Process Synthesis

One of the fundamental problems in chemical engineering is the synthesis of a process, that is, the selection of unit operations, their interconnections and operational conditions to generate a flowsheet that meets given goals and constraints. Major approaches include enumeration of alternatives, evolutionary modification, and superstructure optimization. In enumeration of alternatives, alternative designs are generated and evaluated, which is only feasible when the number of alternatives is relatively small. In evolutionary modification, designers make changes to known flowsheets for similar processes to meet new objectives and constraints. Superstructure optimization is a model-based approach that compares alternative processes simultaneously. A superstructure incorporates all potentially useful units and relevant interconnections. Our work focuses on addressing some of the challenges pertinent to superstructure optimization.