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Techno-economic analysis

Techno-economic analysis helps answer important questions like:

  • Is this technology profitable in its current state?

  • How much do we need to improve to reach our profitability goals?

  • Which parameters should our R&D program focus on first?

  • How sensitive are the process economics to market fluctuations?

A good techno-economic model is also a tool for better understanding your technology. It lets you visually explore the relationships between process parameters and economic factors. It integrates everything you currently know about the science, the engineering, and the market.

Chris approaches techno-economic modeling with a software developer’s mindset. His models are user-friendly, modular, and well documented. He is an expert with Microsoft Excel and Visual Basic, and is well versed in using several process simulators. With the techniques, software, resources, and templates that he has developed over 10+ years of practice and study, he is able to quickly and cost-effectively get companies answers to their most important questions.

"The model Chris built for us went beyond a simple capital or expense estimate, and instead gave us a tool for gaining immediate insights over a range of scale-up scenarios. We would recommend any process-driven startup work with Chris to model the economics of their scaled process."

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Techno-economic modeling package

Ideal applications:

  • Lab or bench scale technologies being evaluated or optimized for scale-up and commercialization.

  • Companies seeking to better understand and optimize the economics of existing technologies.

  • Economic analysis for obtaining funding (industry, SBIR, academic).

  • Investors evaluating technologies as investment opportunities.


  • Techno-economic model with graphical user interface.

With integrated process model, operating cost estimation, and capital cost estimation.

Capital estimates are typically AACE Class 4 (minus 15-30% to plus 30-50%).

  • Profitability and sensitivity analysis.

Includes Tornado Diagram, highlighting highest impact economic and process parameters.

  • Process flow diagram 

Industry standard. Showing major equipment, utilities, and streams.

  • Techno-economic analysis report

Includes discussion of results & implications, recommended areas of focus & improvement.


  • Typically 1-3 week, depending on process complexity and stage of development.

Techno-economic optimization

Burk Engineering's techno-economic optimization services can take a variety of forms, depending on the needs of the individual client.  Common services include:


  • Economic evaluation of alternative process configurations.

  • Process optimization.

  • Experimental design consulting for scale-up and to address areas of uncertainty in process economics.

  • Addressing economic through market & vendor research.

  • Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate sensitivity to market fluctuations.

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Techno-economic analysis

Process engineering

Burk Engineering offers conceptual engineering and basic engineering design services to help companies speed their technologies along the road to commercialization. Critical milestones in these phases include deciding on a process design, developing progressively more accurate cost estimates, and producing industry-standard engineering documentation to set the stage for moving forward.

Burk Engineering helps companies bridge the gap leading up to detailed engineering and fabrication. There are many EPC firms to choose from, but without sufficient basic engineering, it is almost impossible to make an educated decision. Chris has worked for EPC firms fabricating pilot plants and he has worked with technology companies bidding out projects, so he understands both sides of the equation. He can help you to efficiently navigate this process and to objectively decide on an option that meets your technical and financial goals.

"Chris provided high-quality, cost-effective design services and was able to quickly come up to speed on new aspects of the project. He was attentive, responsive to our needs, and a natural fit with our engineering team. We'll definitely be working with him again."

Phil Michael, PE

VP Engineering & Product Development, New Sky Energy

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Conceptual engineering

The first step in getting a technology out of the lab is to decide on the process that will surround it. This is a critical decision and there are many factors to consider. Chris will work closely with your team to understand your technology and vision, and then to identify and evaluate the most promising options. He will also help you identify areas of uncertainty and how to address them, either through research or experimentation. Techno-economic modeling integrates well with this phase.

When a process design has been chosen, the engineering documentation developed will set the stage for efficiently moving forward into basic engineering design.


  • Process design options analysis

  • High-level process flow diagrams

  • High-level material & energy balances

  • Preliminary process modeling

  • Preliminary capital & operating cost estimates

  • Process design recommendation

  • Experimental design consulting

Basic engineering design

In basic engineering design, the process surrounding your technology is progressively better defined, in the form of engineering diagrams, mathematical models, and specifications. Chris works with your team at each stage to make sure that the design stays in line with your company’s goals. The end result is a higher accuracy cost estimate, and a completed basic engineering design package, which contains all the documentation necessary to efficiently bid out detailed engineering and construction to EPC firms.



  • Design basis

  • Process & control narratives

  • Process hazard mitigation strategy

  • Process flow diagram

  • Process model with material & energy balance

  • Preliminary P&IDs

  • Materials of construction

  • Equipment type research & selection

  • Equipment list with basic specifications

  • Preliminary instrument list

  • Raw material & preliminary utility requirements

  • Operating labor requirements

  • Cost estimate (typically ±30%)

  • Expected project timeline

  • EPC firm evaluation support

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Process engineering
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