Avoiding Incidents at Scale-up

Is Your Process Resistant Towards Maloperation?

This webinar discusses how to perform safe scale-up of chemical processes and includes a close examination of thermal risks and hazards.

When scaling up a chemical process, the process not only leaves a research environment to enter into a more technical environment, but it is also performed at a larger scale, which strongly affects its behavior in terms of reproducibility. This is because technical equipment is subject to failure and operators are subject to human error. This may result in deviation from the intended conditions and lead into a critical situation even to loss of control.

It is essential to design the process in such a way that maloperations do not affect its safety or its economy. In order to achieve this objective, the design must not only be performed for nominal operating conditions, but also for deviations from these conditions. Such a design requires an appropriate methodology and specific process data. Here the search for deviations, as it is practiced in the frame of risk analysis, delivers a practical tool in asking questions like “What if?”.

The data required to answer such question can be obtained from dedicated experiments using calorimetric and thermo analytical methods. These experimental techniques allow studying the process under deviating conditions, but require a strong chemical engineering background in order to predict the process large scale behavior. The combination of search for deviation, experimental investigation and engineering skills in the assessment allows a successful scale-up.

Avoiding Incidents at Scale-up

About the Presenter

Prof. Francis Stoessel

Head - Process Safety Consulting, Institute of Chemical and Biological Process Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)

Professor Francis Stoessel is Head of Chemical Process Safety Consulting in the Swissi Process Safety GmbH. After graduating in Chemical Engineering from the Universite de Haute Alsace, he spent most of his career working for Ciba-Geigy in their Chemical Engineering Department. He was Head of the Thermal Safety Department at Ciba, later of Process Safety Consulting at Novartis. He then took up a professorship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne. Prof. Stoessel has received awards from the Swiss Expert Commission for Safety in the Chemical Industry and the Swiss Society for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry.