focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical, physical, and biological processes through the aid of systematic computer-based methods. Process engineering encompasses a vast range of industries, such as petrochemical, mineral processing, advanced material, food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological industries.
Several accomplishments have been made in Process Engineering:
- Process design: synthesis of energy recovery networks, synthesis of distillation systems (azeotropic), synthesis of reactor networks, hierarchical decomposition flowsheets, superstructure optimization, design multiproduct batch plants. Design of the production reactors for the production of plutonium, design of nuclear submarines.
- Process control: model predictive control, controllability measures, robust control, nonlinear control, statistical process control, process monitoring, thermodynamics-based control
- Process operations: scheduling process networks, multiperiod planning and optimization, data reconciliation, real-time optimization, flexibility measures, fault diagnosis
- Supporting tools: sequential modular simulation, equation based process simulation, AI/expert systems, large-scale nonlinear programming (NLP), optimization of differential algebraic equations (DAEs), mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP), global optimization
Process systems engineering is a relatively young area in chemical engineering. The first time that this
term was used was in a Special Volume of the AIChE Symposium Series in 1961. However, it was not until
1982 when the first international symposium on this topic took place in Kyoto, Japan, that the term PSE
started to become widely accepted.
The first textbook in the area was “Strategy of Process Engineering” by
Dale F. Rudd and Charles C. Watson, Wiley, 1968. The Computing and Systems Technology (CAST)
Division, Area 10 of AIChE, was founded in 1977 and currently has about 1200 members. CAST has four
sections: Process Design, Process Control, Process Operations and Applied Mathematics.
The first journal
devoted to PSE was "Computers and Chemical Engineering," which appeared in 1977. The Foundations of Computer-Aided Process Design (FOCAPD) conference in 1980 in Henniker
was one of the first meetings in a series on that topic in the PSE area. It is now accompanied by the successful series on Control (CPC), Operations (FOCAPO), and the world-wide series entitled Process Systems Engineering. The CACHE Corporation (Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering), which organizes these conferences, was initially launched by academics in 1970, motivated by the introduction of process simulation in the chemical engineering curriculum.
There are currently about 80 academics in the PSE area in the US, and a listing of these faculty can be found in http://cepac.cheme.cmu.edu/pse1.html. A very large fraction of the faculty in the PSE area can be traced back to Professor Roger W.H. Sargent
Roger W.H. Sargent was Dean of the City and Guilds College from 1973 to 1976, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1975 to 1988 and Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering from its launch in August 1989 until he retired in 1992, when he became a Senior Research Fellow...
Imperial College, one of the pioneers in the area. PSE is an active area of research in many other countries, particularly in the United Kingdom, several other European countries, Japan, Korea and China.
Since 1992 Europe hosts the annual ESCAPE meeting (European Symposium of Computer Aided Process
Engineering). Each produces proceedings -- e.g., see Comput. Chem. Engng., Vol. 21 Supplement (1997) for the Proceedings of the joint PSE ‘97/ESCAPE 7 meeting held in 1997.
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