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16th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering

and 9th International Symposium on Process Systems Engineering

W. Marquardt, C. Pantelides (Editors) 29 © 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Process Intensification and Process System Engineering: a friendly Symbiosis

Jacob A. Moulijn1, Andrzej Stankiewicz2, Johan Grievink1 and Andrzej Gorak3

1DelftChemTech, Delft Technical University, Delft, The Netherlands

2 Laboratory for Process Equipment, Delft Technical University, Delft, The Netherlands, DSM Reserch, Geleen, The Netherlands

3 Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, University of Dortmund, Germany

Process Intensification, is it a research area or a set of objectives [1]? In our view it is both. Process Intensification (PI) is an area in the discipline chemical engineering; taking the conventional, existing technologies as a frame of reference, it tries to achieve drastic improvements in the efficiency of chemical and biochemical processes by developing innovative, often radically new types of equipment, processes and their operation.

One could argue that such objective and objects of study are the hallmark of chemical engineering for many decades. Figure 1 shows a striking similarity of plants in the past and in modern times, in spite of a gap of many centuries. It underlines the feeling that there might be room for breakthroughs in plant design. Conceptually, PI belongs to the discipline of chemical engineering but compelling examples suggest that there is something as a “PI approach” that gives it the character of a research area.

Figure 1. The modern plant is not that modern...

Miniaturization of the plant or integration of reaction and separation within one zone of the apparatus, have become a hallmark of Process Intensification. But PI has also other sustainability-related dimensions, such as significantly increased material efficiency, reduced energy usage, reduced waste generation and increased process safety. Producing much more with much less is the clue to Process Intensification. It provides a new avenue to a better economy and ecology of industrial production clusters.

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