(42i) Efficient Separation-Process Synthesis
Separation processes are integral to chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and gas separation industries. These processes usually account for close-to 40-70% of chemical plant costs. Despite the huge costs involved, industrially, separation sequences are built using the experience and intuition of a few engineers. This has created a need for the development of tools that systematically identify attractive candidates for separation, and we address this need in this research work, focusing on distillation. Our research work is divided into two parts. In the first part, we expand and generate the search space of possible distillation configurations by introducing hitherto unknown configurations such as basic configurations, heat and mass integrated configurations, dividing wall columns, etc. In the second part, we globally optimize the entire generated search space of configurations to determine their minimum heat duty, overall costs, exergy loss, etc. This systematic procedure allows an industrial practitioner to screen unwanted configurations, and concentrate only on a handful of useful configurations for further design considerations.