(143b) Building Block-Based Design and Intensification of Chemical Processes

Authors: 
Demirel, S. E., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Li, J., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Hasan, M. M. F., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Process intensification provides means for more sustainable, cost effective, smaller and safer designs compared to their conventional counterparts [1-2]. Often times, intensification is realized through capturing the synergy between different process phenomena. Identification of such intensification opportunities can be facilitated through a departure from unit-operation-based design paradigm which has been the modus operandi since the last century. Accordingly, several process intensification methods have been developed in the past that rely on process phenomena, mass/heat exchange modules and/or tasks [3-4]. However, it remains a challenge to systematically identify the optimal intensified flowsheets for a given design problem. To this end, our recently proposed building block-based approach [5] provides unique advantages for systematic process design and intensification [6-8]. In this work, we will show that this representation approach leads to an optimization-based systematic method for process intensification. Unlike the traditional superstructure-based approaches, our proposed building block superstructure relies on physicochemical phenomena to automatically generate optimal intensified flowsheets. It is formed by building blocks positioned on a two-dimensional grid and connectivity between the blocks is obtained through inter-block mass and energy transfer. By using either single or multiple building blocks, many physicochemical phenomena can be represented. This results in a mixed-integer nonlinear optimization (MINLP)-based model that describes the superstructure. We will demonstrate the benefits of the building block-based design approach in terms of systematic process intensification through several case studies. Special focus will be given to intensification of natural gas utilization systems, energy-intensive separations, and reactive separation processes.

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[6] Li, J., Demirel, S.E. and Hasan, M.M.F., 2018. Process synthesis using block superstructure with automated flowsheet generation and optimization. AIChE Journal, 64(8), 3082-3100.

[7] Li J., Demirel S.E., Hasan M.M.F. Process Integration using Block Superstructure. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2018, 57: 4377–4398.

[8] Li J., Demirel S.E., Hasan M.M.F. Fuel Gas Network Synthesis Using Block Superstructure. Processes. 2018, 6(3): 23.