A method for estimating the capital cost of chemical process plants : fuzzy matching

2012-12-11T16:42:31Z (GMT) by Gary J. Petley
The purpose of this thesis is to improve the 'art' of early capital cost estimation of chemical process plants. Capital cost estimates are required in the early business planning and feasibility assessment stages of a project, in order to evaluate viability and to compare the economics of the alternative processes and operating conditions that are under consideration for the plant. There is limited knowledge about a new plant in the early stages of process development. Nevertheless, accurate cost estimates are needed to prevent incorrect decisions being made, such as terminating the development of a would-be profitable plant. The published early capital cost estimation methods are described. The methods are grouped into three types of estimate: exponent, factorial and functional unit. The performance of these methods when used to estimate the capital costs of chemical plants is assessed. A new estimating method is presented. This method was developed using the same standard regression techniques as used in the published methods, but derived from a new set of chemical plant data. The effect that computers have had on capital cost estimating and the future possibilities for the use of the latest computer techniques are assessed. This leads to the fuzzy matching technique being chosen to develop a new method for capital cost estimation. The results achieved when using fuzzy matching to estimate the capital cost of chemical plants are presented. These results show that the new method is better than those that already exist. Finally, there is a brief discussion of how fuzzy matching could be applied in the future to other fields of chemical engineering.