Dr Ana Catarina BRAZ, Research Fellow at CERENA (IST/UL) as of Augist 2020.Logo of Técnico LisboaAt the CAPE-OPEN 2020 Annual Meeting, Dr BRAZ (speaker) and Prof. MATOS, researchers from Instituto Superior Técnico (TÉCNICO LISBOA or IST/UL) at Universidade de Lisboa presented (PDF, video) on their use of CAPE-OPEN technology in a project that required interoperability between two pieces of software.

Dr Ana Catarina BRAZ graduated in Chemical Engineering from IST/UL in 2014 and obtained a Ph.D. in Refining, Petrochemical and Chemical Engineering from IST/UL in 2019 under the guidance of Professor Henrique MATOS. Dr BRAZ is now a Research Fellow at CERENA (Centro de Recursos Naturais e Ambiente), a research center hosted by TÉCNICO LISBOA and by Facultade de Engenharia at Universidade do Porto.

Professor Henrique MATOS is Associate Professor with Habilitation at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST/UL), where he graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1986. In 1993, he completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at IST/UL. His research interests are in the field of Process Systems Engineering and Supercritical Fluids Technology. He developed work in Process Integration, Process Dynamic Simulation and Sustainability Analysis of Process. His research work has resulted in 217 publications.

The details of the research project, where interoperability provided by CAPE-OPEN was used, have been previously reported: Braz, C. G., Mendes, A., Rocha, J., Alvim, R., & Matos, H. A. (2018, February 23). Model of an industrial multitubular reactor for methanol to formaldehyde oxidation in the presence of catalyst deactivation. Chemical Engineering Science. Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2018.09.033.

Forbidden gifUnfortunately, the presentation, either as a slideshow in PDF or as a video recording, cannot be shared on CO-LaN website. PSE Ltd, which software products are mentioned in the presentation, does not agree to this presentation being made publicly available. PSE Ltd states that the work presented seems to have been performed using a version of gPROMS (v5.1.1) which is now more than 2 years old, and a lot of development has been done since then – particularly in the area of model  validation/parameter estimation. Aspentech, which software products are also mentioned in the presentation, has no objection to the presentation being made publicly available.

This unfortunate situation just makes more evident the need for the certification process that CO-LaN is developing. The certification of software applications for their implementation of CAPE-OPEN interfaces will substitute a positive approach to the “who is to blame” approach when interoperability through CAPE-OPEN does not work as intended. CO-LaN would like to make clear that the CAPE-OPEN standard itself, as far as it is possible to analyze the situation, is not to blame here.


The CAPE-OPEN standard provides a suitable interface to take advantage of the strengths of different Computer-Aided Process Engineering (CAPE) software, by allowing the integration of third-party components into commercial simulation and modelling environments and accelerating the model implementation. This feature is especially relevant in the academic community, where the available resources are limited.

During my PhD, I developed a model of an industrial formaldehyde production plant to identify the process variables that will have the most impact on the improvement of the process efficiency and the increase of its profitability. This work focused on the development of a model for the methanol oxidation reactor, where the reaction kinetic and deactivation parameters had to be estimated, and a model for the absorption system. To ensure that these models correctly represent the observed reality, the availability of accurate physical property data becomes essential. Both models were implemented in the simulation tool gPROMS® Modelbuilder 5.1.1, and the necessary physical properties were obtained using Aspen Plus V8.8 through the Thermo CAPE-OPEN Standard properties with the formaldehyde−methanol−water Data Package provided by AspenTech.

In this presentation, I will present my experience with using the CAPE-OPEN property package exported from Aspen Properties and the advantages and limitations that I have encountered.

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