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Systematic Methods of Process Synthesis and Design

L. T. Biegler Chemical Engineering Department Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213 November, 2008

The Textbook
Deals with decision-making concepts related to process design Technical and Economic Evaluation of Processes Material easily leveraged with capstone design project Conceptual and Heuristic Synthesis Optimization Formulations Background on Mathematical Programming Undergrad/graduate level over multisemester sequence Useful research reference (widely cited in international scientific literature)

Design Course teaches


Synthesis of engineering content and professional practice Activities that mimic the real-world workplace in process engineering Social process that leverages diverse personalities and skills Evolving to Products and New Processes Decision-making based on engineering experience and domain knowledge
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Issues for Decision-making


Ill-defined problems --> well-defined formulations Metrics to compare alternatives
safety environmental impact and sustainability energy efficiency economics

Search among a rich set of alternatives ==> Research in PSE has focused on these issues over the past four decades How should this be taught in a design course?

The Basics
How should a flowsheet be constructed?
- rule-based hierarchies, based on Rudd, Powers, Siirola and Douglas - reflect decisions that lead to state-of-the-art continuous processes

How should a flowsheet be evaluated? Technical Feasibility: Does it produce the desired products from given feedstocks?
- shortcut models and linear mass balances ==> flowsheet interactions - evolve to detailed simulation models ==> what additional information is gained

Economic Feasibility: Will it be profitable for the company?


- capital and operating costs - time value of money - NPV vs. rates of return - economic evaluation

Process Simulation and Modeling Tools


1000

Performance for Optimization

100

10

Simulation Time Equivalents

1 1981 0.1 1985 1994 2000

Cycle time ( s) Overall

0.01

0.001

4-6 orders of magnitude speedup in 20 years About three orders of magnitude due to solution algorithms Essential tools for process engineering education Ubiquitous, on everyones laptop

Optimization Impact on Process Simulation


Shorter Design Cycles - 1 hr vs. up to 2 weeks of case studies to get same design Significantly better and more consistent performance in work processes Nonintuitive results
- Increased process understanding - Explore limits of process model - Sensitivity information on process performance

Lower level decisions of process engineering handled by optimizer Higher level decisions handled by process engineer, but can easily be misused power tool analogy! Understand what is under the hood Diagnose problems and check answers

Process Synthesis Concepts


Focus on problem definition and descriptive tools to demonstrate tradeoffs in design Energy Integration
- pinch technology - heat and power systems - capital vs. energy
QH, min

hot composite curve


Tmin

Energy Targeting and HENS


hot/cold minimum utilities matching rules for HEN widely effective tool easy to teach
QC, min

cold composite curve

Heat content H

Process Synthesis Concepts


Focus on problem definition and descriptive tools to demonstrate tradeoffs in design Separation Synthesis
- separation sequencing and complex columns - nonideal/azeotropic separation - combinatorics vs. models

Effective Sequencing Strategies Triangular phase diagrams

Process Synthesis Concepts


Focus on problem definition and descriptive tools to demonstrate tradeoffs in design Reactors
- beyond reactor design - networks vs. models - attainable regions
15.0 G 10.0 H B F

CB

Novel Graphical Approach


new insights on networks easy to teach limited by visualization

5.0

D 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6

CA

0.8

1.0

1.2

Process Synthesis Concepts


All of these can be represented and solved as Optimization Problems Advanced tools for evaluation of best designs, not just feasible designs
Assess the best trade-offs Deal with uncertainty in the best ways

Extend beyond graphics to more advanced cases (multiple utilities, multidimensional kinetics) Natural way to integrate design aspects
Balance economics (capital vs. operating costs vs. environment) Integrate subsystems (energy, separation, reaction)

Optimal Flowsheets with Heat Integration H


1

C1
1 MIXER 5 HEX1 6

C2
SMR

HEX2

H2
WGS

HEX3

H3

H4
10 PROX

H5
HEX4 21 13

H6
COMPR1 FCSTACK COMPR2 24

H7
16 HEX5

22

14

C3
15 HEX7 3

H9
POSTCOMB

20

H8
HEX6

C4
17 FLASH 23

HEX8

26

Cold stream Ci Hot stream Hi

18

Optimal trade-off: operating cost, capital, revenue for best heat integrated design Cannot be obtained with insights and graphical methods

Teaching Optimization in Design?


First Semester Problem Representation, Graphical Insights Alternative Generation for Flowsheets and Process Simulation Metrics for Evaluation Economics Second Semester Optimization formulations and solutions - GAMS, Aspen/Plus, Excel Capstone Design Project - Real-world team projects using advanced tools
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The Future
Systematic decision-making extends to: Further integration of multiple objectives, subsystems and modeling platforms New processes: energy, bio- and nano- systems
Development of models and need for decision-making

Multi-scale modeling and simulation:


Ab Initio, Molecular Dynamics, CFD, Process simulation, Planning, Scheduling Leveraging large-scale decision-making: knowledge of optimization tools and problem formulations