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Cover Story: Process Modeling Moves Center-Stage

By Mark Matzopoulos Process Systems Enterprise Ltd. |

Process modeling has progressed from the "molecule accounting" of steady-state flowsheeting packages to become a central platform for capturing and deploying chemical process industries’ (CPI) intellectual property (IP). Systematic modeling has moved center stage to help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors while also providing a set of tools with which it is possible to adapt rapidly to changing market conditions. The Traditional Approach Until recently, process modeling usually meant "process simulation", and simulation typically meant either performing flowsheeting studies using a commercial program, running an in-house Fortran model of a reactor, or performing a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the fluid flows inside a stirred tank. Each of these activities still has a valid place in the panoply of techniques deployed within the CPI to generate information for design and operational decisions. Indeed, each has unique advantages: process flowsheeting tools are easy to use and generate heat and material balances and basic equipment-design information quickly; in-house programmed models embody valuable corporate knowledge collected over many years; CFD tools can model…
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