Acid plant modelling


The following case illustrates an example where we modelled the factors influencing sulphur recovery for an acid plant in Australia. The model was turned into a daily planning tool that allowed the plant operators to pro-actively mitigate wastage and to maximise the recovery of sulphur from the feed gas.

A large fertiliser manufacturer in Australia owned an acid production plant that received its primary “raw material” (sulphurous gas) from the waste gas of a large smelter operating nearby.


The challenge for the acid plant was to maximise the capture and conversion of the smelter gas. In order to maximise conversion, a detailed understanding was required of the link between the plant production “levers” and the plant conversion rate. Although the plant had been in operation a long time, a quantified understanding was lacking within the organisation. 


Quantalytic conducted a comprehensive data mining and modelling exercise to extract a mathematical model of the plant. The figure on the right illustrates how closely the model fits the actual measured plant “wastage rate” over a 24 hour time period. It can be noted that the model provided an extremely accurate prediction of the plant behaviour, which indicated that it was reliable.


The modelling process established an accurate, mathematical link between various production “levers” within the plant and the overall plant conversion rate. The model quantified exactly which areas within the plant and the smelter were contributing to variation in plant conversion. 

As a result of the analysis, a number of design issues with the automatic control system of the plant were highlighted and specific recommendations were made as to how these controls could be modified to yield up to a 50% reduction in wasted sulphur.


Following the analysis, Quantalytic built a software planning tool incorporating the model of plant conversion rate that allowed for sophisticated, yet simple intra-day planning by the plant operators.