Product recovery is an old concept, yet it is still relevant to many industrial operations. Inevitably there will be some level of wastage in a process, that’s to be expected; but in many cases the amount of waste and/or the value of the product makes recovery a viable option to consider. The market is constantly changing, bringing forth innovative, new solutions and improvements to existing equipment that you can utilize to recover more product, adjust to higher purity requirements, and potentially reduce energy consumption. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider recovering your product:
What company isn’t looking for ways to increase their profit and reduce costs? Recovering your product is one of the simplest ways to achieve this. As the market increases the demand for your specific product, you can adjust your operating parameters to maximize your product recovery capabilities. You can also consider doing an engineering study to identify the bottlenecks in your system. Once these problem areas have been identified, a plan can be set in place to modify or replace the areas where the bottlenecks are occurring during your next planned shutdown or turnaround. An evaluation on the return on investment (ROI) is recommended at this stage. A shift in the market may also indicate a higher value for recovering not only your products but also by-products from your system. Assure your team is following market trends and evaluating possible earnings from by-product recovery.
2. Energy Efficiency
Some plants run with excess utilities that are wasted or under-utilized. If this is the case in your facility, aim to use the efficacies that are already available from those utilities in existing operating systems. Optimizing your utility usage can give you a positive tradeoff by helping to increase your production. By adjusting parameters like pressure and temperature based on these utilities you can improve efficiency in your plant.
3. Reduction of Product Waste
When considering product recovery, it is imperative to assess how much product is being wasted. A feasibility study to determine the volume of product that can be recovered over a set period of time will help to quantify (and qualify) your product recovery efforts. Also, don’t forget to investigate the current market value of your by-products. When your system was first installed the by-products of your process may have been considered waste for economic reasons. It’s not uncommon, however, for products to change in value over time. What once was waste could now be considered a high commodity chemical. This is the perfect example of how literally “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and how it might be an appropriate time to start recovering your (by-)product(s).
Trying to increase your product recovery will challenge your team to use not only the traditional techniques of engineering but to also get creative and test new methods that in the long run could lead to innovation, potentially creating an entirely reconfigured process. And consider the exponential savings if you work for a large company that has multiple operating plants. While we don’t recommend running your process outside the confines of its operating parameters, it never hurts to look at ways you can further optimize your process. Brainstorming ways to successfully recover your products comes from the type of out-of-the-box thinking that leads to innovative solutions.
5. Lower Environmental Impact
Minimizing your carbon footprint goes hand-in-hand with reducing product waste. While the primary driver for a product recovery project may be economics, another significant benefit is that it can lower your emissions. Environmentally-friendly operating changes like product recovery can help your organization to “go green”, so be sure to check with your regulatory agencies – you may be eligible for a financial rebate or credit because of this operating improvement. Helping your company and the environment at the same time? Now that’s a win/win.
As you can see, there are many reasons why product (and by-product) recovery should be considered when evaluating and optimizing your processes. We can help you through some of those evaluations through feasibility studies, pilot testing and process design for highly corrosive applications so that you can maximize your economic and environmental efficiencies. If you think you’re throwing away more than you need to be, visit our website to fill out our process systems questionnaire, or contact us directly so we can discuss your product recovery opportunities.