Designing a production plant to manufacture ammonium nitrate for the purpose of a fertiliser

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Overview of project

The objective of this project is to carry out a feasibility study for the manufacture of a specified product. This project provides an opportunity to display ability in the critical analysis of process routes for the production of the allocated product and the evaluation of these process routes. The plant will be located in the UK, the capacities of the raw materials and the end product are known. Namely 100,000t/y of ammonium nitrate will be manufactured from 80,000t/y of nitric acid and 50,000t/y of ammonia.

Gantt chart explained

This project will contain the sections as detailed in the "CE3003 Advanced Process Design" handout. The key project objectives have been listed in the Gantt chart as "Task" and "Sub-task", the expected duration of each task and the start and end of each is recorded. This chart will be updated regularly so that it truly represents the position of each task. Keeping a good track of the tasks will enhance organisational skills, highlight priority in tasks, and importantly ensure deadlines are met. This is a useful planning tool, and is frequently used in industry to arrange major group project tasks such as commissioning and installation work.

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The Gantt chart describes the order in which tasks will be completed; this order was decided within group meetings. The key milestones have been decided by the deadline dates for the submission of the Project Plan and the final Report. These dates have been recorded by the Gantt chart and all other tasks have been added around these dates. The main task is coloured in a blue bar, and the sub-tasks are coloured in red.

Objectives of Project

* Firstly, we should gain an understanding of Ammonium nitrate, Nitric acid and Ammonium - the product and raw materials themselves. Having knowledge on the product uses, properties, safety, environmental, health and market aspects of these components will enable the production of a safe and efficient plant.

* This plant will manufacture ammonium nitrate for the purposes of fertiliser use only, as specified by the handout, however, all other markets with ammonium nitrate demands will be researched also as it affects the profits of this plant to be designed.

* The health and safety section will be a major section, it will include the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of all the chemicals on plant; this is important as it will give integrity to the process and plant.

Research and Calculations

The alternative process routes will need to be investigated; these are the different ways of manufacturing the same product by existing companies.

* These various process routes will be researched using resources such as textbooks and the internet. The information that will be researched will be of a step-wise fashion the method of manufacturing ammonium nitrate.

* The main process stages will be recognised such as: addition, reaction, condensation, separation, and filtration and drying. Several process routes will be found and compared with each other using a standard criterion such as costs, yield of product and environmental impact.

* A preferred process route will be selected from the range of routes. However, if there are certain stages that are more preferable using the other routes, different process steps will be incorporated to form the final process route, rather than following one.

* When the final process route is determined the main pieces of equipment that will be used on plant will need to be identified. Major pieces of equipment include a reactor, condenser, evaporator, columns, storage vessels etc. In addition all smaller pieces of equipment such as process pumps, valves and instrumentation such as pressure, level, and temperature indicators will also need to be considered and positioned on plant. The correct design and type of equipment is crucial in every process step, so suppliers of the equipment will be researched also. The cost of the equipment will be weighed against the expected result from that particular process step. So, the equipment will need to heat, pressurise, or agitate to the specific requirements.

* A mass balance and an energy balance will be produced for the final selected process with all the assumptions and specifications listed, this will clearly relate to the flowsheet.

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* Finally, after deciding on the final process steps, operating conditions, and equipment needed to be installed on plant a final Process Flow Diagram (PFD) and a Process & Instrument Diagram (P&ID) will need be drawn. These drawings will represent all of the instrumentation and the equipment as will be on plant, however not to scale.

* The layout diagram drawn in later stages of the project will show the major pieces of equipment on plant and this will be approximately to scale. The plant layout will represent the main equipment only, and show the detail of the location of plant, include a warehouse for the storage of raw materials for example, and roadways for the transport of the materials.

* After the plant has been designed a full hazard and operability study (HAZOP) will be done using the PFD, the purpose of this is to analyse the process and identify any possible hazards. Once the causes and effects of any potential hazards have been established, the system being studied can then be modified to improve its safety. Control parameters will be put in place. The plant design will remain compliant with procedures and any UK laws and regulations.

As this project plan is prepared prior to starting any of the tasks as detailed above, this will be revised later and both editions will be stored in the Appendices.

Personal development

By studying this module, as a team we would like to mimic the style of teamwork as found in industry and enhance our independent technical skills, as well as soft skills like organisational, oral and written communication.