Feed Pump

The feed pump was calibrated against the vendor's pump curve by collecting volumes of ethanol from the pump discharge through the nitrogen purge valve. The results are shown in Figure 12.1 and indicate the pump performance is only slightly below expectation.

Figure 12.1 - Feed Pump Performance and Design Curve

Figure 12.1 - Feed Pump Performance and Design Curve

This test was repeated regularly to ensure that the pump speed could be used to accurately infer the feed rate. Unfortunately, a significant deterioration in performance was detected on several occasions indicating damage to the stator. Such damage could have initially been caused by operating the pump before the stator was sufficiently wetted but subsequent failures are suspected to be linked with material incompatibility. Neither Viton nor Buna-N (nitrile) stators provided sustained satisfactory performance. It was speculated that the failures could have been caused by acetic acid (created through oxidation of ethanol), trace amounts of benzene that were contained in the ethanol or trace amounts of hydrofluoric acid contained in the hydrocarbon from the Kwinana Refinery alkylation unit.

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