Feasibility Study on Improved Acetylation Plant Designs

Winner TU/e Academic Awards 2016

Iok-cheong Wan, Accsys Technologies

Introduction

Wood is a renewable resource and has much lower carbon footprint than other materials like steels, aluminum and polymers. Controlled plantation of softwoods can lead to quick harvesting and better control on wood qualities. However, these plantation woods are intrinsically more prone to decay.

Accoya® is the brand name of chemically modified solid wood produced with proprietary acetylation process developed by Accsys Technologies PLC (Figure 1). Acetylated wood exhibits superior qualities in terms of dimensional stability and durability than other natural or treated woods.

To support continuous development of the company, a new plant design with Internal Rate of Returns (IRR) 2.5% higher than that of current system is to be suggested in this project.

Methodology

Development opportunities are identified through investigation of technologies in related fields/industries. Ontology Design, an explicit specification of conceptualization, is applied on analyzing the scattered and unstructured ideas collected in a systematic way to formulate applicable design concepts. Design concepts are ranked in terms of potential costs, benefits (e.g. higher capacity, better product quality) and risk. Technical Feasibility and Business Feasibility of the most promising concept are studied in more detail.

results

Specifications of necessary equipment for new design are deduced through in-lab tests and the equipment is co-developed with equipment suppliers. Potential uncertainties contributing to variations in IRR are identified and corresponding effects are estimated through a Sensitivity Study. It is found that even under the worst case scenario, the new design results in IRR improvement more than expected.

Iok-cheong Wan MPhil PDEng

Iok-cheong Wan executed his design project at Accsys Technologies PLC in Arnhem. The project was supervised by Beno Pol and Martin Leusinklopment from Accsys, Ward Cottaar from the Design and Technology Instrumentation program from TU Eindhoven and Frank de Boeff from Bodec.