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Cost Engineering: Integrating Technology and Economics

By Thane R. Brown |

The Process Synthesis Model presented here is a methodology that integrates technology and economics, thereby improving process design and reducing costs Broadly, the chemical process industries (CPI) are comprised of companies in the chemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical, household and personal-care products, paper products, and the food-and-beverage and other sectors. Each sector is continually faced with product and process obsolescence, with cost inflation, and with the growth of health, safety and environmental (HSE) regulations. To neutralize these forces and remain competitive, CPI companies must continually develop or synthesize new products and upgraded processes. This article is about process synthesis, and it presents a methodology that integrates technology and economics, thereby improving design quality and reducing costs. Spending for process synthesis occurs in three areas: research and development (R&D), capital investment and production. R&D expenses include the staffing, laboratory, pilot plant, and related efforts involved in doing synthesis work. Capital investments include the costs to design, install and startup a “synthesized” process. Production costs consist of the raw materials, packaging…
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