Special Issue "Process Design and Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Processes (ISSN 2227-9717). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Processes".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 April 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Peter Glavič
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
Interests: process systems engineering; environmental engineering; sustainable development in chemical and process industries; process design; retrofit and optimization; energy integration; water and waste reduction; recycling; cleaner production; indicators of sustainable development; sustainable university;sustainable consumption; Standardization; member of the Slovenian agency for standardization; chairing the technical committee for quantities, units, technical drawings; dealing (sending remarks, translating, etc.) with ISO and IEC standards
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Process design deals with the most important long-term engineering decisions in chemical and process industries. It determines process economics, environmental impact, workers' wellbeing, etc. In short, it covers all the three pillars of sustainable development. The United Nations resolution (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); one of the most important ones is the Goal No. 12: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” It includes 11 out of the 169 targets to be achieved in the next decade. Three of them are of utmost importance to industrial development:

  • By 2030, achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil.
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

SDG 12 includes consumption of raw materials, energy, water and other resources used in process industries and their value chains. It is embracing circular economy, resource efficiency, zero waste and design for environment (eco-design). The European Green Deal (2019) calls for climate-neutral continent by 2050 by investing in innovation, research, and education to redesign economy, update pollution strategy and industrial policy. A New Circular Economy Action Plan focusing on sustainable resource use, especially in resource-intensive sectors, will be proposed. The virus crisis is going to intensify research, development, design and investments in pharmaceutical and biochemical process industries. Industry 4.0 brings artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, big data, automation, robotics and process intensification.

All these changes require a rapid adaptation of process design for sustainable development, which is the topic we are covering in this Special Issue.

 Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Chemical process design for sustainable development
  • Design for environment (Eco-design)
  • Design for process intensification
  • Process design for circular economy and resource efficiency
  • Process design for zero waste
  • Process design for Industry 4.0

Prof. Dr. Peter Glavič
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Processes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • process design
  • sustainable development
  • eco-design
  • resource efficiency
  • circular economy
  • zero waste
  • responsible consumption
  • sustainable production
  • industry 4.0

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Article
Numerical Study of Electrostatic Desalting Process Based on Droplet Collision Time
Processes 2021, 9(7), 1226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9071226 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 523
Abstract
The desalting process of an electrostatic desalting unit was studied using the collision time of two droplets in a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion based on force balance. Initially, the model was solved numerically to perform a process analysis and to indicate the effect of [...] Read more.
The desalting process of an electrostatic desalting unit was studied using the collision time of two droplets in a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion based on force balance. Initially, the model was solved numerically to perform a process analysis and to indicate the effect of the main process parameters, such as electric field strength, water content, temperature (through oil viscosity) and droplet size on the collision time or frequency of collision between a pair of droplets. In decreasing order of importance on the reduction of collision time and consequently on the efficiency of desalting separation, the following variables can be classified such as moisture content, electrostatic field strength, oil viscosity and droplet size. After this analysis, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of a biphasic water–oil flow was developed in steady state using a Eulerian multiphase framework, in which collision frequency and probability of coalescence of droplets were assumed. This study provides some insights into the heterogeneity of a desalination plant which highlights aspects of design performance. This study further emphasizes the importance of two variables as moisture content and intensity of electrostatic field for dehydrated desalination by comparing the simulation with the electrostatic field against the same simulation without its presence. The overall objective of this study is therefore to show the necessity of including complex phenomena such as the frequency of collisions and coalescence in a CFD model for better understanding and optimization of the desalting process from both process safety and improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
A Study of Linkage Effects and Environmental Impacts on Information and Communications Technology Industry between South Korea and USA: 2006–2015
Processes 2021, 9(6), 1043; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9061043 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 492
Abstract
This study examined the relationship among carbon dioxide emissions and linkage effects using Input–Output (IO) data of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry between South Korea and the USA. As we wanted to find out if the ICT industry, which the world [...] Read more.
This study examined the relationship among carbon dioxide emissions and linkage effects using Input–Output (IO) data of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry between South Korea and the USA. As we wanted to find out if the ICT industry, which the world is passionate about, is a sustainable industry. The linkage effects are analyzed to determine the impact of ICT industry on the national economy, and CO2 emissions of the industry are analyzed to determine how much influence it has on air pollution. In addition, we classify ICT industry by ICT service and manufacturing industries as the key industries in Korea and the US. Data were collected from OECD ranging from 2006 to 2015 in order to quantitatively estimate backward linkage, forward linkage effect, and carbon dioxide emissions. The results indicated that ICT manufacturing industry in Korea has high backward and forward linkage effects. CO2 emissions from ICT service is more than from ICT manufacturing in both Korea and the US. We wanted to find out if the ICT industry, which the world is passionate about, is a sustainable industry. As a contribution, ICT manufacturing and service industries in Korea and the United States are directly compared, and CO2 emissions over 10 years are analyzed in a time series. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Sustainable Development in EU Countries in the Framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy
Processes 2021, 9(3), 443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9030443 - 28 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 803
Abstract
The Europe 2020 Strategy was proposed with a long-term vision to ensure prosperity, development, and competitiveness for the member countries. This strategy is divided into three main areas named “growth”. One of these is sustainable growth. This is an area of sustainability, where [...] Read more.
The Europe 2020 Strategy was proposed with a long-term vision to ensure prosperity, development, and competitiveness for the member countries. This strategy is divided into three main areas named “growth”. One of these is sustainable growth. This is an area of sustainability, where the partial targets are referred to as the “20-20-20 approach”, and includes a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in energy efficiency, and the sharing of renewable energy sources. However, questions arise, including: How do member states meet these targets? Which countries are leaders in this area? According to these stated questions, the aim of this article is to assess how EU countries are meeting the set targets for sustainable growth resulting from the Europe 2020 strategy and to identify the countries with the best results in this area. We looked for answers to these questions in the analysis of sustainable indicators, which were transformed into a synthetic measure for comparability of the resulting values. Finally, we identified the Baltic states, Nordic countries (European Union members), Romania, and Croatia as the best countries in fulfilling the sustainable growth aims. As sustainable development and resource efficiency are crucial areas for the future, it is important to consider these issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Optimal Cleaning Cycle Scheduling under Uncertain Conditions: A Flexibility Analysis on Heat Exchanger Fouling
Processes 2021, 9(1), 93; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9010093 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
Fouling is a substantial economic, energy, and safety issue for all the process industry applications, heat transfer units in particular. Although this phenomenon can be mitigated, it cannot be avoided and proper cleaning cycle scheduling is the best way to deal with it. [...] Read more.
Fouling is a substantial economic, energy, and safety issue for all the process industry applications, heat transfer units in particular. Although this phenomenon can be mitigated, it cannot be avoided and proper cleaning cycle scheduling is the best way to deal with it. After thorough literature research about the most reliable fouling model description, cleaning procedures have been optimized by minimizing the Time Average Losses (TAL) under nominal operating conditions according to the well-established procedure. For this purpose, different cleaning actions, namely chemical and mechanical, have been accounted for. However, this procedure is strictly related to nominal operating conditions therefore perturbations, when present, could considerably compromise the process profitability due to unexpected shutdown or extraordinary maintenance operations. After a preliminary sensitivity analysis, the uncertain variables and the corresponding disturbance likelihood were estimated. Hence, cleaning cycles were rescheduled on the basis of a stochastic flexibility index for different probability distributions to show how the uncertainty characterization affects the optimal time and economic losses. A decisional algorithm was finally conceived in order to assess the best number of chemical cleaning cycles included in a cleaning supercycle. In conclusion, this study highlights how optimal scheduling is affected by external perturbations and provides an important tool to the decision-maker in order to make a more conscious design choice based on a robust multi-criteria optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Research on Optimization of Coal Slime Fluidized Bed Boiler Desulfurization Cooperative Operation
Processes 2021, 9(1), 75; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9010075 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 652
Abstract
The semi-dry desulfurization of slime fluidized bed boilers (FBB) has been widely used due to its advantages of low cost and high desulfurization efficiency. In this paper, the cooperative optimization of a two-stage desulfurization processes in the slime fluidized bed boiler was studied, [...] Read more.
The semi-dry desulfurization of slime fluidized bed boilers (FBB) has been widely used due to its advantages of low cost and high desulfurization efficiency. In this paper, the cooperative optimization of a two-stage desulfurization processes in the slime fluidized bed boiler was studied, and a model-based optimization strategy was proposed to minimize the operational cost of the desulfurization system. Firstly, a mathematical model for the FBB with a two-stage desulfurization process was established. The influences of coal slime elements on combustion flue gas and the factors that may affect the thermal efficiency of the boiler were then analyzed. Then, on the basis of the developed model, a number of parameters affecting the SO2 concentration at the outlet of the slime fluidized bed boiler were simulated and deeply analyzed. In addition, the effects of the sulfur content of coal slime, excess air coefficient, and calcium to sulfur ratio were also discussed. Finally, according to the current SO2 emission standard, the optimization operation problems under different sulfur contents were studied with the goal of minimizing the total desulfurization cost. The results showed that under the same sulfur content, the optimized operation was able to significantly reduce the total desulfurization cost by 9%, consequently improving the thermal efficiency of the boiler, ensuring the stable and up-to-standard emission of flue gas SO2, and thus achieving sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Responsible Design for Sustainable Innovation: Towards an Extended Design Process
Processes 2020, 8(12), 1574; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr8121574 - 29 Nov 2020
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Design as a discipline has changed a lot during the last 50 years. The boundaries have been expanded partially to address the complexity of the problems we are facing nowadays. Areas like sustainable design, inclusive design, codesign, and social design among many more [...] Read more.
Design as a discipline has changed a lot during the last 50 years. The boundaries have been expanded partially to address the complexity of the problems we are facing nowadays. Areas like sustainable design, inclusive design, codesign, and social design among many more have emerged in response to the failures of the production and consumption system in place. In this context, social, environmental, and cultural trends have affected the way artefacts are designed, but the design process itself remains almost unchanged. In some sense, more criteria beyond economic concerns are now taken into consideration when social and environmental objectives are pursued in the design process, but the process to reach those objectives responds to the same stages and logic as in traditional approaches motivated only by economic aims. We propose in this paper an alternative way to understand and represent the design process, especially oriented to develop innovations that are aligned with the social, environmental, and cultural demands the world is facing now and it will face in the future. A new extended design process that is responsible for the consequences produced by the artefacts designed beyond the delivery of the solutions is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Thermal Assessment of a Micro Fibrous Fischer Tropsch Fixed Bed Reactor Using Computational Fluid Dynamics
Processes 2020, 8(10), 1213; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr8101213 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 777
Abstract
A two-dimensional (2D) Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) scale-up model of the Fischer Tropsch reactor was developed to thermally compare the Microfibrous-Entrapped-Cobalt-Catalyst (MFECC) and the conventional Packed Bed Reactor (PBR). The model implements an advanced predictive detailed kinetic model to study the effect of [...] Read more.
A two-dimensional (2D) Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) scale-up model of the Fischer Tropsch reactor was developed to thermally compare the Microfibrous-Entrapped-Cobalt-Catalyst (MFECC) and the conventional Packed Bed Reactor (PBR). The model implements an advanced predictive detailed kinetic model to study the effect of a thermal runaway on C5+ hydrocarbon product selectivity. Results demonstrate the superior capability of the MFECC bed in mitigating hotspot formation due to its ultra-high thermal conductivity. Furthermore, a process intensification study for radial scale-up of the reactor bed from 15 mm internal diameter (ID) to 102 mm ID demonstrated that large tube diameters in PBR lead to temperature runaway >200 K corresponding to >90% CO conversion at 100% methane selectivity, which is highly undesirable. While the MFECC bed hotspot temperature corresponded to <10 K at >30% CO conversion, attributing to significantly high thermal conductivity of the MFECC bed. Moreover, a noticeable improvement in C5+ hydrocarbon selectivity >70% was observed in the MFECC bed in contrast to a significantly low number for the PBR (<5%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Continuous Improvement Process in the Development of a Low-Cost Rotational Rheometer
Processes 2020, 8(8), 935; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr8080935 - 03 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
The rheological characterization of fluids using a rheometer is an essential task in food processing, materials, healthcare or even industrial engineering; in some cases, the high cost of a rheometer and the issues related to the possibility of developing both electrorheological and magnetorheological [...] Read more.
The rheological characterization of fluids using a rheometer is an essential task in food processing, materials, healthcare or even industrial engineering; in some cases, the high cost of a rheometer and the issues related to the possibility of developing both electrorheological and magnetorheological tests in the same instrument have to be overcome. With that in mind, this study designed and constructed a low-cost rotational rheometer with the capacity to adapt to electro- and magneto-rheological tests. The design team used the method of continuous improvement through Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and risk analysis tools such as Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). These analyses were prepared in order to meet the customer’s needs and engineering requirements. In addition to the above, a manufacturing control based on process sheets was used, leading to the construction of a functional rheometer with a cost of USD $1500. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)
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Perspective
Process Design and Sustainable Development—A European Perspective
Processes 2021, 9(1), 148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr9010148 - 13 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
This paper describes the state of the art and future opportunities for process design and sustainable development. In the Introduction, the main global megatrends and the European Union’s response to two of them, the European Green Deal, are presented. The organization of professionals [...] Read more.
This paper describes the state of the art and future opportunities for process design and sustainable development. In the Introduction, the main global megatrends and the European Union’s response to two of them, the European Green Deal, are presented. The organization of professionals in the field, their conferences, and their publications support the two topics. A brief analysis of the published documents in the two most popular databases shows that the environmental dimension predominates, followed by the economic one, while the social pillar of sustainable development is undervalued. The main design tools for sustainability are described. As an important practical case, the European chemical and process industries are analyzed, and their achievements in sustainable development are highlighted; in particular, their strategies are presented in more detail. The conclusions cover the most urgent future development areas of (i) process industries and carbon capture with utilization or storage; (ii) process analysis, simulation, synthesis, and optimization tools, and (iii) zero waste, circular economy, and resource efficiency. While these developments are essential, more profound changes will be needed in the coming decades, such as shifting away from growth with changes in habits, lifestyles, and business models. Lifelong education for sustainable development will play a very important role in the growth of democracy and happiness instead of consumerism and neoliberalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Design and Sustainable Development)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Dismantling of Printed Circuit Boards Enabling Electronic Component Sorting and treatment: A Strategy for Maximizing Elemental Recovery
Authors: Ange Maurice,1 † Khang Ngoc Dinh,1 † Nicolas Charpentier1, Andrea Brambilla,2 Jean-Christophe P. Gabriel 1,3*
Affiliation: 1 Energy research institute, Nanyang Technological University, SCARCE Laboratory 50 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 639798, Singapore 2 Université Grenoble Alpes, CEA Leti, 38054 Grenoble, France. 3 Université Paris-Saclay, CEA, CNRS, NIMBE, 91191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France. † Both authors contributed equally to this article.

Title: Circular economy and Industry 4.0: a review of current methods and new avenues in process design and optimization
Authors: Carina L. Gargalo
Affiliation: Technical University of Denmark

Title: Challenges for Design Engineers in developing Sustainable Processes
Authors: Prof. Jan Baeyens
Affiliation: Process and Environmental Technology Lab, Department of Chemical Engineering, KU Leuven, J. De Nayerlaan 5, 2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium

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