The importance of the effective and timely communication of know-how and technical information is highlighted in practically all project techno-economic-chemical-design-technology-improvement guidelines and project critiques.  An approach to project implementation that focuses on facilitating communication promises to streamline knowledge flow and directly influence efficiency throughout all stages of the project.

docsDuring the chemistry, conceptual, and process development in the early FEL-stages, fundamental knowledge of the process, pilot plant design, and operation is established.  This process-specific knowledge, especially when combined with a breadth of chemical industry experience, creates a significant potential source of value that can be tapped during technology transfers throughout the project.  In a typical project a FEL-1 or 2 provider turns over a package of technical data to a (FEL-3) process engineering firm, who, in-turn, passes a design package to an EPC firm, whom then finally turns over the reins to the client/owner.  This approach leaves many opportunities for miscommunication, loss of implementation efficiency, etc.

Creating an active project role for a “Knowledge Custodian” – a technology/chemistry/process expert that will follow the process through all stages of project development from conceptualization through to start-up and operation – presents opportunity to improve communication and increase project implementation success. 

Such a “Knowledge Custodian” will act as a process technology caretaker to significantly improve the probability of a successful project and secure work process efficiency saving.

Opportunity to improve knowledge transfer and facilitate communication achieved with a Knowledge Custodian include:

  1. The perception of “ownership” by project technical personnel is important to drive the project to success. Project ownership is fostered by involving key technical people in the project from formative stages through to commercial implementation.
  2. Know-how developed in FEL-0 and FEL-1 is effectively incorporated in the development of FEL-2, and is efficiently transferred to FEL-3 (Process Design) and then to EPC to optimize performance of the project and streamline the timeline for process engineering and operations implementation.

Mid-Atlantic Technology Research and Innovation (MATRIC) has established a reputation for developing early-stage chemistry and process technology fundamentals.  Extending the availability of this knowledge during all phases of technology transfer (“Knowledge Custodian” role) over the course of the project significantly improves communication and streamlines the transfer of technology.  More successful project implementation and shorter implementation times result by applying this approach.  While large chemical companies with significant in-house R&D resources have had opportunity to apply similar approaches to projects, this has been done only sporadically.  We propose this approach as a routine, planned project implementation work process, and demonstrate how early-stage technology development resources such as at MATRIC can bring these project advantages to start-up and/or smaller-sized chemical company’s projects.

For more information, contact Bill Etzkorn.