Using Simulation and Digitalization for Modular Process Intensification


These tools enable engineers to create a digital twin of a process, which can be key to developing new technologies and testing them virtually at a rapid pace.

The chemical process industries (CPI) have been built upon two fundamental tenets: economies of scale and unit operations (1). Traditional chemical processing takes advantage of economies of scale by building large plants, which make better use of capital and resources. And, the processing steps are grouped into unit operations, which are combined like building blocks to design and build plants.

Recently, these tenets have been challenged by smaller plants that combine more than one function in a single piece of equipment — i.e., process intensification (PI) — and by the modularization of processing units. To exploit the capital, resource, safety, environmental, and other benefits of PI and modularization, engineers need to develop and test technologies at a rapid pace. Digitalization and simulation are key tools for virtually developing and testing intensified technologies.

Digitalization provides a new way of creating, sharing, storing, and analyzing data that enables an integrated engineering approach and eliminates the “silos” typical in many organizations. Simulation can play an important role in the creation of data, supplementing traditional data creation and collection via experimental methods.

This article demonstrates how these tools help achieve the broader goals of PI.

Author Bios: 

Ravindra Aglave

Ravindra Aglave, Phd, is the Director for Energy and Process Industries in the STS (Simulation & Test) sub-segment of Siemens (11000 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77042; Email:, where he is responsible for bringing new modeling and physics knowledge into simulation solutions that can be deployed in industry. He holds a PhD in natural sciences from the Univ. of Heidelberg (Germany), a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Univ. of Mumbai (India), and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the...Read more

John Lusty

John Lusty is the Global Industry Marketing Manager for the energy and utilities industry sector at Siemens PLM Software. He has over 25 years of industry experience that began in the operation and maintenance of capital facilities before transitioning to the software industry supporting the digitalization of an asset’s lifecycle. He has a BS in earth science from the Univ. of Guelph.

 ...Read more

John Nixon

John Nixon is Senior Director at Siemens PLM Software. He is responsible for developing and executing the strategic plan to grow and expand business and shape Siemens PLM Software product development priorities, technologies, and portfolio investments. He has more than 25 years of experience in global strategy, business development, and project management in Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Americas, in energy, mining, oil and gas, wastewater, and environmental reclamation. He has been awarded patents for pipeline repair technologies, has served on several boards for energy startups, and co-...Read more

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