(106c) Systematic Process Intensification Using Building Block Approach

Hasan, M. M. F., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Li, J., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Demirel, S. E., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Though research on process intensification has brought about many promising technologies including reactive distillation, divided wall columns, membrane reactors and task integrated columns, there is a lack of systematic methods for the identification and optimization of intensification alternatives at the flowsheet and equipment levels. Current superstructure-based process synthesis relies on pre-specified configurations and is unable to automatically construct novel equipment configurations for intensification. In this work, we depart from the classical unit operation-based representation of process units, flowsheets and superstructures and propose a new representation using fundamental building blocks which leads to a systematic method for simultaneous process design, synthesis and intensification. These building blocks can be associated with different process phenomena. An assembly of blocks of the same type obtains a classical unit, while an assembly of blocks with different types results in an intensified unit. This allows to systematically identify and incorporate many intensification pathways using a general block-based superstructure at the equipment and flowsheet levels. We obtain the intensified process by optimizing a performance metric for given raw materials and product specifications, material properties and bounds on flow rates. The overall intensification problem is formulated using a single mixed-integer nonlinear optimization (MINLP) model which is solved using commercial solvers. In this presentation, we will demonstrate the applicability of our approach using several process design and intensification case studies.


[1] Demirel, S.E., Li, J., Hasan, M.M.F. Systematic Process Intensification using Building Blocks. Submitted to Computers & Chemical Engineering.