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Services - Process Development


Our process oriented research frequently follows a pattern, with ideas being generated and data being collected, all focused on developing a full-scale process. As the following diagram suggests, the endeavor, e.g., to split a desired component from a mixture, is translated into a process idea, possibly employing a standard adsorption technology (such as Pressure Swing Adsorption, Temperature Swing Adsorption, etc.).

Frequently, a few or even several adsorbent candidates are examined as potential choices. To evaluate them, the relevant properties are measured in order to test suitability. Those are indicated as isotherms and rate data, though other properties are frequently also important. Frequently, it is possible to decide whether an adsorbent is suitable by examining its properties alone. Other times, it is necessary to see whether the properties can yield a decent separation by evaluating its performance using a mathematical model.

If the properties and/or mathematical model imply that the separation will be successful, then a prototype system may be built. Otherwise, additional adsorbent candidates would be evaluated. If the prototype tests are successful, a larger pilot plant might be built, for on-site testing. If the prototype tests are unsuccessful, however, it would be necessary to revise the model conditions or parameters, or possibly to look at other adsorbent candidates.

Adsorption Process Development Flowchart

If the pilot plant tests are successful, a full-scale plant could be built. If the pilot plant tests are unsuccessful, however, it would be necessary to revise the model conditions or parameters, or possibly to look at other adsorbent candidates. Evaluating the process at various levels of production, follows Professor Tom Sherwood's philosophy of "making mistakes on a small scale, and profits on a large scale." Of course, we prefer not to make any mistakes.