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A producer of nylon 6,6 -- from intermediates to polymers, plastics and fibers -- St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. selected ProSimPlus HNO3 software to enhance the nitric acid production process at its Pensacola, Fla., plant.

Solutia operates a single nitric acid plant using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOX abatement. “We wanted to find simulation software that was tailored specifically for nitric acid plants,” says Solutia’s James Daniels, team leader of the manufacturing technology department.

The selected software is designed to address these types of processes by providing a specific thermodynamic package, including a database of the pure components involved in nitric acid production and nitrous vapors absorption; the appropriate thermodynamic models; and the correlations for calculation of reaction, dimerization or equilibrium constants.

The software eliminated the need for Solutia engineers to spend time modeling the complex chemistry and thermodynamics that occurs in the nitric acid manufacturing process. According to the developer, the software helped Solutia build an accurate simulation and become operational quickly.

When evaluating the software, the Solutia process engineer responsible for nitric acid technology modeled the existing process in order to validate the simulation results. “The comprehensive chemistry, the ease of use and the flexibility to model many different design scenarios convinced us of the capabilities of the software,” says Daniels.

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