Process Integration may be defined as “a holistic approach to design and operation that emphasises the unity of the process”. The technology was first developed for the systematic design of heat exchanger network during the first oil crisis in the 1970s, and was then extended for various heat integration problems in the 80s. In the late 1980s, process integration techniques were extended into mass integration and various waste minimisation problems. Some of the special cases of the latter include water minimization, hydrogen network and property integration, which may be generalized as resource conservation network. The developed techniques in process integration family may be broadly categorised into insight-based pinch analysis and mathematical programming tools. For pinch analysis, various graphical and algebraic techniques have been developed to determine the minimum fresh resources and waste flowrates prior to the design of resource conservation network; this step is commonly known as targeting. Once the resource targets are established, one may make use of some systematic procedure to design the network that meets the flowrate targets. This enables the maximum recovery of resources in the process plants, e.g. water, hydrogen (and other associated utility gases) as well as solvent. After two decades of developments, process integration techniques are now very mature and have been reported in various textbooks, review and industrial handbooks. This paper will present the overview of process integration techniques, with successful industrial case studies.
Dominic Foo is a Professor of Process Design and Integration at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and is the Founding Director for the Centre of Excellence for Green Technologies. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), a Chartered Engineer with the UK Engineering Council, as well as the Vice President for the Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering (APCChE). He is a world leading researcher in process integration for resource conservation. Professor Foo is an active author, with four books, more than 130 journal papers and made more than 190 conference presentations, with more than 30 keynote/plenary speeches. Professor Foo is the Editor-in-Chief for Process Integration and Optimization for Sustainability (Springer), Subject Editor for Trans IChemE Part B (Process Safety & Environmental Protection, Elsevier). He is the winners of the Innovator of the Year Award 2009 of IChemE, Outstanding Young Malaysian Award 2012, Outstanding Asian Researcher and Engineer 2013, and Top Research Scientist Malaysia 2016.