today given the wide need for fertilizer to sustain the world’s ever-growing populations. Given the high world demand for ammonia, which increases every day, one can see how beneficial to the environment that a zero emission large-scale ammonia plant would be. Through the use of energy from Norwegian wind farms, which produce an excess of energy during off-peak hours, our plant design seeks to turn this wasted energy into useful ammonia products at a production rate of 67.2 kmol/hr. The design of this ammonia synthesis plant can be split conceptually into two distinct halves. The first is the refinement of the hydrogen and nitrogen that are required for the Haber-Bosch synthesis from the raw inputs of air and water. This is done through the usage of solid oxide electrolytic cells which electrolyze the water into constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms and separate the oxygen out of the air. The second half of the plant design is a typical Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis that many plants today are utilizing. This section consists mainly of a reaction vessel at the correct operating conditions for the ammonia synthesis reaction to occur, and a series of separators that recoup the liquid ammonia product at the right conditions for storage while recycling the gaseous hydrogen and nitrogen reactants. While this plant design provides a layout to accomplish the task of producing ammonia in an environmentally friendly way, it is less friendly to the wallet of the plant owner. Selling the ammonia product at current market rates of $853/ton, it would take roughly 15 years for the plant to overcome the capital investment of the venture and become a monetarily net positive design. Current utility prices are projected to cost the plant over $1.7 million dollars per year, which is another significant consideration why it takes such a large amount of time for the plant to become profitable. It is our hope that ongoing refinement of solid oxide electrolytic units will enable their purchase at cheaper rates, and that as the environment worsens, a higher premium will be placed on chemical products that have been sourced renewably, both factors that could easily make this plant design a more viable option in the future than it currently is today.
  • Publication
    Production of Propylene Oxide from Propylene Using Patented Silver Based Catalyst
    (2016-04-01) Schultz, Eric W; Schwartz, Mitchell B; Yu, Kyle M
    Propylene oxide (PO) is an important intermediate in the manufacture of propylene glycol (PG), polyether polyols and many other products. Conventional production of propylene oxide has many drawbacks. The most common method, the chlorohydrin process produces chlorinated by products which must be disposed of. Other processes produce a co-product, like styrene, which adversely affects production economics. A team of scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi has recently applied for a patent for a catalyst that oxidizes propylene to PO in high yield. The primary motivation behind this project was the production of PO without the unwanted side products of traditional methods by using the direct oxidation in CSIR’s patent. Our proposed plant design produces 200 million lb/year of propylene oxide from propylene and will be located on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Our plant is divided into four sections, namely feed material pretreatment, direct oxidation reaction, initial separation, and final distillation. The byproducts include CO2, Acetal, Acrylic Acid, and Acrolein. CO2 is separated through adsorption-desorption cycle with monoethanolamine (MEA), other byproducts are separated by distillation, and PO product is 99.9822% pure by mass. The cost of purchase of propylene is $1,100/tonne and the selling cost of PO is $2500/tonne. The process has an estimated IRR of 81.91% and an NPV of $262,808,900.This report provides a detailed design and economic analysis for PO production in the Gulf Coast. Process flow sheets, energy and utility requirements and reactor design have been considered during our analysis below. The total cost of equipment is $35,715,726. Except for the most extreme variations of the price of PO, variable costs, fixed costs, and total permanent investment, the IRR remains strongly positive indicating the high chance of this project’s success even if factors outside of the group’s control negatively affect its economics. Due to its low risk and high reward, a license for the catalyst described in the patent should be acquired, and this process should be developed.
  • Publication
    Design of CAR-T Cell Manufacturing Process
    (2020-04-21) Bartie, Liam J; Duhamel, Lauren R; Pan, Ruby C
    CAR T-cell therapy is at the frontier of personalized immunotherapy. It is a therapy that essentially reprograms a patient’s own T-cells to attack certain blood cancers. A sample of a patient's T cells are collected from the blood, then modified to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. When these CAR T cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors enable them to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient's tumor cells and kill them, ideally sending the patient into remission and essentially curing their cancer. Currently, CAR T-cell therapy is FDA approved as standard of care for some forms of aggressive, refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma and for patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia up to age 25. There is a great deal of development occurring to use this therapy in solid tumor cancers, which will bolster the need for large-scale manufacturing processes. This project seeks to develop and optimize a large-scale parallelizable manufacturing process for CAR-T cell therapy. To begin this manufacturing process, whole blood is drawn from a patient and passed through a filter to collect the leukocytes. These leukocytes are then purified and selected for using antigen markers to isolate purified T-cells. The T-cells are activated and undergo a gene transfer to express the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) through the immunological reprogramming process. During a week-long expansion phase in parallelized small bioreactor units, the T-cells proliferate until they are comprised primarily of successfully modified T-cells. Due to the personalized nature of CAR-T cell therapy, all doses must be contained in single use reactors and facilities in order to prevent patient cross-contamination. Once T-cells have been harvested, they are processed, formulated and concentrated in a resuspension solution, after which they will be cryopreserved and transported back to the original hospital or clinic for infusion. This process design results a yearly production of 3,000 individual CAR-T doses each year.
  • Publication
    Production of Universal Red Blood Cells via Enzymatic Conversion
    (2018-04-20) Catella, Carly M; Coler, Rachel A; Hayes, Brandon H
    Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion units are considered one of the most essential healthcare components in the world. In the United States alone, approximately 21 million transfusion units are required every year. Despite this high demand, RBC units are becoming increasingly scarce since only a fraction of eligible donors provide RBCs to for medical use. Additionally, RBC transfusions are limited to immune compatibility in patients, making it difficult to serve all patients with such a limited supply. This proposed design provides a method in which RBCs of any blood group can be converted into the universal blood type, O, to eliminate any concerns regarding blood type compatibility between donor and patient. This conversion process uses bacterial glycosidades to cleave the sugar groups on the surface of RBCs that defines our blood type. This process will help increase hospitals’ supply of readily usable RBCs for any situation while also providing a solution to hospitals’ struggle to use their blood bags before they expire. This proposal seeks to design a start-up scale plant that will both prepare the glysocidases needed for the treatment process and execute the conversion. This project design expects a production capacity of 200,000 tranfusion units of successfully converted RBCs per year and will be located in Medford, MA. With an initial investment of $25.6 million, the designs yields a a twelve-year net present value of $8,461,700 and has an investor’s rate of return of 21.73%. A limited twelve-year lifespan was chosen in an attempt to more accurately represent the lifespan of a start-up and to more strictly analyze its financial feasibility. The proposed project is forecasted to breakeven in early 2028, at the beginning of its eighth year of its operation, with a return on investment of 17.17%. With initial evidence of profitability, this project design is recommended. Furthermore, the financial analysis performed in this report limits the scope of this project to satisfying the blood demands of one major hospital in a metropolitan area. In reality, however, it is expected that the start-up will expand to other major hospitals or blood collecting organizations within the first several years of operation, further increasing its potential value. It should be noted, however, that investors exercise caution as the blood market has been in constant flux for the past seven years, making it difficult to predict how valuable RBC transfusion units will be compared to other blood components. The process should be executed only if an acceptable pricing can be established to sustain the large costs associated with guaranteeing endotoxin and contamination free products.
  • Publication
    Sodium and Specialty Cyanides Production Facility
    (2018-04-20) Baylis, Nicholas A; Desai, Parth N; Kuhns, Kyle J
    Sodium cyanide and specialty cyanide production are essential operations for various industrial processes, with primary applications in mining and mineral processing. Sodium cyanide, despite the high toxicity inherent in the material and its production process, is expected to grow 5% annually, with a projected global demand of 1.1 million tonnes in 2018. This report details a process design for producing sodium cyanide through the use of two intermediate reactions and successive downstream separations. The first major step is the production of hydrogen cyanide gas from ammonia and methane derived from natural gas, via the industry standard Andrussow reaction over a platinum-rhodium gauze catalyst. Aqueous sodium cyanide is produced via a neutralization reaction of absorbed hydrogen cyanide gas with aqueous sodium hydroxide. Downstream processes include the crystallization of solid sodium cyanide from the aqueous product, with the solid product being removed from slurry and brought to low-moisture content through a series of solid-liquid separations. The low-moisture solids are formed into the final briquette product, which is 97.7% sodium cyanide by mass at a capacity of 61.5M tonnes/year, and containing sodium carbonate as the principal impurity. Unconverted ammonia is recovered and recycled back to the feed of the HCN reactor, increasing the molar percent yield of hydrogen cyanide gas on the basis of fed ammonia from 60% to 70.9%. The project requires $35.6MM in Total Capital Investment and produces a Net Present Value of $72.5MM after 15 operating years and presents an Internal Rate of Return of 48.4%. The project will break even in its third operating year when it hits full production capacity. The design is recommended due to its strong return on investment and high resilience to market fluctuations.
  • Publication
    Propane Dehydrogenation by Autothermal Reforming
    (2016-04-01) Barsamian, Jeffrey W; Rao, Jayant A; Staiber, Patrick J; Wamakima, Eric
    The proposed design is for the the production of propene through propane dehydrogenation using Thyssen Krupp’s STAR technology and a hybrid membrane separation. The plant has a capacity of 700 kT/yr and will be located in the Middle East. At current propane/propene prices, the use of Thyssen Krupp’s STAR process and hybrid membrane separation is not economical and has a negative IRR. The NPV of this project at current market prices is -$865MM. However, economic feasibility depends on volatile market conditions. The process begins with the oxydehydrogenation section, consisting of four reformers connected to four oxyreactors that are cycled to allow for regeneration of the .2-.6%Pt- Sn/ZnAl2O5 catalyst. In order to produce polymer grade propene, a separation is needed following dehydrogenation. Separation operations include adsorption, MEA absorption system, distillation, and a hybrid distillation/membrane C3 splitter.
  • Publication
    Candida Albicans Stimulates Streptococcus Mutans Microcolony Development via Cross-Kingdom Biofilm-Derived Metabolites
    (2017-01-30) Kim, Dongyeop; Sengupta, Arjun; Niepa, Tagbo H. R; Lee, Byung-Hoo; Weljie, Aalim; Freitas-Blanco, Veronica S; Murata, Ramiro M; Stebe, Kathleen J; Lee, Daeyeon; Koo, Hyun
    Candida albicans is frequently detected with heavy infection of Streptococcus mutans in plaque-biofilms from children affected with early-childhood caries, a prevalent and costly oral disease. The presence of C. albicans enhances S. mutans growth within biofilms, yet the chemical interactions associated with bacterial accumulation remain unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate how microbial products from this cross-kingdom association modulate S. mutans build-up in biofilms. Our data revealed that bacterial-fungal derived conditioned medium (BF-CM) significantly increased the growth of S. mutans and altered biofilm 3D-architecture in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in enlarged and densely packed bacterial cell-clusters (microcolonies). Intriguingly, BF-CM induced S. mutans gtfBC expression (responsible for Gtf exoenzymes production), enhancing Gtf activity essential for microcolony development. Using a recently developed nanoculture system, the data demonstrated simultaneous microcolony growth and gtfB activation in situ by BF-CM. Further metabolites/chromatographic analyses of BF-CM revealed elevated amounts of formate and the presence of Candida-derived farnesol, which is commonly known to exhibit antibacterial activity. Unexpectedly, at the levels detected (25–50 μM), farnesol enhanced S. mutans-biofilm cell growth, microcolony development, and Gtf activity akin to BF-CM bioactivity. Altogether, the data provide new insights on how extracellular microbial products from cross-kingdom interactions stimulate the accumulation of a bacterial pathogen within biofilms.
  • Publication
    Production of Dimethyl Ether (DME) for Transportation Fuel
    (2020-04-21) Yang, Anita S; Antrassian, Carl V; Kurtzman, Julian D
    Dimethyl Ether (DME) is a proposed alternative to diesel fuel that is being looked into by car and truck manufacturers worldwide. The current market, based almost completely in China, is primed for growth and a U.S. based DME total plant that is economical and environmentally feasible stands to pave the way for America’s DME market, especially since states such as California have approved DME for use as vehicle fuel (Fuel Smarts). Conventionally, the DME is produced by feeding Methanol into a xed-bed gas-phase reactor over a ɣ-alumina catalyst (Dimian et al). Using this process and normal operating conditions (250-400°C and up to 20 bar) operations can reach 70-80% Methanol conversion. The proposed process utilizes the innovative reactive distillation technology and Amberlyst 35 catalyst to achieve a 99.8% Methanol conversion and produce 35,418 kilograms of DME fuel per hour. The reactive distillation is executed at ~130°C (in the reactive stages) and 700 kPa (condenser pressure), and produces water as a byproduct, which exits as the bottoms stream. In order to create a process that is environmentally sustainable, the small amounts of Methanol and DME in the bottoms stream are removed using biotreatment and the water is then released into a nearby river. The product DME is mixed with mineral oil to meet ISO standards and is then stored in an on-site spherical tank farm. Diesel prices will be undercut by the DME product at $1.716 a gallon in order to incentivise companies to make the switch to DME fuel. The DME total plant, located in Beaumont, Texas, serves to provide the local long-haul trucking industry with a cleaner burning fuel for a plant life of 20 years. The DME total plant has an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 12.6%, a Net Present Value (NPV) in 2020 of approximately $12 million, and will turn its rst pro t in 2033. The report addresses nancial, economic, and process concerns to deliver recommendations for the construction that is safest for the environment, the investor, and the plant operator.