My colleague, Rodrigo Maciel, and I had the opportunity to attend the Mary K. O’Connor Process Safety Center 2010 International Symposium October 26 to 28 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. This process safety conference had about 400 attendees, which included representation from government agencies (OSHA, Chemical Safety Board), Chemical Engineering Professors from around the globe, Safety Consultants, and Process Safety Managers and Scientists from Petrochemical and Chemical companies. The event featured 106 presentations and 20 exhibitors.During the conference, I had the opportunity to make the presentation: New Approaches for the Design of Inherently Safe and Scalable Processes in an Efficient and Safe Way. I discussed the challenges that the (petro)chemical and (bio)pharmaceutical industries face – including globalization, environmental and safety regulation, increased time pressure for commercial releases. Breakthroughs in process operations and modeling are necessary to achieve energy and material efficiency gains supporting shorter development and scale-up times and improving the environmental, safety and economical profile of chemical processes. Those breakthroughs are made possible thanks in part to the use of Process Analytical Technology and reactor systems optimally designed for real time in situ process monitoring and accurate control of processes – both at lab and plant scale.
The RC1 reaction calorimeter has been the gold standard for over 20 years for process safety studies of desired reactions at lab scale. Enhanced with the latest real time calorimetry technology and software, the RC1 evolved to an easy to use reactor platform to perform process safety and scale-up studies efficiently and rapidly.
With the implementation of RTCal™, heat profiles of exothermic events are measured accurately in real time without the need for further calibration or data manipulation. As a result, the RC1 reactor can be operated as a plant reactor, allowing for real life simulation of safe dosing times at plant scale and prediction of thermal behavior and the quality and yield of the process in the plant vessel.
In addition, the iC Safety™ software module automatically calculates all related process safety values such as adiabatic temperature rise, MTSR, etc. needed for thermal hazard assessment of the process as well as the criticality index of the whole process. This technology is designed to safely develop a chemical process in less time and ensures a robust and economic process that can be efficiently and safely scaled to manufacturing. I presented case studies exploring the use of RTCal™ to stimulate a plant reactor’s heat removal and demonstrated the one-click thermal hazard assessment via iC Safety™.
The Mary K. O’Connor Process Safety Center 2010 Conference had a major focus on critical issues in process safety management, administration, and implementation, while also including chemical reactivity and process safety testing as well as accident case studies.