Pilot Plant Example Projects – Previous Experience

The primary goal for most tests performed in the Koch Modular Pilot Plant is to generate the data required for successful scale-up to production equipment. Scale-up from Pilot Plant data forms the basis of our process performance guarantees. In this section are a number of recent applications where testing has led to the design and implementation of production equipment.


Citrus Oil FractionationCitrus Oil Fractionation

Koch Modular has successfully fractionated orange oil and other citrus oils to produce many commercially desirable components. Tests have included batch and continuous folding and fractionation steps to recover compounds such as octanal, pinene, limonene, linalool, citronella, dodecanal, valencene, and nootkatone. These tests typically require high vacuum to limit the operating temperature.


Fractional ExtractionFractional Extraction for Product Recovery

Koch Modular successfully tested a fractional extraction application involving a light “tar” feed stream from a refinery operation using a SCHEIBEL® Column. For this application, the organic feed was added in the middle zone of the column. A polar solvent was added at the top of the column to preferentially extract the more polar, aromatic components (product stream). A straight-chain hydrocarbon was added at the bottom of the column and preferentially extracted the non-polar organics (impurities). The test program successfully demonstrated greater than 92% product recovery with less than 1% impurities. A production column was designed, built, installed and started-up with excellent product recovery and purity achieved.


Biodiesel DistillationBiodiesel Distillation

Koch Modular has successfully recovered Biodiesel (methyl esters) from a crude Biodiesel feed stream. The process was piloted in three steps. The first step was an evaporation step which removed methanol and lights. The second step was removal of remaining glycerin. The last step collects the Biodiesel as a distillate product. All three steps are performed under vacuum. A commercial system was designed, built and started up by Koch Modular. The modular system is currently in operation.

Poor Performance ExtractionReplacement of a Poorly Performing Extraction Column

Koch Modular successfully tested the extraction of organic components including nitrated organics from an aqueous feed stream using an aromatic, organic solvent. Prior to testing, the client was using an antiquated RDC column in their production process, but leaving a high level of nitrated organics in the aqueous effluent. Testing in a SCHEIBEL® Column demonstrated higher extraction efficiency (lower nitrated organic level in the aqueous effluent) at a reduced solvent to feed ratio. Testing also demonstrated that changing the continuous phase resulted in significantly improved process hydraulic behavior (minimized emulsion formation and entrainment losses). A production column has been designed, built, installed, and successfully started-up.


Water Soluble Solvent RecoveryPartially Water Soluble Solvent Recovery and Drying

Koch Modular has successfully recovered a high-boiling partially water-soluble solvent from both phases of a decanted product. This was done in a multi-step process, processing both phases individually. After a wet solvent-rich stream was recovered, the water was stripped out. A commercial system was designed, built and started up by Koch Modular. The modular system is currently in operation.


Extracting SaltsExtracting Salts from an Organic Feed Stream

Koch Modular successfully tested the extraction of inorganic, chloride, salts from a chlorinated organic feed stream, using water as the solvent. A KARR® Column with PTFE perforated plates was tested for this application. The testing demonstrated that greater than 99% removal of the inorganic salts can be achieved for solvent to feed ratios as low as 0.07 (i.e. 0.07 weight of water to 1.0 weight of organic feed).