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Synthesis, design, optimization and intensification

Lead Guest Editor:

Rafiqul Gani, PSE for SPEED, Denmark

Guest Editors:

Iqbal Mujtaba, University of Bradford, UK

Mariano Martín, University of Salamanca, Spain

New Content Item

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.

  1. Separation process is very crucial in bioethanol production as it consumes the highest energy in the process. Unlike other works, this research systematically designed a suitable separation process for bioetha...

    Authors: Suksun Amornraksa, Ittipat Subsaipin, Lida Simasatitkul and Suttichai Assabumrungrat
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:10
  2. Synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) is an ultra-clean fuel with low aromatic content and negligible quantities of sulfur compounds. Although, SPK has a good potential to replace the conventional fuel Jet A-1, ...

    Authors: Hani Ababneh, Nasr Mohammad, Hanif A. Choudhury, Lei Zhang, Rafiqul Gani, Gordon McKay and Nimir Elbashir
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:9
  3. With the rapid rise in global population over the past decades, there has been a corresponding surge in demand for resources such as food and energy. As a consequence, the rate of waste generation and resultan...

    Authors: Raaj R. Bora, Ruth E. Richardson and Fengqi You
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:8
  4. One fault that occurs with heat exchangers is a tube rupture, an overpressure scenario in which high pressure fluid flows into the low pressure region. It is a serious safety concern that may lead to significa...

    Authors: Ahmed Harhara and M.M. Faruque Hasan
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:5
  5. It is critical for reliable infrastructure planning to address the Food-Energy-Water-Waste (FEW2) nexus at system level. This paper presents the applicability of platform across water, energy and...

    Authors: Bowen Feng, Koen H. van Dam, Miao Guo, Nilay Shah, Stephen Passmore and Xiaonan Wang
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:4
  6. This paper presents a new method for process synthesis and economic assessment for solid drug product manufacturing, considering continuous manufacturing as a prominent process alternative. Of the three phases...

    Authors: Kensaku Matsunami, Fabian Sternal, Keita Yaginuma, Shuichi Tanabe, Hiroshi Nakagawa and Hirokazu Sugiyama
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:6
  7. This contribution presents an hourly-based optimization of a biogas supply network to generate electricity, heat and organic fertilizer while considering multiple objectives and auction trading prices of elect...

    Authors: Jafaru Musa Egieya, Lidija Čuček, Klavdija Zirngast, Adeniyi Jide Isafiade and Zdravko Kravanja
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2020 2:3
  8. Ionic liquids (ILs) have been recently considered as potential entrainers for extractive distillation. The use of ILs may affect the vapor-liquid properties to aid the separation of azeotropic mixtures. In par...

    Authors: Nelly Ramírez-Corona, Andrés Schramm-Flores, Sofía Reyes-Lombardo and Arturo Jiménez-Gutiérrez
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2019 1:23
  9. Recent advances in metabolic engineering have enabled the production of chemicals via bio-conversion using microbes. However, downstream separation accounts for 60–80% of the total production cost in many case...

    Authors: Wenzhao Wu, Kirti M Yenkie and Christos T. Maravelias
    Citation: BMC Chemical Engineering 2019 1:21