Process screening framework for the synthesis of process networks from a circular economy perspective
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Processes for recycling or reusing material resources have naturally appeared along with the history of technology development when need, resource scarcity, opportunities, and enabling technologies have combined conveniently with insight, intuition, and fortune. The current pressure for saving resources by efficiently integrating production and consumption processes requires the development of systematic approaches exploring opportunities and determining the best alternatives. While recent research has addressed the problem of directly connecting sources and sinks, we turn our attention to doing so with improved efficiency and at a lower cost. This work addresses the event of a systematic framework for the synthesis and optimization of the industrial process networks required by an economic system aimed at adding value to waste and minimizing the continuous need for non-renewable resources from a circular economy perspective. The systematic framework presented relies upon a novel model formulated as a superstructure that includes the transformation technologies needed for the revaluation of waste, which, in turn, raises resource-sharing opportunities otherwise ignored. The model is flexible enough to address primary uncertainty sources and manage different objectives (e.g., economic and environmental. A case study on hydrocarbons recovery from waste plastic illustrates the capabilities of the model, which proves to be a useful tool for the identification of the most promising routes for waste transformation and the less efficient processes where substantial improvement is required to increase their competitive edge. The methodology is valuable for the multiple actors involving the waste revaluation sector, from private companies to policymakers.
CitationSomoza, A. [et al.]. Process screening framework for the synthesis of process networks from a circular economy perspective. "Resources, conservation and recycling", 2021, vol. 164, p. 105147.