Lead Guest Editor:
Rafiqul Gani, PSE for SPEED, Denmark
Iqbal Mujtaba, University of Bradford, UK
Mariano Martín, University of Salamanca, Spain
This special issue on “Synthesis, design, optimization and intensification” consists of work of many colleagues in Process System Engineering and covers diverse problems and scales. To establish some order, we go from smaller scale to global scale. This special issue presents optimization formulations for the design of particular units, processes and the entire supply chain including the current trend of process and product design.
Two studies evaluate chemical equipment. Harhara and Hassan (2020) present a study on the optimal design of heat exchangers considering safety issues. Their work considered rigorous modelling which allows evaluating the pressure profiles during tube ruptures accurately for systems in different phases that is paramount for the safety of plants. Ramírez- Corona et al (2020) evaluated the use of ionic liquids (IL) in the extractive distillation of the ethanol-water mixture, a stage that represents 50% of the energy consumption of the bioethanol production process. The effectiveness of two ILs were evaluated and observed that the concentration of IL affect the degree of stabilization of the product stream.
Process and product design has been addressed in six of the contributions. Wu et al. (2020) studied the downstream separation of extracellular chemicals since it represents 60-80% of the production cost of most of these chemicals. The systematic design is based on presenting a superstructure optimization approach for the identification of critical technologies and their associated parameters. In addition, Amornraksa et al (2020) evaluated the dehydration of ethanol from an economic and environmental point of view comparing two schemes, extractive distillation and pervaporation with the conventional one based on molecular sieves showing the potential of both versus the industrial standard. Switching gears into other type of products, solid drugs, the contribution of Matsunami et al (2020) focuses on developing a methods based on a superstructure optimization that addresses the manufacturing of solid drugs under uncertainty. This method is the basis for a new software application “SoliDecision” for industrial use which allows exhaustive enumeration and economic assessment of process alternatives. In the process and product design area, Ababneh et al. (2020) presented the use of different additives to improve the lubricity of synthetic kerosene validating in addition a mathematical model to predict the properties of the resulting mixture. Finally, Bora et al (2020) present a review paper that critically describes the circular economy of the reuse of waste water sludge via thermochemical conversion into energy and fuels showing the promising potential con control the environmental impact that the sludge can generate otherwise.
The last effort at process level is the contribution of Hu and Yuan (2020), who present a neural network approach for the discovery and development of synthesis routes for organic molecules. It is based on machine learning, a neural network, using Edit Vector based description and extended connectivity fingerprints that provides promising results in the prediction of reaction paths.
The last section of this special issue considers a larger scale. The first of the contributions towards strategic decision making is by Feng et al (2020) that presents the applicability of resilience of platform towards planning the Food-Energy-Water-Waste (FEW2) nexus. The case example is Australia, a region with large areas of water scarcity. Anaerobic digestion and gasification processes were considered for converting waste-to-energy. The results suggest that 35% of the wastewater is to be recycled to avoid water scarcity, as well as the possibility of generating 854 GWh of renewable energy, where 94% comes in the form of biogas and syngas. The production of biogas is highlighted in the contribution of Egieya et al (2020) that develop a supply chain study for the optimization of the biogas production from agricultural wastes considering multiple objectives such as profit, greenhouse emissions and sustainability profit. They apply the model to Slovenia.