Process Integration

Process integration is defined as the act of putting together (or integrating) the various chemical reactors, physical separations, and heating and cooling operations that constitute a manufacturing process in such a way that the net production cost is minimized. Pinch technology is the term used for the series of principles and design rules developed around the concept of a process pinch within the general framework of process integration. Pinch technology is a methodology for the systematic application of the first and second laws of thermodynamics to process and utility systems.

Pinch technology is a versatile tool for process design. Originally pioneered as a technique for reducing the capital and energy costs of a new plant, pinch technology is readily adaptable to identifying the potential for energy savings in an existing plant. Most recently, it has become established as a tool for debottlenecking, yield improvement, capital cost reduction, and enhanced flexibility. With the concern for the environment, design engineers can use the power of pinch technology to solve environmental problems.

This section addresses the following three areas in which pinch technology has been identified as having an important role (Spriggs, Smith, and Petela 1990):

• Flue gas emissions

• Waste minimization

• Evaluation of waste treatment options

Before these areas are described, a brief review of pinch technology is necessary.

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