The purpose of this project is to consider and evaluate the economic attractiveness of a process producing 250,000 lb/h of acetic acid by the selective carbonylation of methanol via carbon monoxide with the use of an iridium tri-iodide catalyst. Initial cost estimates of this process will be completed prior to the completed rigorous design to ensure the process is economically viable and meets product specifications. A full cost analysis will then be made on the initial design to further verify the process will meet product specifications and is economically attractive to the business. A recommendation to continue investigating will be made based on the analysis of the investment cost and annual operating costs of this reaction/separation system.
An economic analysis was performed on the selected design. The total capital cost for this project is $145 million, with a yearly utility and incremental cost of $62 million and $90 million, respectively. The required ten-year return on investment was found to be 15%, when the Acetic Acid is sold at a price of $437 /ton. When the Acetic Acid is sold at $745/ton (achieves 15% 1-year ROI), an ROI of 547% is achieved for a 10-year period. In order to achieve a five-year ROI of 15%, the selling price of Acetic Acid is only increased to roughly $455/ton.