Seminar: Ignacio Grossman, Carnegie Mellon University

“Role of Process Systems Engineering in Chemical Engineering”

In this talk we give a general overview of the nature of Process Systems Engineering (PSE), discuss some current major trends, and show how it fits in Chemical Engineering (ChE) and the role it might play in the future. After briefly reviewing the history of ChE, we highlight how academic research over the last 15 years has had a strong push towards science. However, despite these trends, PSE remains a core area in ChE that has expanded its scope from the process engineering level down to the molecular level, and up to the enterprise and global level. Furthermore, PSE is gaining prominence due to the increasing importance of the areas of energy and sustainability, and digital automation. We describe three major trends in PSE that have emerged over the last decade. First, we describe efforts for simultaneous product and process design, where the emphasis lies in tying the molecular structure of the products with the processing and macroscopic properties of the product. Second, we describe work that is aimed at modeling and optimizing processes for effectively exploiting fossil fuels like shale gas and alternative sources like biomass, and efficiently manage natural resources such as water. Third, we describe research efforts in enterprise-wide optimization that are aimed at designing and operating supply chains for the process industry in which planning, scheduling and control can be integrated more effectively within the framework of Industry 4.0 and the digital supply chains. We conclude that PSE is broadening its scope to address problems that are of current and future interest.

Ignacio E. Grossmann (B.S. Universidad Iberoamericana; M.S., Ph.D. Imperial College) is the R. R. Dean University Professor of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, and director of the “Center for Advanced Process Decision-making.”  A member of the National Academy of Engineering, he has received many awards from AIChE and INFORMS, including the first Sargent Medal by the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 2015, and the distinction of  being named “One of the Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by AIChE in 2008. He has honorary doctorates from Technical University of Dortmund, Abo Akademi, University of Maribor, University of Cantabria, Russian Kazan Technological University, University Nacional del Litoral and University of Alicante. His research interests are in mixed-integer, disjunctive and stochastic programming, energy systems, water networks, and planning and scheduling for enterprise-wide optimization. He has authored over 700 papers, and supervised 62 Ph.D. and 16 M.S. students.


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