Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Recently I have enjoyed a rich collaboration Circular Economy and Closing the Loop in Case Studies    with Professor Ugur Tuzun of the University of Cambridge on the important topic of process systems and the circular economy. Our latest article, “Systems Integration Design for Chemical and Biological Engineers: Gated Process Development with Digital Interlinks for Bulk Chemicals and Specialty Products Manufacture,” appears in the Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology.

The article discusses key systems integration concepts with respect to materials and energy flows in successive production units, process automation, and supply chain life cycles. It further incorporates green process and clean technology considerations. I hope you’ll read the entire article. But, just in case, here’s an overview.

To achieve green processing targets, many are including environmental impact monitoring and control as well as pollution prevention and emissions abatement technologies. These all require increased levels of coordination, communication, and functional integration of all the unit operations in a plant. In the paper’s two industrial case studies, bulk chemical and specialty chemical manufacturing exemplify these applications. Each case study contains a list of main practical indicators followed by a list of instructions for step wise design application based on the process flow sheets of specific industry applications.

Examples of Environmentally Friendly Plant Installations

The case studies also demonstrate the “open-ended” nature of idea generation and creative solution development necessitated by the complex systems integration design challenges for large-scale process applications. These examples build upon the “gated process development model” and provide a useful experiential teaching and learning tool for chemical and biological engineers.

A generic framework for gated process development is presented connecting pilot plant, demonstration plant, and commercial plant activities. Furthermore, the framework also includes energy and material life cycles and environmental impacts directly in tandem with the development from pilot scale to large-scale production.

The most significant benefit of this approach lies in the ability to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly plant installations.

You can read the full article online to further explore this topic. While the article focuses on operating companies, interactive digital platforms enabling “gated process development” could also be used to facilitate interactive teaching and learning of the dynamic systems development and integration. Professor Tuzun and I would welcome the opportunity to assist you. Please reach out to us.