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Considerations for Estimating the Costs of Pilot-Scale Facilities

By Rob Nunley, MATRIC |

The differences between industrial-scale facilities and pilot plants go beyond size, and these intricacies must be understood when estimating the costs associated with pilot-scale facilities Estimating the construction costs of pilot plant facilities can be tricky, and many of the traditional methods used for a commercial-scale chemical facility simply do not apply. However, these methods are usually the most familiar to project managers, estimators and business managers, who may not delve into the world of pilot-scale operations on a routine basis. The results of applying these methods can be quite misleading if the differences in pilot-plant construction and scope are not properly evaluated. This article explores some key differences that should be taken into account for pilot-plant cost estimates and presents some basic methods used for simplified cost estimating. Before beginning any cost estimates, we must examine the definition of a pilot plant. This term can mean different things to different people depending on the particular nature of your business, your personal experiences and the corporate or academic culture you are working in. A pilot plant for a large, commodity chemicals business may mean a standalone facility that…
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