Optimal Design and Operation of Micro Chemical Processes

Micro chemical plants (MCPs) consist of many types of microdevices, such as micro heat exchangers, micromixers, microreactors, and so on. Microdevices are efficiently designed and fabricated by high advanced computational fluid dynamics as well as CAD&CAM system. The merits of MCPs are rapid mixing, high-speed heat exchange, high heat transfer efficiency, and so on. Therefore, MCPs are expected to exceed the capabilities of conventional macroscopic plants. The final goal of this research is development of a new fundamental approach to design, operation, and control of MCPs.

Process Control, Process Monitoring, and Quality Management

The data-based quality management (DBQM) system, which can improve quality and productivity by extracting useful information from operation data, is under development. The DBQM system is based on multivariate analysis including chemometrics. In addition, this research theme covers statistical process monitoring, process control, and integration of design and control for complicated process systems including microchemical processes.

Synthesis of Environmentally Benign Processes

Most of the waste products in process industries still have unused properties. By using such properties at other processes, the total capacity of the wastes can drastically be reduced. From that viewpoint, we are developing a process synthesis method by which appropriate process structures of a waste are systematically generated.

Decentralized Supply Chain Management System

We have developed an autonomous decentralized scheduling system, in which each scheduling sub-system of a production stage generates a plausible schedule taking into account the schedules of other production stages. Now the extension of the proposed framework to the planning and scheduling of overall supply chain in being studied.

Dynamic Optimal Operation of Chemical Processes

Dynamic optimal operation plays an important role in the development of high efficient chemical processes. Therefore, we are studying new types of on-line dynamic optimization system, optimal design method in consideration of dynamic operation for chemical processes. Topics in this area include the development of an on-line optimization system for a batch distillation column and an optimal design of a fuel cell cogeneration system.