A chemical plant is an industrial process plant that manufactures or otherwise processes chemicals , usually on a large scale. Other kinds of plants, such as polymer, pharmaceutical, food, and some beverage production facilities, power plants , oil refineries or other refineries , natural gas processing and biochemical plants, water and wastewater treatment, and pollution control equipment use many technologies that have similarities to chemical plant technology such as fluid systems and chemical reactor systems. Some would consider an oil refinery or a pharmaceutical or polymer manufacturer to be effectively a chemical plant. Petrochemical plants plants using chemicals from petroleum as a raw material or feedstock are usually located adjacent to an oil refinery to minimize transportation costs for the feedstocks produced by the refinery. Speciality chemical  and fine chemical plants are usually much smaller and not as sensitive to location. Tools have been developed for converting a base project cost from one geographic location to another. Chemical plants use chemical processes , which are detailed industrial-scale methods, to transform feedstock chemicals into products. The same chemical process can be used at more than one chemical plant, with possibly differently scaled capacities at each plant. Also, a chemical plant at a site may be constructed to utilize more than one chemical process, for instance to produce multiple products. A chemical plant commonly has usually large vessels or sections called units or lines that are interconnected by piping or other material-moving equipment which can carry streams of material. Such material streams can include fluids gas or liquid carried in piping or sometimes solids or mixtures such as slurries. An overall chemical process is commonly made up of steps called unit operations which occur in the individual units. A raw material going into a chemical process or plant as input to be converted into a product is commonly called a feedstock , or simply feed. In addition to feedstocks for the plant as a whole, an input stream of material to be processed in a particular unit can similarly be considered feed for that unit. Output streams from the plant as a whole are final products and sometimes output streams from individual units may be considered intermediate products for their units. However, final products from one plant may be intermediate chemicals used as feedstock in another plant for further processing. For example, some products from an oil refinery may used as feedstock in petrochemical plants, which may in turn produce feedstocks for pharmaceutical plants. Either the feedstock s , the product s , or both may be individual compounds or mixtures. It is often not worthwhile separating the components in these mixtures completely; specific levels of purity depend on product requirements and process economics. Chemical processes may be run in continuous or batch operation. In batch operation, production occurs in time-sequential steps in discrete batches. A batch of feedstock s is fed or charged into a process or unit, then the chemical process takes place, then the product s and any other outputs are removed. Such batch production may be repeated over again and again with new batches of feedstock. Batch operation is commonly used in smaller scale plants such as pharmaceutical or specialty chemicals production, for purposes of improved traceability as well as flexibility. Continuous plants are usually used to manufacture commodity or petrochemicals while batch plants are more common in speciality and fine chemical production as well as pharmaceutical active ingredient API manufacture. In continuous operation, all steps are ongoing continuously in time. During usual continuous operation, the feeding and product removal are ongoing streams of moving material, which together with the process itself, all take place simultaneously and continuously. Chemical plants or units in continuous operation are usually in a steady state or approximate steady state. Steady state means that quantities related to the process do not change as time passes during operation. Such constant quantities include stream flow rates , heating or cooling rates, temperatures , pressures , and chemical compositions at any given point location. Continuous operation is more efficient in many large scale operations like petroleum refineries. It is possible for some units to operate continuously and others be in batch operation in a chemical plant; for example, see Continuous distillation and Batch distillation. The amount of primary feedstock or product per unit of time which a plant or unit can process is referred to as the capacity of that plant or unit.
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