PHAST Software Helps Rohm and Haas Identify $7 Million in Savings at a Chemical Plant
February 28, 2006
The Rohm and Haas chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas, significantly improved the efficiency of its sulfuric acid recovery process by replacing a natural gas-fired furnace and preheater with new equipment. Staff used DOE's Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST) software to determine the energy savings and productivity improvements that would result from replacing the equipment and making some additional process improvements.
As a result, the plant is saving 210,000 MMBtu annually, for an energy cost savings of about $2 million per year. Also, the acid reclamation rate is now higher, providing an additional cost savings of $5 million per year. The total cost of the improvement project was $18 million, for a 2.6-year simple payback.
In 2002, plant staff found that structural inefficiencies in the process were causing significant energy losses. For example, the preheater was operating at about 62% efficiency rather than at 76%, its design rating. Also, the preheater and the furnace were nearing the end of their design lives; therefore, they would soon have to be replaced.
Chemical engineer Claudia O'Rourke, process steward in the Deer Park plant's sulfuric acid recovery unit, routinely uses the PHAST tool to gauge the efficiency of process equipment. In 2004, a PHAST analysis showed that, in addition to the savings resulting from using new equipment, the plant could save even more and add capacity by increasing the temperature of preheated air by 25%.
Following the analysis, the plant replaced the preheater and the furnace and upgraded some sensors and insulation. Preliminary data show that the process consumes about 11% less natural gas now than it did before the improvement project.
Covering more than 800 acres and employing more than 750 people, the Deer Park facility is Rohm and Haas's largest production plant, producing more than 5 billion pounds of chemical products annually. The plant's sulfuric acid recovery process, which was installed in 1970, reclaims about 3,600 tons of sulfuric acid per day by decomposing sulfuric acid residue. Rohm and Haas is a DOE ITP Allied Partner.
To learn more, see the new performance spotlight (PDF 346 KB).