Pilot plant


Pilot plant

A pilot plant is a small chemical processing system which is operated to generate information about the behavior of the system for use in design of larger facilities.

Pilot plants are used to reduce the risk associated with construction of large process plants. They do this in two ways:

*They are substantially less expensive to build than full-scale plants. The business does not put as much capital at risk on a project that may be inefficient or unfeasible. Further, design changes can be made more cheaply at the pilot scale and kinks in the process can be worked out before the large plant is constructed.
*They provide valuable data for design of the full-scale plant. Scientific data about reactions, material properties, corrosiveness, for instance, may be available, but it is difficult to predict the behavior of a process of any complexity. Engineering data from other process may be available, but this data can not always be clearly applied to the process of interest. Designers use data from the pilot plant to refine their design of the production scale facility.

If a system is well defined and the engineering parameters are known, pilot plants are not used. For instance, a business that wants to expand production capacity by building a new plant that does the same thing as an existing plant may choose to not use a pilot plant.

Additionally, advances in process simulation on computers have increased the confidence of process designers and reduced the need for pilot plants. However, they are still used as even state-of-the-art simulation cannot accurately predict the behavior of complex systems.

Pilot plant is a relative term in the sense that plants are typically smaller than production scale plants, but are built in a range of sizes. Some pilot plants are built in laboratories using stock lab equipment. Others are constructed of fabricated metal on dedicated concrete slabs and cost millions of dollars.

After data is collected from operation of a pilot plant, a larger production scale facility may be built. Alternatively, a demonstration plant, which is bigger than a pilot plant, but smaller than commercial plant, may be built to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the process. Businesses sometimes continue to operate the pilot plant in order to test ideas for new products, new feedstocks, or different operating conditions. Alternatively, they may be operated as production facilities, augmenting production from the main plant.

See also

* Mass production


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pilot plant — UK US noun [C] PRODUCTION ► a small factory that is built as a model to test systems and processes before building other similar factories : »Stevenson said she is close to completing the deal and hopes to have a pilot plant up and running by… …   Financial and business terms

  • pilot plant — an experimental industrial plant in which processes or techniques planned for use in full scale operation are tested in advance. [1935 40] * * * pilot plant, the equipment necessary to carry out on a small scale for test purposes a process for… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pilot plant — eksperimentinis įrenginys statusas T sritis radioelektronika atitikmenys: angl. pilot plant vok. Modellanlage, f; Pilotanlage, f; Versuchsanlage, f rus. опытная установка, f pranc. installation pilote, f …   Radioelektronikos terminų žodynas

  • pilot plant — bandomasis įrenginys statusas T sritis Standartizacija ir metrologija apibrėžtis Įrenginys kam nors išbandyti. atitikmenys: angl. pilot plant vok. Pilotanlage, f; Versuchsanlage, f; Versuchsaufbau, m rus. опытная установка, f;… …   Penkiakalbis aiškinamasis metrologijos terminų žodynas

  • pilot plant — bandomasis įrenginys statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Nedidelis pusiau pramoninis įrenginys naujam technologiniam procesui bandyti. atitikmenys: angl. pilot plant rus. опытная установка; пилотная установка; полузаводская установка …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Pilot Plant — Pi|lot Plant [ paɪlət plant; engl. pilot = Lotse, Führer, Flugzeugführer u. plant = Fabrik, Pflanze], das; s, s: in der chem. Technologie Bez. für eine Versuchsanlage, in der die im chem. Laboratorium u. ↑ Technikum entwickelten Reaktions u.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • pilot-plant — piˈlot plant noun Prototype machinery set up to begin a new process • • • Main Entry: ↑pilot …   Useful english dictionary

  • pilot plant — /ˈpaɪlət plænt/ (say puyluht plant) noun a small industrial plant in which processes planned for full scale operation are tested in advance to eliminate problems, etc …   Australian English dictionary

  • pilot plant — an experimental industrial plant in which processes or techniques planned for use in full scale operation are tested in advance. [1935 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • pilot plant — experimental facility, trial plant …   English contemporary dictionary


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