Background: Emerging Technology Symposium

March 18, 2009
Emerging Technologies Symposium

Smaller, Cheaper, Cleaner, Safer = Process Intensification

The AIChE-DVS Process Intensification Symposium is scheduled for March 18 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia.  You cannot afford to miss this event. Process intensification is the way of the future in the chemical process industry. The term process intensification was coined in the 1980´s to refer to an approach developed by Olin Ramshaw of ICI. Mr. Ramshaw aimed to develop smaller, “intensified,” chemical processes that would be more effective and safer than standard processes.

The idea behind process intensification is to look at a process through its fundamentals. The key to process intensification is to identify the critical elements in a process and its rate limiting steps.  This information is transferred into an equipment design that meets specifications. The important aspect is to understand the process sufficiently so that its rate controlling steps are clearly understood and then matching the process to the right equipment to get the job done. Process intensification technologies usually involve changing processes from batch to continuous, the use of intensive reactor technologies involving high levels of mixing and heat transfer, flexibility in process designs so that multi-product processes can be cost effective and safe. Finally, process intensification involves a multidisciplinary approach that provides for the simultaneous continuous improvement of processes and process chemistry.

Process intensification results in a wide range of benefits including significant reductions in capital costs and impurity levels. This translates into a cost effective process and a more valuable product.  Reductions in energy use of 70% or more are not uncommon as well as reductions in reactor volumes for hazardous processes.  All analyses show that process intensification leads to more cost effective, environmentally responsible and safer processes, and more valuable products.

Intensify your career while supporting your section, and bring back to your office information you can use to optimize any process. The Symposium will be held at the Chemical Heritage Foundation building. The newly renovated building and its museum are a perfect setting for this event.  We look forward to seeing you there.