The Fluor engineering team used knowledge from its conceptual study for a greenfield plant to evaluate a retrofit of the Okeechobee facility. After determining how to make best use of the existing equipment and systems, Fluor developed a plan to upgrade the facility in two phases. These supported scale-up of the LS9 process in parallel with engineering of the larger-scale retrofit.
Phase 1 was an upgrade of the existing seed fermenters to accommodate the LS9 proprietary organisms and to allow small-scale separation of products with portable equipment. The upgrade was approximately a 6X scale-up of the LS9 pilot facility in South San Francisco. Phase 2 included installation of a 35,000-gallon fermenter and retrofit of the existing plant to full downstream operations for production of UltraClean Diesel.
Fluor repurposed and retrofitted the existing equipment and controls onsite and purchased used equipment where possible, to keep project costs down while ensuring a functional demonstration facility. The existing automation system was utilized as much as possible and augmented with new systems as needed.
Fluor engineering was completed in less than six months. At the same time, work continued on development of LS9 processes in response to LS9's ongoing modifications.