Sustainable solutions by integrating process synthesis-intensification

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A practical way to generate sustainable design alternatives, counter ongoing challenges and future prob- lems is to develop methods that are generic in nature and can be applied over a wide search space to de- termine innovative and hybrid/intensified unit operations (unit-ops). In this research, a systematic frame- work based on a 3-stage approach for sustainable process design is presented and its application to gen- erate intensified and more sustainable alternatives highlighted. Within this framework, the phenomena- based synthesis methodology is extended in terms of a wider range of applications and ability to de- termine more feasible solutions. The framework with the extended methodology is capable of generating innovative solutions involving solid-liquid and liquid-liquid systems in addition to vapor-liquid and mem- brane systems that could be generated previously. Further, the phenomena database is expanded so that with the new list of phenomena and basic structures, new and intensified unit operations (membrane crystallization, membrane bio-reactor to name a few) are generated. The applicability of step by step method available through the framework is demonstrated through a case study involving the produc- tion of bio-succinic acid. In this case study, a novel superstructure network of alternatives is generated, from which an optimal processing route is identified. This processing route is then designed and anal- ysed to identify process bottlenecks, based on which a set of targets for improvement are defined. Then, by applying an extended phenomena-based synthesis methodology; non-trade off, more sustainable and intensified solutions to produce bio-succinic acid are generated and verified through rigorous processes simulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers & Chemical Engineering
Pages (from-to)499–519
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Process synthesis
  • Process intensification
  • Phenomena-based methodology
  • Systematic framework
  • Sustainable solutions

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