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2015-06-11 Spain: New Software Development for the ECOdesign of Chemical Industry (ECOCHIN)


 

2015-06-11 Spain: New Software Development for the ECOdesign of Chemical Industry (ECOCHIN)

Description of the project offered:
 

Our society is becoming aware of the irremediable depletion of raw materials and the problems related to pollution and global warming. This has led the politicians and decision makers to adopt policies directed at dematerializing consumer flow. In other words, we are talking about creating the same or better quality products but using fewer raw materials and releasing less waste. The idea behind eco-designing is that of dematerializing consumer flow by reducing pollution and material flow from the very beginning by means of an adequate product design.
Chemical industry is one of the main responsible of the human development but also of the environment degradation because of their use of raw materials and emissions of waste and toxic substances. As a consequence, there are many reasons for whose eco-design principles have to be applied into chemical industry. 
The main feature of eco-design is the attention given to the product life cycle, in the sense that it takes all the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of a product into consideration. The life cycle approach in eco-design assumes that environmental impacts are generated in every stage of the cycle. Eco-design must focus its attention on the different phases of the product life cycle that greatly impact the environment so that when re-designing the product, measures that will effectively reduce said impact can be included. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the most suitable tool to do this analysis and is the most reliable and objective tool for determining the environmental profile of a product and therefore, an effective eco-design process should include this tool in its methodology. 
So, it’s clear that chemical engineers have to redesign many chemical processes to reduce their environmental impacts. But LCA is a tool developed for the analysis of industrial products along their life cycle. Chemical products and processes are not systems that LCA softwares present nowadays in market (GaBi, SimaPro) can be used to simulate. Also Life Cycle is a concept that doesn’t have sense to apply with chemical process or products. In this case what is has sense is to simulate the chemical process with chemical process simulators (Prosim, Chemcad,…) and try to determine the process step or flow with higher environmental impacts.
So, the idea of this project is try to join the benefits of both softwares, LCA and chemical process simulators, to create a new software that can simulate and design a chemical process taking into account process, economic and also environment requirements. The new software will be able to design chemical processes using the main features of both softwares, the ability to simulate real chemical processes and to use inventory data and to transform these data to clear environmental indicators. The final objective is to redesign chemical process taking into account not only economic and process, but also environmental requirements.
In short, eco-design methodology is going to be followed here with the main objective being that of applying to chemical processes. The final objective is to help chemical industries to redesign old processes or to create new processes that have lower environmental impacts. By this way chemical industry will continue leading human development.

Project proposer:
   Alberto Navajas ()
Partner role:  Project coordinator 
Partner organisation:  Research
Call for proposal title:  FET-Open - novel ideas for radically new technologies 
Call for proposal identifier:  H2020-FETOPEN-2014-2015-RIA