Author(s): Jean-Claude CHARPENTIER
Affiliation(s): Laboratoire Réactions et Génie des Procédés, CNRS/ ENSIC/Université de Lorraine, 1, rue Grandville, 54001, Nancy, France
Confronted with the globalization of the markets, acceleration of partnerships and innovation, and to offer a contribution to the fight against environmental destruction and non sustainable behaviour of the today world production, the chemical and related industries militate for the evolution of chemical engineering in favour of a modern process engineering voluntarily concerned by sustainability (the green process engineering) that will face new challenges and stakes bearing on complex systems at the molecular scale, at the product scale and at the process scale.
Indeed the existing and the future processes will be progressively adapted to the principles of the « green chemistry » which involves a modern approach of chemical engineering that satisfies both the market requirements for specific nano and microscale end-use properties of competitive targeted green (sustainable) products, and the social and environmental constraints of sustainable industrial meso and macroscale production processes at the scales of the units and sites of production.
These last constraints require an integrated system approach of complex multidisciplinary, non-linear, non equilibrium processes and transport phenomena occurring on the different time and length scales of the chemical supply chain, which means a good understanding of how phenomena at a smaller length-scale relates to properties and behaviour at a longer length-scale, from the molecular and active aggregates-scales up to the production-scales (i.e. the design of a refinery or of a cement or phosphate production complex from the Schrödinger’s equations…).
The success of this integrated multiscale approach for process innovation (the 3rd paradigm of chemical engineering) is mainly due to the considerable developments in the analytical scientific techniques coupled with image processing, in the powerful computational tools and capabilities (clusters, supercomputers, cloud computers, graphic processing units, numerical codes parallelization etc.) and in the development and application of descriptive models of steady state and dynamic behaviour of the objects at the scale of interest.
This modern scientific multiscale approach of chemical engineering « the green approach of process engineering » that combines both market pull and technology push is strongly oriented on process intensification and on the couple green products/green processes “to produce much more and better in using much less”, and to sustainabily produce molecules and products responding to environmental and economic challenges, with the help of technical innovation and sustainable technologies for efficient mass and energy utilization and for a better quality of life:
This modern green approach of chemical and process engineering will concern the eco-efficient “Factory of Future”.