Reviews in Chemical Engineering, Vol.36, No.1, 147-185, 2020
Research advances on process systems integration and process safety in China
Process systems engineering research focuses on the planning, design, operation, and safety of process systems rather than unit operations. In response to the rapid growth of the chemical process industry in the last 20 years in China, advanced system integration and process safety technologies are investigated and applied for better resource utilization, less environmental impact, and safer working places. In this regard, the review in this article consists of four main achievements: (1) process synthesis, (2) energy system integration, (3) water system integration, and (4) process safety management. The purpose of process synthesis and integration is to improve resource and energy utilization, at the same time lowering by-products and emissions. Optimization is conducted on process structure and operation, following the principles of resource coupling and energy cascade utilization. Typical examples are coupling of coal and hydrogen-rich resources and integration of coal-based polygeneration process of chemicals, electricity, and heat. Energy integration implements the coordinated optimization of total site energy systems. Reviews are made on specific methodologies based on the thermodynamics and applications of design and retrofit in ethylene, oil refining, and synthetic ammonia industries. There are energy savings by 10%-20% and yields increasing by 20%-30%. In addition, waste heat recovery and cold energy utilization are also important research areas. Reviews on the progress of water system integration and its industrial applications are also conducted. It includes the direct reuse, regeneration, and reuse/recycle in water systems and systems with internal water mains. Finally, safety management and technologies are also indispensable technological advancements of the process. The legislation system and the work safety-related standard system have been gradually established and enforced. Process safety research progress is reviewed, and questions are proposed for improving the accident prevention and safety management agenda.