Systematic Process Intensification of Gas Separation, Conversion and Storage
- View All
Process intensification involves the combination of reaction, separation and other operations in a single unit, which leads to substantially smaller, cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient technologies. This proposal aims to develop a new unified process synthesis and intensification approach for optimizing the conversion, separation and storage of industrially-important gases. There is presently a lack of systematic methods for the identification of intensification opportunities in process operations and for the synthesis of optimal intensified processes at the flowsheet level. The proposed approach can potentially have a significant impact on the development of clean and sustainable energy technologies as well as on retrofitting existing chemical processes to make them more energy efficient and economical. The PI plans to demonstrate the efficacy of the new technique by developing a single-step separation and storage technology for natural gas from conventional and unconventional sources, and a combined carbon dioxide capture, conversion, and hydrogen storage technology. This project aims to develop a systematic methodology for combining process design with process intensification within a single optimization-based framework. The objective is to make significant contributions in three distinct areas of process systems engineering: process intensification, design of gas separation systems, and development of efficient optimization methods. The integration of synthesis and intensification along with the use of building blocks that capture both process activities and flows will allow the efficient identification, automated generation, and incorporation of all plausible intensification alternatives in a single flowsheet. The technique employs a new mixed-integer nonlinear optimization algorithm for process intensification and global optimization, and a framework which pertains to material screening and intensification for combined separation, conversion and/or storage of process gases. The approach will not be specific to gas processing and could be applied to integrated design and intensification of a broad spectrum of chemical process. The proposed educational and outreach activities include training of graduate students, developing research experiences for undergraduate students, developing a new graduate-level course, participation of the PI in a high school summer camp, and engaging women and minority students in process intensification research through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program.