(429f) From Tool to Discipline- Developing a Model-Centric Process Engineering Culture

Morali, M., Washington University in St. Louis
Hemmer, G., SABIC
Process simulators and first-principles models are widely used in the commodity chemicals industry to drive process engineering and design activities. The applicability of these tools in the specialty chemicals and polymer industry is challenging due to inadequate fundamental thermodynamic and kinetic data for chemical systems of interest, complexity of chemistries practiced, utilization of batch and semi-batch operations and “non-traditional” unit operations and equipment. A successful application of a model-based approach can result in more robust scale-up efforts for new process development and provide fundamental insight to guide process optimization efforts for existing plant assets.

A model-centric approach aims to put first-principles models at the center of all process engineering activity. The layered approach involves integrating different sets of expertise such as applied thermodynamics and phase equilibria, experimental design, reaction engineering and computational chemistry with the goal of developing a core template for process development efforts and asset templates for plant support activities. The objective is to develop a fundamental understanding of existing assets and technologies practiced and to “de-risk” new process development. This presentation will touch upon the experience of developing such a program at SABIC Specialties.