Project Integration

By Ron Kotrba | January 30, 2012

It’s something we’ve seen and heard a lot in the past few years. A corn ethanol plant hosts new, demonstration-scale cellulosic technology or algae propagation systems. A biodiesel plant integrates biobased chemical production. A pilot algae project works out a deal with a utility company to use the plethora of carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal on which the algae can feed to grow.

These sorts of integrative projects, largely pilot or demo units today, almost always involve two or more companies, various patented intellectual properties, trade secrets, EPC firms, contract negotiations and terms, and—you guessed it—lawyers. But there’s something else the project needs: a host that is willing to accept the risk.

Associate Editor Bryan Sims talks to several EPC contractors in his feature article, “Navigating the Nuances of Integration.” Doug Dudgeon, vice president of process industries for Harris Group Inc., tells Sims that a challenging aspect every EPC firm confronts during a project—whether an “inside the fence” retrofit or an “outside the fence” co-location approach is taken—is that the host facility is being asked to do something that’s not core to what it already does. Dudgeon continues, telling Sims, “They don’t know the market, they don’t know the process and it’s pretty hard to come up with a good reason for them to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take the risk.’” Check out the full story on page 14 of this issue.