Factors affecting the selection of a chemical process

Understand the chemistry of the industrial process

The assignment

You have been hired to oversee the cracking and reforming aspects of an oil refinery. Your role will be to select the most appropriate chemical processes for cracking and reforming at the refinery.
Your assignment is to produce a report of approximately 1500-2500 words with appropriate diagrams and tables to support your work.

It should cover the following

Understand the chemistry of the industrial process
Choice of reaction: possible reaction pathways; reagents; reasons for selection
Mechanism of reaction: evaluation of mechanism for each stage
Reaction conditions: effect of temperature; effect of pressure; effect of catalyst; effect of
other conditions on product and yield
Yield: of all possible pathways; factors affecting yields
Separation/purification: description of techniques used; evaluation of the effect on yield and
quality of product
Use and recycling of co-products: separation; use; recycling; commercial value
Chemical Processes

LO2 Understand factors affecting the selection of a chemical process
2.1 explain the relevance of process factors to a chemical process
2.2 explain the importance of the quality of the product
2.3 explain the importance of co- and side-products on
the overall profitability of the process
2.4 assess safety aspects and discuss measures required for compliance with the Environmental Protection Act

LO3 Understand the physicochemical
aspects of an industrial
3.1 explain how energetic, equilibrium and kinetic factors influence the selected industrial process
3.2 explain the principles of separation and purification used in the process
3.3 explain the impact of the transfer of materials used in the process

This assignment requires you to write a discussion paper of around 3000 words on industrial chemical processes. The suggestion is to focus on the following:-

• Manufacture of sulphuric acid
• The Haber process
• The manufacture of nitric acid
• The production of chlorine / sodium hydroxide
• The extraction of metals
• The oil industry

You are, of course, free to discuss any process that helps you cover assessment criteria 2.1-3.1. The table below gives some clarification to the criteria. You are advised to consult class notes, chemistry texts, internet or even your own work experience to construct your paper. Make sure all your work is well referenced.

Process factors: raw materials (availability, purity, costs, transport); yield (main products, co-products,
waste materials); time factor (relative rates, balance of yield versus rate); operating
conditions (costs, benefits in relation to yield and rate for chosen route); sustainability (carbon

Quality of product: ease of separation; purification; side products; quality control
Other products: co- and side-products (ease of separation, possible uses); transport

Environmental Protection Act: control and monitoring of effluents; safe disposal of waste products; the possible effects of operating the process on the immediate environment of the plant

Safety aspects: risk analysis for complete process; COSHH assessment
Energetic factors: energy requirements; energy flow; heat transfer
Equilibrium factors: equilibrium yield; operating conditions: balance of yield versus operatingconditions; kinetic factors
Kinetic factors: factors affecting rate; choice of catalyst; reaction route; reaction conditions
Separation and purification: principles of phase equilibria underlying distillation; solvent extraction; chromatography; crystallisation/evaporation; scale eg research and development, pilot scale, plant scale

Transfer of materials and resources: water; raw materials; products; energy

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