(270b) A Systematic Methodology for Sustainability Assessment in the Design of Chemical/Energy Production Systems

Authors: 
Li, X., Lamar University
Lou, H., Lamar University
Zanwar, A., Lamar University
Jayswal, A., Lamar University


The value of sustainable development has been well recognized by the industries and the societies. The quest of incorporating sustainability into product and process design urges designers to come with solutions to radically reduce resource use, while increasing the health, equity, and quality of life for all stakeholders. During the design of chemical/energy production systems, the selection of a sustainable process design solution at an early stage will help eliminate undesirable routes thus save the designers tremendous amount of time and energy. Over the past decade, a variety of sustainability indicators at different levels of systems hierarchy have been introduced. However, how to quantify the sustainability of the systems and how to use the assessment result to guide design remains very challenging due to the multi-dimensional nature of the indices.

This paper will present a sustainability assessment method incorporating economic, environmental, societal and efficiency concerns. In conjunction with a multi-criteria decision-analysis method, this methodology will provide critical guidance to design for sustainability. The efficacy of this methodology will be demonstrated through a case study on biodiesel production processes.