Client Working Relationships
K-Tech works with clients through a multi-phase approach in applying one or more of its particular technologies for a site specific application or for the development of a technology in conjunction with the Client to accomplish specific objectives. After entering into a confidentiality agreement with the Client, the work usually proceeds as follows:
Phase 0 – Typically this is that starting step in many application development programs and basically serves as a “scoping” effort to determine the specific objectives of the Client and provide a general idea of the potential economic attractiveness of various alternatives, in the case of multiple process options or varied value-add opportunities. This also enables the Client to clearly establish the key objectives and goals for any continuing development.
This phase of the application development effort typically involves a desk study that examines, in more detail, the technical, marketing and economic aspects of adapting or retrofitting one of our technologies to a specific plant operation. Alternatively, we can establish the quantitative basis for the development tasks that would be associated with a combined Client/K-Tech effort.
The focus of this program is on the technical design using K-Tech separation concept expertise, and allows order of magnitude capital (±35-40%) and operating costs (±25-30%) to be estimated. The study can also include an overview of the product markets, and project financial analyses. The extent or “broadness” of the effort is determined by the Client and can typically range from a brief review to establish a “go-no go” decision, to a more expansive assessment based on in-house information or other sources of data. To support this effort, the program may also include limited laboratory tests to confirm a specific recovery response.
Phase 1 – Following the Phase 0 effort, the next stage is typically a laboratory or initial bench scale testing program that demonstrates whether the assumptions and conclusions reached in the Phase 0 studies can be borne out using actual samples of the Client’s feedstock, or alternatively prepared solutions meeting Client specifications. This work would provide more detailed information regarding recoveries, reagent use, equipment requirements, product purities, initial process configurations, and other site specific factors, as well as allow for the preparation of preliminary commercial level design criteria and establishment of improved capital (Class 4) and operating cost estimates.
This phase of the development effort typically involves a pre-feasibility study that examines, in more detail, the technical, marketing and economic aspects of adapting or retrofitting one of our technologies to a specific plant operation. Alternatively, we can establish the quantitative basis for the development requirements that would be associated with a combined Client/K-Tech effort.
The pre-feasibility study would generally contain the following elements:
- Laboratory testing results and process design criteria
- Process description
- Block flow diagrams with material balances
- Equipment list
- Site drawings
- Factored capital cost estimate (± 25-30%)
- Operating cost estimate (± 15-20%)
- Marketing section (if desired)
- Project economics (income/cash flow projections, IRR, etc.)
Phase 2 – Depending on the nature of the feedstocks and process requirements, as well as the size of the potential process systems, the next stage in the application development efforts would typically be a pilot plant testing program using small-scale equipment that would be arranged to simulate the key portions of the flow sheet of the proposed commercial plant. The results would be used to further refine the information developed in the Phase 1 work, and lead to final plant design criteria that would be used as a basis for the detailed engineering design of the commercial facility. This phase would also provide more definitive capital (Class 3) and operating cost estimates for the commercial facility; provide samples of the target product for customer analysis; and provide sufficient information to allow the Client’s management to seek approval and financing of the project.
- Detailed pilot plant summary and resulting refined design criteria
- Detailed process description
Process flow diagrams with material/heat balances
- P&ID diagrams
- 4-line equipment list
- Detailed site drawings
- Detailed general arrangement drawings
- 3-D modeling
- Capital cost estimate based on material take-offs (± 15-20%)
- Operating cost estimate (± 10-15%)
- Updated project economics
Typically the Company undertakes the more detailed engineering and cost estimates in Phase 2 with one or more specialty engineering and cost estimation partners.
Phase 3 – This involves the front-end and detailed engineering that would be performed during the engineering, procurement, construction and start-up programs for the commercial project, which would proceed as a result of favorable Phase 1 and 2 programs. In this phase of the project, K-Tech would function in a primary advisory and technical support role in the main engineering effort. The Company’s primary focus would be to ensure that the process technology package is properly engineered and installed, and that all key start-up parameters are achieved. During the EPC program, the Company would work on behalf of the project’s Owner and in close coordination with the EPCM contractor.
Depending on the situation and the Client’s requirements, sometimes the program Phases can be combined, e.g. Phase 0 and 1 can be conducted as a single, non-interrupted effort. Likewise, the Client may elect to proceed directly to a pilot plant program (Phase 2) after reviewing the Phase 0 results. The typical phases indicated above are merely general stages of a program and the final approach is determined in conjunction with the Client to achieve maximum economic and decision-making value from the effort.
If a Client proceeds into commercial production with one of K-Tech’s technologies, the parties would negotiate beforehand a mutually appropriate technology licensing agreement to cover all aspects of the technology application. Likewise, the arrangements associated with jointly developed technology would be established to clearly indicate each Party’s role in the effort.