Scale Up

Many systems work well at the small scale. Many innovations can be demonstrated under laboratory conditions. Glassware runs are important to start the development to a commercial scale system. Scaling up a system from the bench to a production plant is an art to itself.

Critical to success is the ability to identify commercial scale effects while stair stepping the critical unit operations to the size they will be installed in the commercial system. Front to back full scaling may not be the right pathway. However, there are critical units in any system that will make or break the overall venture. Decoupling these and studying the scale up requirements needed to ensure success while relying on the simple parametric scale up of proven units allow for more detailed focus on the critical areas. This method reduces scale up time, reduces development cost and has a higher probability of success.

The use of statistically based tools to understand the main effects of each characteristic of each unit provides independent information that drives the creation of meaningful correlations that enables the proper engineering of the system for integrated success.

For example, in the past a team would desire to run a 1:10 scale demonstration plant from front to back for the proposed system, the de-scaling issues could easily hide the spatial relationships that drive heat and mass transfer thus leading to carry over problems that are addressed in subsequent units in the train that leads to under and over design in the large scale system. Usually the system cannot be tested to limit to understand the cliffs and the correlations of the individual unit operation due to the interdependent effects on the downstream processes.

The more successful development path is to individually isolate each unit operation defining a rigorous set of interdependent parameters with high quality process and analytical data to fully characterize the performance of the system at its boundary limits. This method is more complex to manage and takes a rigorous application of ANOVA and other statistical methods, but it is proven that the correlations and integration of the units is based upon a stronger understanding of the design and operation of each unit thus reducing the overall scale up risk in the system.

Chemical Process Project Workflow Steps

  1. Establish the formula for the product
  2. Define the raw materials
  3. Create the Block Flow Diagram
  4. Develop the mass balance for each block
  5. Develop the Process Flow Diagram
  6. Complete process and equipment studies
  7. Establish the capacity requirements
  8. Calculate the heat and energy balance
  9. Review materials of construction required
  10. Model the economic sensitivity
  11. Iterate processing options – recycle to step 3
  12. Build P&ID
  13. Complete first iteration of design calculations for each piece of equipment
  14. Choose the engineering strategy: FEL, Detail Design, Design Build, etc.
  15. Initiate development studies
  16. Complete lab based design verification
  17. Draft final PFDs
  18. Write owner supplied equipment specifications
  19. Write specifications for instruments, piping, valves, specialty items
  20. Prepare design basis and reference design guidelines
  21. Add discipline details: civil, structural, electrical, control systems in the form of design basis and design guidelines
  22. Execute detail design, deliver production engineering packages

Process Studies Method Steps

  1. Define the characteristic variable
  2. Develop the needed test method
  3. Valid the response
  4. Determine the factors to explore
  5. Establish the factor levels needed
  6. Establish scale A baseline 
  7. Screen, model, optimize
  8. Analyze manufacturability
  9. Make data based decisions
  10. Repeat and refine


Process Development Component Tools

Process Development is a complex chemical engineering workflow that requires rigor, discipline and organization. The more refined and simpler that information generated is presented the greater degree of continued success. 

Simplification and communication enables:

  1. Data based decision making
  2. Mass and Energy Balances 
  3. Validated Test Methods

The Process Development Component Tools explains in detail the process behind the Engineering development efforts that support the Design Basis. 

Analytical OAG

The analytical team follows a rigorous and statistically based validation and qualification process to deliver repeatable data and clarity in the confidence of each data point presented. 

An Obvious at a Glance (OAG) presentation format is used to present the validation data for all methods.

Process: 3SC, EO, KLR

The Engineering Development Process follows the following workflow: 

  1. 3SC (Scope, Schedule, Sketch, and Cost) – “The Build Plan”
    Used to plan any new construction work necessary for development efforts. Includes scope, schedule of construction      time to startup, P&ID, and budget. 
  2. EO (Experimental Order) – “The Run Plan”
    Written prior to conducting an experiment and vetted through team. Includes Objective, Mass Balance Sampling Plan, Energy Balance Sampling Plan, FLRC – Factors, Levels, Responses, and Constants, Summary Run Plan, and Pre-work. 
  3. KLR (Key Learning Report) – “The Run Report”
    Written as a result of experiments to clarify data based decision efforts. Includes Title block (Study Name, Date, Reference which is called out as lab notebook number and page with location of process conditions and raw data, Objective), Mass Balance,      Energy Balance, OAG (Obvious at a Glance) Presentation of Data, Key Learnings, Recommendations and Next Steps. 

The engineering development efforts are captured in the various EO and KLR reports verifying and clarifying parameters to be fed into the System Parameter Design Basis. 

System Parameter Design Basis (SPDB)

The System Parameter Design Basis (SPDB) details the operational basis and design parameters per block for the design. The Demo Plant Mass Balancecaptures the most recent demo plant mass balance and is used to further confirm SPDB parameters.

Scale Up Information Set

Engineered Systems Information Development

  1. Flows
  2. Capacities
  3. Material properties
  4. Loads
    1. Electric
    2. Steam
    3. Water
    4. Air

Design Basis Justification - report design against criteria in bases 

Equipment Selection Justification – bring cut sheets to show how specified functional intention was met

Material Handling

  1. Raw materials subject to change due to storage time or storage conditions
  2. Raw materials availability in the appropriate form of delivery
  3. Raw material storage on site and tram to the use point
  4. Logistics of the material handling on site
  5. Toxicity and safety review of the raw materials and mitigation during handling 
  6. Need for special handling procedures
  7. Flammability or explosion possibilities
  8. Dust control and particle size management of the materials
  9. Compatibility of materials to materials of construction
    1. Wetted parts
    2. Machine surfaces
    3. Elastomers
    4. Seals
    5. Wear parts and surfaces
  10. Analysis and inspection of all materials


  1. Order and rate of addition
  2. Agitation requirements and agitated tank capability
  3. Temperature and pressure effects and requirements
  4. Mass balance
  5. Energy balance
  6. Complete batch cycle time
  7. Formula and tolerances
  8. Physical properties of the material throughout the process
    1. Rheology
    2. Specific gravities
    3. Physical states
  9. Reaction rate
  10. Heat of reaction
  11. Required rates of heating or cooling
  12. Heat loads
  13. Temperature of heating or cooling medium
  14. Heat transfer coefficients
  15. Flash points 
  16. Explosion hazards
  17. Electrical classified areas and the boundary definition method
  18. Head space control on tanks
    1. Foam
    2. Inerting
  19. Conditions for recycle and rework
    1. Characterization
    2. Addition rates
    3. Allowable amount of each characterized stream
  20. Effect of contaminants such as grease, dust, pump seal lubricant, metal corrosion products
  21. Dust control or dust control equipment
  22. Mist eliminators
  23. Gasket materials of construction
  24. Flange connection details
    1. Flat face to flat face
    2. Raised face to flat face
    3. FRP to metal
  25. Clean up and slurry plug clearing considerations
  26. Hazardous materials handling and clean up after line opening operations
  27. Special start up instructions
    1. Passivation
    2. Cleaning and flushing fluids
    3. Specialty equipment installation

Equipment and Instruments

  1. Installation verification of various vendor required components for the whole system
  2. Manufacturers on site installation support and instructions
  3. Green tagging of all instruments
    1. Calibration
    2. Calibration verification
    3. Install preparation
  4. Field installation and verification of instruments
  5. Pressure safety relief valve calculations
  6. Pump curves and system curves
  7. Compliance against the Common Design Basis Clarifications for the project


  1. Constructor attack team and shop services set up
  2. Critical spare parts in warehouse
  3. Special tools and procedures 
  4. Equipment inspection procedures in place
  5. Lubricants and packings on hand
  6. Vendor equipment cataloged


  1. Vessel interiors
  2. Vessel packings
  3. Equipment arranged for access
  4. Insulation 
  5. Heat tracing
  6. Temporary strainers and blinds
  7. Provisions for sampling

Pressure Testing, Cleaning, Flushing, and Drying

  1. Pressure test equipment, piping and gauges
  2. Flush and clean piping and equipment
  3. Water drain and disposition
  4. Continuity testing with air after hydrotesting
  5. Hydro testing versus pneumatic testing
    1. Special safety provisions for pneumatic testing
    2. Target pressure and hold time
  6. Orifice plate installation
  7. Dry out process
  8. Purge
  9. Vacuum test
  10. Piping expansion support


A. Electric power and lighting

  1. Breaker coordination study
  2. Trip settings and verification
  3. Grounding and continuity check
  4. Isolation, ground and safety check of the grounding design

B. Water 

  1. Expected make up
  2. Volume, flow and multiple activity chart timing

C. Cooling water

  1. Loads
  2. Basis temperature
  3. Treatment chemicals
  4. Drift
  5. Power consumption

D. Service air

  1. Dew point
  2. Cycle time on moisture blow
  3. Desiccant life and change out
  4. Refrigerated dryer performance at full loads
  5. Intermittent load analysis and peak usage spike attenuation
  6. Header sizing 
  7. Usage drop flow verification

E. Floor drains and sumps

  1. Anticipated Flow rate verification
  2. Sizing and “time to full” calculations
  3. Pump out rates - pump curve
  4. Downstream disposition limitations - Interdependent multiple activity charts, Instantaneous capacity and surge.
  5. Neutralization affects - Maximum temperature rise, foaming
  6. Buried piping and connected piping seal methods and verification

F. Steam

  1. Line warming procedures
  2. Condensate management
  3. Main header heat up
  4. Lateral heat up
  5. User requirements
  6. Load tallies

G. Condensate

  1. Disposition
  2. Trap operation 

H. Inert Gas

  1. Identify and provide warnings
  2. Air blow lines
  3. Isolate and purge

I. Fuel Oil

  1. Check secondary containment
  2. Filters and separators
  3. Loads and usage - Refill rates and delivery form

J. Fuel Gas

  1. Clearance distances
  2. User purge and leak isolation and recovery


  1. Sample schedule
  2. Test methods verified
  3. Operators and test technicians validated on test methods
  4. Sample retention
  5. Sample and testing protocols complete, and stations set at high frequency locations


  1. Piping Strain Relief
  2. Electric motor loads and duty cycles 
  3. Access and location of guards 
  4. Access for maintenance
  5. Seismic support and connection load transfer to structural


  1. Piping friction loss calculations
  2. Slurry pipeline guideline calculations
  3. Locations of clean out and sample ports
  4. Piping stress calculations - Themal , Hydraulic (Water Hammer), Seismic
  5. Materials of construction
  6. Joining methods
  7. Flange types, gaskets and jointing closure forces
  8. Vibration mitigation

Operating Documentation

  1. Log Sheets
  2. Lab Books
  3. Control Charts
  4. Trending Charts

Safety Procedural Applications to Equipment and System

  1. PPE
  2. LOTO
  3. Line Opening
  4. Spill containment and countermeasures
  5. Evacuation
  6. First aid

Safety Relief Valves

  1. Calculation verification
  2. Discharge network verification

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