MCPI – The Business Case for Modular Chemical Process Intensification

RT-373 Topic Summary
RT 373


For some, combining modularization with process intensification has resulted in a rethinking of plant design. Modular Chemical Process Intensification (MCPI) has recently emerged as a strategic opportunity for some chemical manufacturers to gain a stepwise advantage over their competitors.

This project was a collaboration between the RAPID Module Manufacturing Focus Area (MMFA) and CII with the goal of evaluating the business case for MCPI. The Downstream and Chemicals Sector Committee co-sponsored this project.

RT-373 examined the learnings from early MCPI application case studies, comparing the MCPI case against historically market-dominant conventional stick-built projects and examining differences in project scope and cost drivers. The research objective was to model the total cost of ownership for scaling up via MCPI, and the team applied this model to four RAPID projects, evaluating the business case for MCPI by calculating capital expenditures, operating expenses, net present value, payback periods, and project duration, among other indicators.

This research was important for promoting efficiency gains in the chemicals manufacturing sector. The project captured lessons the RAPID Institute had learned about module manufacturing activities and provided a rationale for numbering up via MCPI. Moving forward, this research will help RAPID to apply a consistent means for quantifying the costs involved in MCPI as well as helping the MMFA understand cost drivers as impediments to MCPI adoption.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Studying four distinct project types

In order to get a representative survey of the total cost of ownership for scaling up via MCPI, and RT-373 applied the MCPI model to four distinct types of projects:

  • Case Study 1:  Specialty Chemicals Production
  • Case Study 2:  Carbon-Free Distributed Commodity Production
  • Case Study 3:  Distributed Commodity Gas Production
  • Case Study 4:  Distributed Natural Gas Processing

RT-373 developed an MCPI Conceptual Cost Model and validated it across the four case studies. Details will be included in the team’s final report (FR-373, in press).

Reference: (FR-373)

Key Performance Indicators

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Achieving Capital Efficiency with Modular Chemical Process Intensification

Publication Date: 08/2021 Presenter: Number of Slides: 32 Event Code: JC21