Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. Techno-Economic Studies and Computer Modeling
 Computer Modeling

Techno-Economic Studies & Computer Modeling

Techno-Economic studies and computer modeling are an important component of the services at KPM and are fundamental for designing new processes and equipment. Key to the successful development of a process is the early identification of the key economic drivers, evaluation of the full scale project implementation costs (CAPEX/OPEX), the generation of a detailed process flow diagram (PFD), and preparation of the associated technology package documents. This techno-economic study can then be used to identify the key missing technical information and direct laboratory work in order to tackle the aspects with the most impact on the project viability. Sensitivity analysis is integral part of this work.
Without the direction provided by computer modeling, including thermochemical equilibria (FACT-SAGE) and heat and mass balance (MetSim), development can only be made through physical trial and error which is costly and impractical. Modeling also allows for the extrapolation of important data from bench-scale or pilot tests to larger scale processes. It can also assist with experimental design to determine which factors are critical to control or observe, establish optimal process conditions, and to help understand reaction mechanisms.
It is the way KPM combines techno-economic studies, computer modeling, and experimental work that allows us to provide the best value and the fastest turn-around from concept to implementation. We enjoy working on chemistry, but it is the economic potential of a proposed process or process modification that guides our work. Combining laboratory tests results, techno-economic evaluation, and process modelling allows for the development of a powerful process design package.
Techno-economic studies and computer modeling support project work at KPM by:
  • Evaluating the technical and economic viability of a project
  • Providing an early evaluation of the CAPEX and OPEX
  • Improving fundamental knowledge of chemistry involved in process
  • Facilitating design of experiments
  • Evaluating experimental results
  • Generating property measurements
  • Developing process controls and optimization
  • Developing a process design package

KPM provides the following services:


A techno-economic model developed at the early stage of a project is an invaluable means of ensuring that the project is well focussed and ultimately economically viable. The techno-economic model can be a first pass, high-level review of the project's economics and feasibility, or can include a more detailed OPEX/CAPEX evaluation, pre-selection of process units, and critical evaluation of the technical risks associated with the project. The benefits include:

  • Forcing the project team to think early on about the end goal and scope of the project.
  • Enabling early identification of cost and revenue drivers.
  • Providing early stage concept validation.
  • Assisting in directing and planning cost-effective laboratory/pilot-scale test-work.
  • Providing precursor information to bankable economic assessments

KPM is well known for its work with computational thermodynamics for research and development, using FACT-SAGE software and databases. Computational thermodynamics is used to help guide the experimental design, support trouble-shooting, and minimize the required number of experiments, reducing project costs and minimizing lead times.

Initial thermodynamic modeling includes producing custom plots for clients to enhance their understanding of their processes and the initial stages of experimental work. A model can then be developed to understand the reaction kinetics associated with the processes of the project.

Determining the heat and mass balances of a process is crucial to understanding metallurgical processes and developing effective flow sheets. METSIM and Excel spreadsheets are used to develop the balanced equation flow sheets of complex chemical processes involved in projects. METSIM software includes thermodynamic databases that are integrated to model both chemical and metallurgical processes, or may use external data (from FACT-SAGE or others).


KPM can integrate logistic modeling into process modeling to optimize the final capital and operating expenses of a project. Logistic modelling allows to identify the flow-sheet and plant lay-out weakness and to define opportunities for productivity improvements. It is a powerful tool which repeatedly demonstrated the power of the analytical process of logistic modelling. Interestingly, plant operators often underestimate the power of logistic modeling and feel that they know better how to optimize their operation. Logistic modelling is however unrivaled when comes for determination of optimal operating sequence, calculation of optimal required capacity, sizing of equipment, and identification of opportunities for productivity improvement. The model will determine where to invest time and effort, and how to minimize capital expenses in order to reach productivity improvement goals.


Finite element modeling (FEM) is generally used to determine the impact of design parameters on physical properties of a system. For example, FEM can determine temperature gradients, heat transfer and heat loss, it can simulate strain in components, as well as electric and magnetic fields. Gas, liquid, and solid flow can be accurately simulated. Finite element modeling (FEM) is generally used to explain plant observations and resolve operational issues, to answer specific questions related to a new design, or to confirm the impact of a proposed equipment design modification.