The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has long advocated for, and mandated, regulations on chemical processes to prevent and reduce the life cycle impact the processes have on the environment, as processes in the past have created pollution to the extent that it has affected the environment and climate of the world around us. In order to cope with the growing problem of pollution by the release of various chemicals into the environment, it is necessary to include unconventional pieces of equipment to purify and clean waste streams when designing chemical plants. Pollution control unit simulators are needed to be included when assessing, improving, and optimizing the process performance in terms of sustainability. Flare, as one important and typical air pollution control technology, can treat most of volatile organic chemicals (VOC) streams with different mass and energy flows. In this project, a flare unit model is developed in Microsoft Excel to calculate the equipment life cycle inventory (LCI). This LCI consists of mass and energy balances, equipment sizing, and utility demand for a chemical process represented by a CHEMCAD simulation.
In order to test the unit, a chemical process model for the manufacture of styrene from ethylbenzene is developed in CHEMCAD. This CHEMCAD simulation is then connected via data mapping to the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing the flare unit model. Specifically, the output from the gaseous waste stream of the styrene production process is connected to the flare unit, where the waste products are treated to minimize the harmful outputs, thus increasing the process sustainability. In this presentation, different scenarios associated with the connection of the flare unit to the styrene production process will be discussed towards a more sustainable process operation.