Chemical process optimization and pollution prevention via mass and property integration



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The process industries such as petrochemicals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, among others, consume large amounts of material and energy resources. These industries are also characterized by generating enormous amounts of waste that significantly contribute to the pollution of the environment. Integrated process design is a very effective technique in conserving process resources and preventing pollution. The design and environmental constraints may involve a variety of component- and property-based restrictions. To date, most techniques have been developed to handle process constraints which is either composition-based (via mass integration) or property-based. No work has been reported to handle the synthesis of resource conservation network that is governed by both constraints. The objective of this work is to develop a systematic and cost-effective design technique that is aimed at minimizing the consumption of fresh resources and the discharge of pollutants simultaneously. Because of the nature of the component- and property-based constraints, this approach is based on mass and property integration and takes into account the process constraints and also environmental regulations. In this research work, a new approach has been developed to simultaneously address component-based recycle constraints as well as property-based discharge constraints. The proposed optimization technique is intended to minimize the consumption of fresh resources, the pollutant content in the waste streams, and the operational and waste treatment costs. Additionally, a mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) formulation is solved for a case study of phenol production from cumene hydroperoxyde to illustrate the new problem and devised solution algorithm.