Recovering your product is one of the simplest ways to increase your profit and reduce costs. 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.
Some plants run with excess utilities that are wasted or under-utilized. If this is the case in your facility, aim to use the efficiencies 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.
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.
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.
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.