1 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 CAPEC-PROCESS, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Center for Process Engineering and Technology, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Computer Aided Process Engineering Center, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
In this paper a multi-level, multi-scale framework for process synthesis-intensification that aims to make the process more sustainable than a base-case, which may represent a new process or an existing process, is presented. At the first level (operation-scale) a conceptual base case design is synthesized through the sequencing of unit operations and subsequently analyzed for identifying process hot-spots using economic, life cycle and sustainability metrics. These hot-spots are limitations/bottlenecks associated with tasks that may be targeted for overall process improvement. At the second level (task-scale) a task-based synthesis method is applied where one or more tasks representing unit operations are identified and analyzed in terms of means-ends for generating intensified flowsheet alternatives. At the third level (phenomena-scale) a phenomena-based synthesis method is applied, where the involved phenomena in various tasks are identified, manipulated and recombined to generate new and/or existing unit operations configured into flowsheet alternatives that target the tasks associated with hot-spots. Every lower-scale or higher-level, generates more alternatives than their corresponding larger-scale. Those alternatives that are able to address the identified hot-spots therefore give innovative and more sustainable process designs that otherwise could not be found from the larger-scales. In this paper, membrane-based operations identified through this framework are highlighted in terms of extension of the combined intensification-synthesis method and its application to generate membrane-based operations. Also, application of the framework is illustrated through a case study involving the production of methyl acetate where membrane-based intensified operations play a major role in determining more sustainable process design alternatives.
Chemical Engineering and Processing, 2014, Vol 86, p. 173-195
Process synthesis; Process design; Process intensification; Sustainable membrane-based design; Phenomena; Systematic framework