A General Framework for Process Synthesis, Integration, and Intensification Academic Article uri icon


  • Copyright 2019 American Chemical Society. Process synthesis, integration, and intensification are the three pillars of process design. Current synthesis and integration methods are able to find optimal design targets and process configurations when all the alternatives are known beforehand. Process intensification, on the other hand, combines multiple physicochemical phenomena and exploits their interactions to create innovative designs. Often times, these designs are not known beforehand, and a phenomena-level representation of chemical processes are required to identify them. This disconnection between the three paradigms limits the ability to systematically discover optimal design pathways. We demonstrate that the building block representation, originally proposed in our earlier work on process intensification (Demirel, Li, and Hasan, Comput. Chem. Eng., 2017, 150, 2-38), has the potential to bridge this gap. Depending on the attributes assigned to the interior and the boundaries of these two-dimensional abstract building blocks, they can represent various intensified or isolated phenomena at the lowest level, various tasks at the equipment level, and various unit operations at the flowsheet level. This common multiscale representation enables an mixed-integer nonlinear optimization-based single framework for the sequential or simultaneous synthesis, integration, and intensification of chemical processes. Such a general framework is critical to reduce the risk of eliminating potential intensification pathways and candidate flowsheets at the conceptual design stage. The framework is demonstrated using a case study on an ethylene glycol process.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Demirel, S. E., Li, J., & Hasan, M.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Demirel, Salih Emre||Li, Jianping||Hasan, MM Faruque

publication date

  • April 2019