Chapter 27: Systematic Computer Aided Framework for Process Synthesis, Design and Intensification
Published:16 Dec 2014
By considering process intensification as part of process synthesis, sustainable alternatives of existing as well as new processes can be determined that correspond to lower values of a set of targeted performance criteria. In this chapter a systematic computer-aided multi-level framework for process synthesis, design and intensification that leads to more sustainable process designs is presented. The framework consists of a collection of methods and tools, and evaluates alternatives through a set of targeted performance criteria in terms of economics, sustainability indices and life cycle factors. The framework operates at three levels: unit operations, tasks and phenomena. At the unit operations level, process flow sheets are synthesized by the sequencing of unit operations. This design is the base case design and defines the upper bound of the set of targeted performance criteria. At the task level, a task-based process synthesis method is used where tasks representing unit operations are identified, analysed and recombined through a means-ends analysis. At the phenomena level, a phenomena-based process synthesis method is used where the phenomena associated with each task are identified, manipulated and combined to generate new or existing unit operations. These unit operations are configured into flow sheet alternatives that are more sustainable and which correspond to even lower values of the set of targeted performance criteria compared with the base case design. The framework, associated methods and tools are presented and their application highlighted using a case study.