The next generation of process engineers will face a new set of challenges, with the need to devise new bioprocesses, with high selectivity for pharmaceutical manufacture, and for lower value chemicals manufacture based on renewable feedstocks. In this paper the current and predicted future roles of process system engineering and life cycle inventory and assessment in the design, development and improvement of sustainable bioprocesses are explored. The existing process systems engineering software tools will prove essential to assist this work. However, the existing tools will also require further development such that they can also be used to evaluate processes against sustainability metrics, as well as economics as an integral part of assessments. Finally, property models will also be required based on compounds not currently present in existing databases. It is clear that many new opportunities for process systems engineering will be forthcoming in the area of integrated bioprocesses.
Computers and Chemical Engineering, 2010, Vol 34, Issue 7, p. 1009-1017