(68c) NSF Funding Opportunities for Fundamental Research on Modular Chemical Process Systems

Mountziaris, T. J., National Science Foundation
This presentation will focus on NSF’s vision and funding opportunities for fundamental research related to Modular Chemical Process Systems (MCPS). MCPS have emerged as a potentially transformative concept, powered by the implementation of principles of Process Intensification (PI), that can yield substantial economic and environmental benefits for certain applications, when compared to traditional chemical plants. For example, MCPS can enable rapid deployment of new chemical and energy technologies, take advantage of geographically scattered feedstocks, and provide autonomous operation. Additional potential benefits of MCPS include reduced capital cost, improved handling of variations in feedstock supply rate and composition, reduced plant down-time, higher energy efficiency, increased safety, and waste minimization. Successful implementation of this new chemical manufacturing paradigm at commercial scales depends on the development of novel conceptual designs based on PI, a fundamental understanding of the underlying complex chemical and physical processes taking place in intensified process units, the development of methods for cost-effective manufacturing of modules, and the development of algorithms for real-time optimization and control of MCPS. This is an opportunity for convergent fundamental research using principles from process systems engineering, catalysis, reaction engineering, molecular thermodynamics, separations, transport phenomena, data science, and smart/additive manufacturing.