A process synthesis-intensification method for generation of novel and intensified solutions

Nipun Garg, Georgios M. Kontogeorgis, Rafiqul Gani, John M. Woodley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper presents the development and application of systematic framework to perform new and retrofit phenomena-based synthesis-intensification generating well-known/existing as well as novel intensified solutions. The fundamental pillars of this framework are generic definition, expansion and use of Phenomena Building Blocks (PBBs) that include all possible phases (spanning vapor, liquid and solid), identification of principle PBBs using physical property and thermodynamic insights and generation of phenomena-based superstructure to systematically identify novel, innovative and intensified flowsheet alternatives. The generated flowsheet options are ranked based on Enthalpy Index (EI) to identify promising candidates for detailed analysis. One of the key features of this framework that distinguishes it from preceding methods for phenomena-based synthesis is that the flowsheet alternatives are synthesized from phenomena-based superstructure rather than relying on a base-case for phenomena and/or hotspots identification and replacement of base-case unit operations accordingly. That is, a phenomena-based superstructure is generated to directly identify intensified solutions. New phenomena, their classes and systematic algorithms are developed in order to generate novel intensified solutions. These developments and systematic framework are illustrated through case study involving production of Dimethyl Ether (DME). The results confirm that using this approach, promising alternatives with novel unit-operations are generated in systematic way.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108103
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Process synthesis-intensification
  • Phenomena-based methodology
  • Phenomena-based superstructure
  • Systematic framework
  • Ranking of alternatives
  • Innovative and intensified solutions

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