Process Systems Engineering and Catalysis: A Collaborative Approach for the Development of Chemical Processes Chapter uri icon


  • 2019 Elsevier B.V. The rapid growth in shale gas production has encouraged exploring opportunities related to downstream processes, which utilize shale gas as a primary feedstock to produce added-value chemicals. The chemical route of the majority of these added-value chemicals require at least one or more catalytic step. Hence, catalysts are critical for the synthesis and selection of processes pathway. However, there is no structured form or approach where process systems engineering and catalysis communities can join efforts to incorporate inputs from both sides in order to expedite the development of catalytic processes. Therefore, this paper introduces a collaborative approach to better understand the needs and the impacts of catalysis on process synthesis and design. A methanol from shale gas process is taken as a case study. The industrial methanol synthesis catalyst (Cu/ZnO/Al2O3) has a low per-pass conversion (< 10-15%) and operates under high pressure (> 750 psia). Therefore, there has been a focused interest in overcoming both catalyst limitations; the low single pass conversion and the requirement of operating under elevated pressure. The results showed that despite having a complete per-pass conversion, the impact of this development is insignificant when reflected on the process economics. However, pressure reduction of the methanol synthesis reaction could lead to substantial improvements in the overall profitability of the process.

author list (cited authors)

  • Alsuhaibani, A. S., Afzal, S., Challiwala, M., Elbashir, N. O., & El-Halwagi, M. M.

Book Title

  • Computer Aided Chemical Engineering

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM