Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
The inefficiency of the battery charging time in Inbatec Units 1 and 2 in the Exide Technologies Fort Smith was initially investigated by a student team in Fall 2019, and the investigation was continued into Spring 2020. The Exide Technologies facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas utilizes 13 Inbatec units to charge the lead-acid batteries. The Inbatec systems circulate the sulfuric acid solution through a cooling tower to maintain to optimal charging temperature. Previous analysis of the charging process for Inbatec Units 1 and 2 show the cooling tower have the capacity to quickly remove the excess heat in the sulfuric acid solution and to reduce the solution temperature to 120°F. As a result of the Fall 2019 student team, the Spring 2020 Exide Student Team was able to identify the source of the battery charging inefficiency. However, the control scheme of the Inbatec units prevent a constant flowrate to the top of the cooling tower. The recommended modification to the Inbatec Unit 1 is to change the control scheme of Y05. The movement of the pneumatic valve Y05 is hardwired into the Inbatec system and is unable to be altered. Therefore, the modifications to test the solution are as follows: the installation of a bypass (Stream B) around valve Y05 and an increased flowrate throughout the system. The estimated investment is approximately $283. The implementation of the bypass valve in Unit 1 will save Exide Technologies approximately 1,495 battery charging hours annually. The time saved could be used to charge 265 additional batteries, generating an additional $479,120 per year in revenue for Inbatec Unit 1. If the bypass were implemented in both units, the number of batteries that could be charged in the saved time would be doubled and the design modification would generate $958,240 in revenue annually.
Hou, S., Gilker, R., Fairley, M., Christian, S., & Latouche, C. (2020). Solution to Exide Technologies Inbatec Inefficiency. Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/cheguht/171