Efficient Plant May 2019 - 14

Take
Risk
Out

Of Full
Scale
Projects

feature | pilot plants

Above. EPIC engineers run quality tests on a completed pilot plant system for an energy client. All photos
courtesy of EPIC Systems
Below. This pilot plant system tests the process of carbon dioxide removal from flue gas at coal-based
power plants.

Pilot plants demonstrate
the feasibility of proposed
process technologies for
real-world operations.

Michelle Segrest
Contributing Editor

DE-RISKING HAS ALWAYS been the
driving force behind pilot plants and that
force is as strong, if not stronger, in today's
environment of ever-shorter product life
cycles. For example, when a company's
research and development group has an idea
for a new process technology, testing may be
performed at a "glass scale."
"This can mean making only one liter of a
certain chemical, similar to the type of tests
you do in a high school chemistry class,"
according to John Schott P.E., president of
EPIC Systems Inc., St. Louis (epicsysinc.com),
a manufacturing and service company that
designs, integrates, and builds pilot-plant

14

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

solutions for manufacturers worldwide. "Let's
say all goes well. The tests show the technology works at that scale. But are they convinced
enough to take the risk to build a plant for
$150 million that produces 10,000 pounds of
the material each day? In most cases, it's just
too big a jump to spend that kind of money
and hope a plant works."

A pilot plant is meant to show that a
process technology can be made at a smaller
industrial scale, or perhaps two evolutions of
that scale, before a larger, full-scale production
plant is built.
"The money spent on a pilot plant always
makes sense," Schott said. "One of three things
will happen. The company will find out what

MAY 2019


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Efficient Plant May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant May 2019

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