2023 Design and Research Conference

Chemical Engineering Senior Projects

Integrated Engineering and Science Building 212.

Advisor: Dr. James Palmer

1:00 p.m.

Production and Optimization of Ammonia, Urea, and Ammonium Nitrate

Team Members: Jesutomisin Ajayi, Kaley Fontenot, McKenzie Walker

Using a simulation program, a chemical plant process to produce ammonia, urea, and ammonium nitrate was created. These products are used as components in fertilizer that help support agriculture. These teams researched production processes for all of these components to find data containing the operating conditions needed to simulate the process accurately. Each team established a base case using the methods found in the literature and set the net present value (NPV) to carry out each production. They then created various optimizations of the base case process to establish the optimal conditions that will increase the net present value of the plant to its highest potential.

1:30 p.m.

Design and Optimization of an Industrial-Scale Fertilizer Plant

Team Members: Kyle Deas, Brady Duplessis, Ethan Millet

On February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in the closure of a 2.5 million metric ton/year ammonia pipeline. This caused ammonia prices – which were already elevated – to increase even further. Around 70 percent of the ammonia produced globally is used to create fertilizer, meaning this pipeline closure could impact food availability across the world. In response to this metric, our group has been tasked with designing a 1.2 million metric ton/year synthetic ammonia plant. Additionally, we have designed downstream plants that synthesize urea and ammonium nitrate from the ammonia precursor. These compounds are among the most widely used nitrogenous fertilizers, with each having its own uses. Applying the principles of chemical engineering practice, our team has optimized our ammonia and fertilizer plants to be profitable, safe, and environmentally responsible.

2:00 p.m.

Economic Evaluation of Urea and Ammonia Nitrate Production

Team Members: Matthew Guillot, Lucas Lanier, Timm McNeese

For this project, we designed a chemical plant that uses syngas to produce ammonia, which will then be used for making the desired products: urea and ammonia nitrate. We then performed optimizations to maximize revenue and NPV for a realistic plant operation.

2:30 p.m.

Fertilizer Plant

Team Members: Caylee Collier, Rose Emery, Cameron Folse

Aiming to take advantage of fluctuations in the fertilizer market due to the Ukraine-Russia Conflict, our team was tasked with designing a plant that produces urea and ammonium nitrate from natural gas, nitric acid, and air. Natural gas and air are used to produce syngas (a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen), which is fed to our ammonia plant. Our intermediate, ammonia, is then split into two streams. One stream is fed to our urea plant, and the other is fed to our ammonium nitrate plant. We determined the split ratio by whichever split maximized our profit. Our syngas plant produces a large amount of a harmful byproduct, carbon dioxide. In order to reduce its environmental impact, we use the syngas carbon dioxide product stream to feed our urea plant. We then optimized all three plants (ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea) to maximize our overall profit.

3:00 p.m.

Synthesis and Optimization of Ammonia, Ammonium Nitrate, and Urea Processes

Team Members: Haeleigh Galliand, Ryan McKamie, Jasmine Sikand

Ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea are the main components of nitrogen-based fertilizers. Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of fertilizers and as the war between these two countries continues, the supply decreases. The introduction of a United States-based fertilizer plant would mitigate the impact of the loss of Ukrainian and Russian fertilizers. Louisiana Tech Chemical Engineering students were asked to design a process that produced 1.2 metric tons per year of ammonia from synthetic gas. The ammonia was then used to form both ammonium nitrate and urea. The process was designed and simulated using ChemCAD and was costed in Excel with equations developed by Turton, Schaeiwitz, Bhattacharyya, and Whiting (2018). Research was done to find reaction rates, kinetics, and thermodynamics to validate each process. Optimizations were done to improve the overall process.

3:30 p.m.

Synthesis and Economic Optimization of Ammonia and Urea Production Processes

Team Members: Panayiotis Loizou, Leevi Morris

Ammonia and urea are two necessary constituents of nitrogen-based fertilizers. In 2022, Russian forces invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine. These two countries are major suppliers of both components in the global market, and, while the war rages on between them, the export of ammonia and urea decreases. In an effort to combat this rising issue, Louisiana Tech Chemical Engineering students were tasked with designing a process that produced 1.2 metric tons of ammonia per year from synthetic gas (syngas) containing the carbon and nitrogen necessary for the reaction. This syngas was created from natural gas through methane steam reforming while the nitrogen is created by separating it from the air. These two components are combined and are then sent to the ammonia process as syngas. This ammonia product was sent to the urea process along with carbon dioxide captured from the syngas production process. Research was conducted to determine the necessary kinetics and thermodynamics to validate these models. These processes were modeled using ChemCAD software, optimized using Microsoft Excel, and priced using equations from Turton, Schaeiwitz, Bhattacharyya, and Whiting (2018).

Integrated Engineering and Science Building 214.

Advisor: Dr. James Palmer

1:00 p.m.

The Production/Optimization of Nitrogen-Based Fertilizer Plants

Team Members: Paul Macip, Grace Tichenor, Abigail Turner

Given a general simulation model for an ammonia syngas plant, we constructed and validated an ammonia synthesis plant to produce 1.2 million metric tons of ammonia to send to an ammonium nitrate and a urea plant. After we successfully design and validated an ammonia plant, ammonium nitrate plant, and urea plant, we conducted an economic analysis of the systems to determine the overall net present values of each process. Once we completed the accurate economic analysis, we implemented process optimizations to increase the economical net present value of each system. Using a benchmark of 1.2 million metric tons of ammonia production, we calculated the raw material, revenue, utility, and operating costs, along with the fixed capital costs for the equipment involved in each of the processes. We also calculated adequate sizing and costing values using values directly outputted from the ChemCAD simulation models for each of the systems. In addition to the economic analysis and process optimization, we analyzed environmental and process safety impacts to conclude the project.

1:30 p.m.

Production of Ammonia, Urea, and Ammonium Nitrate for the Thriving Fertilizer Industry

Team Members: Aaron Dougherty, Brennan O’Laughlin, Keith Watson

For this project, we created an industrial-grade fertilizer plant that produces ammonia, urea, and ammonium nitrate while prioritizing safety, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. Our team has developed a comprehensive model of the plant, analyzed the chemical processes, and determined the optimal operating conditions. We have considered various factors, such as the cost of raw materials, energy, labor, and the environmental impact of the plant’s operation. Our team has balanced these factors to optimize the plant’s operation, ensuring that it operates efficiently and sustainably. We have also prioritized safety, minimizing the risk of CO2 impact that could harm the environment. This project has provided valuable insights into the production of industrial-grade fertilizers while addressing the growing demand for sustainable and cost-effective fertilizers.

2:00 p.m.

Ammonium Nitrate and Urea Synthesis from Natural Gas

Team Members: Christopher Cambre, Brennan Hebert, Grace Landry

Natural gas is a naturally occurring fossil fuel that is composed primarily of methane (CH4), along with small amounts of other hydrocarbons and impurities. Ammonia syngas, a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide, is a crucial feedstock to produce ammonia, a derivation from natural gas. The production of ammonia syngas involves a complex series of steps, including gasification, purification, and compression. This process requires advanced technologies, expertise in chemical engineering and chemistry, and a commitment to sustainability and safety. The production of ammonia involves an intricate process known as the Haber-Bosch process. The team utilizes ammonia as a feedstock to produce nitric acid, urea, and ammonium nitrate. The production of ammonium nitrate is a multifaceted and highly controlled process that requires a deep understanding of chemistry and engineering. Ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer provides essential nitrogen to crops and helps to increase yields and improve crop quality. Urea is a nitrogen-containing organic compound that is widely used as a fertilizer in agriculture. Despite its environmental and energy challenges, the production of urea remains a critical process for meeting the growing demand for food and other products around the world.

2:30 p.m.

Solution to the Fertilizer Crisis: Ammonia, Ammonium Nitrate, and Urea

Team Members: Noah Beeson, Sean Caffery, Aaron Robinson

Because of the war in Ukraine, fertilizer has become drastically more expensive. Why? Russia is the world’s second-largest ammonia producer. In our presentation, we propose a solution to this issue. We have simulated, cost out, and justified four different production plants for different products – the first of which is taking natural gas and turning it into syngas. Next, we worked to take syngas and turn it into ammonia. Third and fourth, we took ammonia and turned it into different fertilizers, urea, and ammonium nitrate.

3:00 p.m.

Design and Synthesis of Nitrogen-Based Fertilizer Process

Team Members: Caroline Jones, Meghan Nash, Adrienne Talbot

The ongoing instability caused by the Russia-Ukraine war has led to a decline in the production of fertilizer and has increased the price of fertilizer worldwide. Nitrogen-based fertilizer is commonly made with a base component of ammonia; for this project, we focused on two common fertilizer products: ammonium nitrate and urea. Louisiana Tech Chemical Engineering students were tasked with designing ammonia, urea, and ammonium nitrate facilities to increase global fertilizer production. The ammonia plant must produce 1.2 million metric tons which will then be split into urea and ammonium nitrate plants, respectively. We designed the process using Microsoft Excel and ChemCAD, along with research completed to find kinetics and thermodynamics for each respective process. Once we created the process, we completed optimizations by changing raw material feeds, equipment costs, and materials chosen. We will present process hazards, economics, and overall systems.