Budapest University of Technology and Economics

XI. Műegyetem rkp. 3.



Head of department: Dr. László T. Mika, Assoc. Prof.


The department participates in ISU.


Education-related web pages (english sites are marked with small flag)


Major publications of the Departement between 1998 and 2002

The responsibility of the Department of Chemical Unit Operations and Process Engineering is to teach and train for chemical engineering students the following basic chemical engineering subjects:

  • Chemical Unit Operations (hydrodynamic & thermal)
  • Separation Engineering
  • Reaction Engineering
  • Chemical Process Control
  • Process Systems Engineering and Optimization
  • Environment Oriented Process Design
  • Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Design of Experiments

The Department was founded in 1952. The previous heads of department were Prof. Gy. Sárkány, Prof. M.G. Yefimow, Prof. K. Tettamanti, Prof. P. Földes, Prof. J. Manczinger, and Prof. Zs. Fonyo.

Since 2006, the current head of department is Professor Peter Mizsey. The most important research fields of the department are

  • experimental investigation of mass transfer separation devices,
  • development of distillation & absorption technologies,
  • modelling of thermodynamic properties,
  • modelling of batch & continuous separation processes,
  • supercritical extracion,
  • modelling of residence time distribution and chemical reactions,
  • mixing of liquids,
  • process design & integration (waste and energy),
  • chemical process control,
  • waste reduction
  • synthesis of mass exchange networks using mathematical programming
  • economic & controllability study of energy integrated separation
  • schemes
  • process synthesis of integrated plants.

Telephone numbers:

+36 1 463 xxxx

MIZSEY, Péter 2202 DSc., Professor, Head of the departement
BORUS, Andor 2174 DT., Senior lecturer
DEÁK, András 1490 PhD., Associate Professor
FONYÓ, Zsolt Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
HAVAS, Géza 1490 CSc., Associate Professor
HUNEK, József 3199 DT, Senior lecturer
KEMÉNY, Sándor 2209 DSc, Professor
LELKES, Zoltán 2209 PhD, Senior lecturer
MANCZINGER, József 3199 CSc, Professor
RÉV, Endre 1189 CSc., Associate professor
REZESSY, Gábor 2035 DT., Senior lecturer
SAWINSKY, János 3199 CSc, Titled professor
SIMÁNDI, Béla 1490 PhD., Associate Professor
SZÉKELY, Edit 2209 PhD, Senior lecturer

DSc: Doctor of Science, granted by Hungarian Academy of Sciences
PhD: PhD degree
CSc: Candidate of Science, granted by Hungarian Academy of Sciences
DT: Doctor Technicus, granted by Technical University of Budapest



Chemical Unit Operations courses constitute the central activity of the education in the Department. CUO I to III and Process Control courses are compulsory for all the chemical and biochemical engineer students. Most of the other courses are compulsory for the education branch Process Systems Engineering, almost all of them are compulsory in the education branch Chemical Management, and all of them are also alternative courses for other students. Most of the courses are also presented in English, and some of them in German, for foreign language students. One lecture is 45 minutes presentation. One semester consists of 15 active weeks. Thus 45 lectures for a course means 3 times 45 minutes lecture time weekly. The length of the laboratory practices and room exercises are also measured in these units. The courses are numbered as E-nn below. Capital letters B and P at the end of a course name denotes courses for Bio-engineering Section (B) and Process Engineering Branch (P), respectively. Courses without such letters belong to either the main Chem. Eng. Section, or to its Proc. Eng. Branch, or both.

Education staff 2003-2004

Course number Course sign Lecturer-Conductor (main section) Co-lecturer(s) foreign language section
E-1.1 CUO-I Fonyó Havas, Sawinsky
E-1.2 CUO-II Fonyó Havas, Sawinsky
E-1.3 CUO-III Sawinsky Deák, Simándi
E-1.4B CUO-IV.B Sawinsky Deák, Simándi
E-1.4P CUO-IV.P Sawinsky Deák
E-1.5B CUO-V.B Sawinsky  
E-1.5P CUO-V.P Kemény  
E-2.1 PC Mizsey Borus
E-2.2 CPC-I Mizsey  
E-2.3 CPC-II Mizsey  
E-3.1 PDM-I Rév  
E-3.2 PDM-II Rév  
E-3.3 PDMCS Rév, Mizsey  
E-4 Opt Lelkes  
E-5 DAE Kemény  
E-6 CPD Mizsey  
E-7 CPE Rév  
E-8 PT Rév  
E-9 EPCI Mizsey  
E-10 LLSLE Simándi  
E-11 MCCP Lelkes  
E-12 EPE Fonyó  Mizsey
E-13 EBPD Fonyó  Mizsey

All the colleagues take part in conducting seminars and laboratory practices.


E-1. Chemical Unit Operations

E-1.1. Chemical Unit Operations I (45 lectures) (Hydrodynamic Unit Operations, Heat Transfer Operations)

Related room exercises: 30 units

Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering. Continuity equations, mass balance, component balance, energy equation, momentum balance, equations of motions, transport equations, equations of state, equilibrium, chemical kinetics. Fluid mechanics, concepts of fluid behaviour, steady flow, rheology, viscosity, boundary-layer formation, friction factor. Navier-Stokes, Euler and Bernoulli equations. Transportation of fluids. Hydrodynamic models, flow in pipes and channels, pressure flow through equipment, pressure drop across packed towers. Mechanical unit operations: mixing, sedimentation: thickeners, filtration. Electrical and magnetic methods, centrifugal separation, fluidization, pneumatic transport, gas cleaning: cyclones. Flow of heat, conduction, convection, radiation. Rate of heat transfer, heating and cooling: viscosity correlation. Dimensional analysis. Heat transfer of condensation, steady and unsteady-state heat transfer. Heat transfer in shell and tube heat exchangers. Evaporation, boiling point rise. Standard and multiple-effect evaporators, vapour compression.

E-1.2. Chemical Unit Operations II (45 lectures) (Mass Transfer Unit Operations)

Related pilot plant laboratory exercises: 60 units

Principles of mass transfer, equilibria, material balances for stage-contact plants and differential-contact plants, theory of diffusion. Theoretical stage concept, transfer unit concept. Column and stage efficiencies. Gas absorption, design of packed towers. Distillation methods: flash distillation, differential and steam distillation, rectification. Design and operating of plate columns. Azeotropic, extractive and reactive distillation. Fractionating devices. Extraction and leaching, crystallisation. Air-water-contact operations and drying. New and hybrid separation methods. Basic theory of process design: synthesis and analysis, economic, environmental, operational and energy considerations. Laboratory practice with pilot-scale apparatus (evaporators, heat exchangers, mixers, filters, gas absorption, distillation, rectification, extraction etc.).

E-1.3. Chemical Unit Operations III (45 lectures) (Reaction Engineering)

Related room exercises: 15 units Related pilot plant laboratory exercises: 45 units

Macromixing and residence time distribution in continuos flow reactors. Experimental determination of the residence time distribution. Flow models for axial dispersion and backmixing. Influence of micromixing on conversion. Degree of micromixing in stirred tank reactors. Multiphase reactors. The role of mass transfer in fluid-fluid reaction systems. Heterogeneous reactions at an external surface and in porous solids. Influence of mass transfer on selectivity. Similarity between the Hatta number and the Thiele modulus. Fixed, moving and fluidized bed reactors. Reactors with three phases (gas, liquid and catalytic solid). Fluid-solid reactions.

E-1.4.B. Chemical Unit Operations IV.B (30 lectures)

Filtration of ferment liquors. Extraction by two-aqueous phase systems. Reverse-micelle extraction. Liquid-liquid membrane technique. Supercritical fluid extraction. Membrane separation processes: ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, pervaporation,. Flotation. Moving and fluidized bed adsorbers.

E-1.4.P. Chemical Unit Operations IV.P (45 lectures)

Related pilot plant laboratory exercises: 45 units

Chemical reactors. Dynamic behaviour of reactors. Residence time distribution. Non-catalytic gas-solid reaction. Evaluation of kinetic data. Heterogeneous catalytic reactions. Effect of transport processes on selectivity. Isothermal catalytic cylindrical reactor. Gas-liquid and three phase catalytic reactors. Selection of reactors.

E-1.5.B. Chemical Unit Operations V.B (30 lectures)

Instantaneous products: wetting rate, optimal agglomerate dimensions. Solid-liquid extraction. Liquid-liquid extraction. In-situ extraction of ferment liquors. Extraction with double aqueous phases. Supercritical extraction. Membrane separation processes. Crystallisation. Accumulation rate. Crystalliser devices. Adsorption. Freeze drying.

E-1.5.P. Chemical Unit Operations V.P (30 lectures)

Related computer laboratory exercises: 15 units

Thermodynamic data requirement of engineering calculations. Literature search for thermodynamic data: bibliographies and data bases. Checking the quality of data. Methods of phase equilibrium calculations: g/v and equation of state methods. Main types of models for fluids: dense gas, lattice and cell models. Models used for practical engineering calculations. Estimation of model parameters from experimental data. Group contribution methods. Algorithmic and numeric problems of phase equilibrium calculations. Multicomponent phase equilibrium calculations: bubble point, dew point, isothermal and adiabatic flashing, liquid-liquid equilibrium calculations. Generalised theoretical stage model. Three-phase stage model. The number of degrees of freedom of multistage separators (distillation, absorption, stripping and extraction columns). Short-cut methods and their application areas. Modelling of the rectification of nearly ideal mixtures, BP method. Acceleration of the convergence of the BP method. Modelling of absorbers and strippers by the Sum of Rates method. Simulation of liquid-liquid extractors by the ISR method. Newton-Raphson type algorithms, their advantages and disadvantages. Modelling of three-phase distillation, the Block-Hegner method. Modelling of two-and three-phase batch rectification. Model equations, basic algorithms (Di-Stefano, Galindez-Fredenslund methods). Introduction to the use of the PROCESS professional flow-sheeting program package. The first quarter of the exercises is computer laboratory exercise (column design and modelling). In the remaining part the students solve design problems individually (design of two column azeotropic, heteroazeotropic, extractive distillation and absorber-desorber systems).

E-2. Process Control Theory and Techniques E-2.1. Process Control (45 lectures)

Related room exercises: 15 units Related pilot plant laboratory exercises: 30 units

Review of the fundamentals of process control. Signal flow diagram, feed forward and feed back controls. Study of process control in the time-, Laplace-, and frequency domains. Time function, transfer function, frequency function and their relations. Criteria of control, mathematical representation. Basic controls, degrees of freedom, fundamental variables for composition control, pressure control, level control, temperature control, flow control. Theory and practice in the chemical industry. Miscellaneous measurements and controls. Hardware of control. Analogue and digital devices.

E-2.2. Computer Process Control I (30 lectures)

Related room exercises: 15 units

Theory of computer control. Basic sampling theorem, z-transform theorems. Stability analysis and design of sampled-data systems. Transfer functions, hardware elements. Developed control techniques and control systems. Controllability and control structure design of multivariable systems. Tuning and stability in the case of multiple input multiple output (MIMO) systems. State space methodology. Control of combined unit operations and technologies. Interactions in controlled unit operation and between the several controlled unit operations. Considering and elimination of the interactions, implicit and explicit decoupling, decoupling in a technology. Robustness, flexibility, resiliency. Real time systems. Instrumentation hardware.

E-3. Process Modelling, Simulation and Synthesis
E-3.1. Process Design and Modelling I. (45 lectures)

Related computer laboratory exercises: 30 units

Modelling of chemical processes and unit operations. Systems' decoding, variables, degrees of freedom. Calculation of steady states in general. Modular and equation solving approaches. Basic models and algorithms for phase equilibria calculation. Simultaneous, sequential, and adaptive modular techniques. Maximal closed subsystems and their identification. Identification of full information recycle systems by spanning tree algorithms. Optimal selection of tear variables. Signal-flow graphs, linear submodels. Short-cut models. Algebraic solution of linearized systems by equivalent transformation of the signal-flow graph and the same by Mason's rule. Decomposition of systems by mathematics and by engineering. Rigorous calculation of distillation columns by BP and SR methods. Numerical methods for solving systems of nonlinear equations. Philosophy and practical use of professional simulation softwares (PROCESS , ASPEN-PLUS). Transient processes in the chemical engineering practice. Transient models and their solution. Numerical problems in transient simulation. Boundary value problems in the chemical engineering practice. Types of description. Solution by finite differences and weighted residual methods. The methods of finite elements and boundary elements. Theory and application of artificial neuron networks.

E-3.2. Process Design and Modelling II. (30 lectures)

Related computer laboratory exercises: 45 units

Theory and praxis of process design. Process synthesis approaches. Hierarchy levels. Continuous and batch processes. Levels and methods for cost and profitability estimation. Special mathematical tools for process design and systems engineering: optimization over non-continuos variables, implicit enumeration, branch & bound, discrete dynamic programming. Destination of feeds, products, by-products, purge, and losses in the recycle structure with relation to the conversion and selectivity in the reactor and the whole process. Optimal reactor design in the context of the full process; reactor-separator systems. General structure of separator subsystems. Synthesis of rectification trains. Heuristics, load factors, dynamic programming for sharp separation. The synthesis problem of sloppy separation. Rectification energetics, reversible distillation model, stepwise heat turnover, variants of heat-pump assisted distillation, energy integration. Distillation in the heat cascade. Residue curves, pinch curves, separatrices, region boundaries, solvent selection for batch and continuous azeotropic and/or extractive distillation. Other separation processes. Conventional design of energy supply and recovery systems, pinch technology, and MINLP methods. Waste and environmental problems. Pinch technology for waste water minimization and treatment.

E-3.3. Process Design and Modelling Case Study

Related library exercises: 30 units Related computer laboratory exercises: 150 units

Full scale process synthesis and technological design of a particular industrial process. The practice commences with data collection and literature search. Process synthesis based on hierarchical approach. Modelling by professional simulation softwares (CHEMCAD, ASPEN-PLUS, HYSYS. Technological design of unit operations, allocation and design of control loops, safety problems, profitability analysis, optimization, documentation.

E-4. Optimisation (30 lectures)

Related computer laboratory exercises: 15 units

Definition of the objective parameter and objective function. The relation of the mathematical model to the objective function. Boundary conditions. Several case studies of chemical processes. Methods for the optimisation of continuous processes: Lagrange-multiplicator method. Linear programming. Non-linear programming. Methods working with derivatives and without derivatives. Random selection. Case studies. Optimisation of batch and non steady-state processes. Pontryagin theory. Optimisation of several objectives. Trade off methods. Examples. Practices: optimisation of chemical processes with the help of own computer code.

E-5. Design and Analysis of Experiments (30 lectures)

Related room exercises: 15 units

Error propagation law. Precision of measuring instruments. Error analysis of a complex measurement. Fitting nonlinear functions. Strategy of experimental design: screening design and more detailed mapping of the response surface, optimisation. Analysis of variance. Random blocks, cross classification and hierarchical classification for several factors. Latin squares. EVOP method for optimising an industrial technology when it is in operation. Taguchi method for improving quality of products, for reducing the variation of quality. Exercises and open-ended practice using the Statgraphics professional software tool.

Elective courses (all the sections, including postgraduate and foreign language):

E-6. Chemical Process Dynamics (30 lectures)

The application of dynamic modelling for chemical processes. The creation of the dynamic models. Similarities and deviations compared with steady-state models and modelling. Work with differential equation systems, derivation and solution. Solution methods, algorithms and numerical methods. Programming. Software for the solution of dynamic models of chemical unit operations and processes. Exercises. Dynamic modelling of different unit operations, combined unit operations, and chemical processes. Evaluation and interpretation of the results considering operability and controllability aspects.

E-2.3. Computer Process Control II (30 lectures)

Related room exercises: 15 units

Fundamentals of process control. Control of multiple input multiple output (MIMO) systems, theory and practice. Analysis of sampling control loops. Synthesis of sampling control loops. Dynamic modelling of different unit operations, combined unit operations, and chemical processes. Evaluation and interpretation of the results considering operability and controllability aspects. The special problems of the control of several chemical unit operations, processes, and technologies. Possible solutions of these special problems. Control of different chemical unit operations such as reactors, distillation and absorption columns, extractors, evaporators, pH control. Adaptive control, dynamic simulation. Implementation of digital control. Instrumentation hardware.

E-7. Chemical Process Energetics (30 lectures)

Basic concepts, technical thermodynamics. Comparison of heat engine, heat pump and refrigerating machine. Concept and terms of exergy. Definitions of efficiency. Exergy analysis. The Carnot-Clausius cycle and the steam power stations. Power station variants and their relation to the chemical plants. Cycles of mechanical, absorption, and chemical heat pumps. Calculation and technological design of mechanical heat pump and refrigerating machine cycles. Types of heat pump assisted distillation, their comparison and economical analysis. Energetics of evaporation and distillation, reversible model and energy saving alternatives. Energy integration. Pinch technology, composite curves, grand composite curves, heat cascade. Synthesis of heat recovery systems, pinch rules. Relation between thermal processes and the heat cascade. Overall site pinch analysis and optimization.

E-8. Pinch Technology (30 lectures)

Related computer laboratory exercises: 15 units The problem of energy recovery systems. Conventional design procedure. Construction of composite curves and pinch point. Approach temperature and minimum heat turnover. Grand composite curve and heat cascade. Pinch rules and rules for stream branching at pinch. Grid representation, evolution and loop breaking. Supertargeting for grass-root design and retrofitting. Pinch and pressure drop. Divers pinch. Steam generation, heat pump, turbine, thermal process and stack gas systems in the heat cascade and along the grand composite curve. Selection among fuels, steam and gas turbines, steam line pressure levels. Utility grand composite curve. Sensitivity tables, constrained problems, total site integration. Fresh water and waste water minimization by component transport pinch technique. Fresh water composite, pinch, and pinch rules. Distributed waste water treatment optimization by pinch technology. Pinch technology for batch processes.

E-9. Environmental Protection in the Chemical Industry (30 lectures)

Actual problems of the environmental protection. International regulations and standards. The pollution problems and environmental protection in the world and in Hungary. Classification and the sources of the waste. Process waste and utility waste. Internal and extrinsic waste. Waste reduction methods. Waste minimisation at the unit operations. Waste elimination incentives during grass-root process design and retrofitting design. Two level strategy for waste elimination. Closed cycle processing.

E-10. Liquid-Liquid and Solid-Liquid Extraction (30 lectures)

Applications of L/L extraction. Empirical correlations for distribution ratio. Selectivity of mixture solvents. Distribution of amphotlytes in pH field. Effect of pressure and temperature on mutual solubility. Fractionating processes: Calculation of Craig, Martin and Synge distributions. Laboratory and plant devices. Calc. of O'Keeffe distribution. Steady state and transient concentration profiles. Examples for fractionating: chiral isomers, oligo- and polypeptides, nucleid acids, viruses. Design and scale-up of mixer-settlers, based on laboratory experiments. Separation of emulsions. Flooding velocity in packed and sieve tray columns. Scale-up of agitated extractor columns based on pilot plant experiments. Effect of axial dispersion. Material transfer in agitated columns. Effect of impurities. Liquid membrane techniques and material transport theory. Carrier materials. Technological implementation. Reactive extraction. Extraction with reflux. Analogy with distillation. Inorganic applications: metal ions, wastes, waste water purification. Organic applications: pharmaceutical materials, penicillin, double solvent extraction for biological materials. Solid-liquid extraction. Selection of devices. Preparatory processes. Solvent recovery. Design and scale-up of industrial countercurrent devices based on laboratory measurements. Supercritical extraction: solubility, effective parameters, devices. Application in pharmaceuticals, seasons, polymers, hydrocarbons, environmentals.

E-11. Modelling of Countercurrent Processes

Multicomponent phase equilibrium calculations: bubble point, dew point, isothermal and adiabatic flashing, liquid-liquid equilibrium calculations. Generalised theoretical stage model. Three-phase stage model. The number of degrees of freedom of multistage separators (distillation, absorption, stripping and extraction columns). Short-cut methods and their application areas. Modelling of the rectification of nearly ideal mixtures, BP method. Acceleration of the convergence of the BP method. Modelling of absorbers and strippers by the Sum of Rates method. Simulation of liquid-liquid extractors by the ISR method. Newton-Raphson type algorithms, their advantages and disadvantages. Modelling of three-phase distillation, the Block-Hegner method. Modelling of two-and three-phase batch rectification. Model equations, basic algorithms (Di-Stefano, Galindez-Fredenslund methods). Introduction to the use of the PROCESS professional flow-sheeting program package. The first quarter of the exercises is computer laboratory exercise (column design and modelling). In the remaining part the students solve design problems individually (design of two column azeotropic, heteroazeotropic, extractive distillation and absorber-desorber systems).

E-12. Lecturing subjects of the Mechanical Engineering Group

1. Machine elements (2+0+0)
Machine elements, applied in the chemical industry, special construction materials
2. Machine drawing (0+3+0)
Sketch makeing, technical design reading, stereoscopic vision
3. Mechanical operations (2+1+0)
Mechanical operations of raw materials and products of chemical industry, ie: storage and transport of fluids, gases and bulk materials, characterisation, grinding, feeding classification and agglomeration of particulate solids
4. Practice in mechanical laboratory (0+0+6)
Measurement of characteristics of the bulk materials and of the machines learnt in mechanical operations
5. Computer aided design (0+2+0) (optional)
Machine drawing by computer
6. Manufactoring (0+0+2) (optional)
Using of different machine tools, welding in the workshop
7. Protection from dust, air cleaning (2+0+0) (optional)
Dust filters, dust separation
8. Fluid mechanics in chemical industry (2+0+0)..(optional)
Non newtonian fluids, multi phase flow



R-1.1. Determination of Vapour-Liquid Equilibria and design of Packed Columns.

Determination of Vapour-Liquid Equilibrium.
The design of rectification columns based on accurate Vapour-Liquid Equilibrium (VLE) measurements. In the literature a number of VLE data are available, however design of rectification columns often required to determine VLE of the unknown system, and to evaluate the measured data by computer. There are special difficulties to measure the VLE of non random and great relatively volatile systems.

Design packed rectification columns.
In the industrial practice the use rectification columns with structured packing has an outstanding importance. This columns have good separation effect, great capacity and low hydrodynamic pressure drop. There is a task to determine the height and diameter of the columns with new packing.

R-1.2. Development on distillation and absorption technologies

Confirmed thermodynamic data are necessary for developing distillation and absorption technologies. Vapour tension of pure materials and vapour-liquid equilibrium data of binary and multicomponent mixtures are experimentally determined and the thermodynamic consistency of the measured data are checked in this research work. Selection of feasible entrainers for azeotropic and extractive distillation, laboratory experiments on such systems and their computer modelling are standard parts of the developing activity. Study on the hydrodynamics and material transfer properties of random and structured packing, as well as technological sizing and determination of the main operational parameters are also included. The research group has and exceptional long history and firm know-how as the consequence of their many industrial contracts.

R-1.3. Modelling and calculation of thermodynamic properties

R-1.3.1. Consistency testing of thermodynamic data

Efforts are made to extend the residual method by Van Ness (proposed for binary VLE data at moderate pressures) to ternary mixtures, and to binary high-pressure VLE and LLE data. The ternary program is ready for moderate pressures. A novel method of testing consistency of thermodynamic data banks based on the testing of deviations from exact differential equations. At present it is developed for pure component data with one or two differential equations as constraint, examples are mutual consistency of vapor pressure and heat of vaporization data and that of volumetric (PVT) and caloric (CP and Joule-Thomson coefficient) data, respectively, and also for binary VLE data.

R-1.3.2. Modelling phase equilibria

Statistical thermodynamic models are being built resulting in EOS capable to describe and predict high-pressure equilibria of systems containing both apolar and polar components. A group contribution EOS model containing non-specific and specific attraction terms has been developed and tested for n-alkanes, aliphatic ethers, 1-alkanols and their mixtures. Methods of parameter estimation, assessing phase stability etc. relevant to EOS models are also studied. A special field is the modelling of solid-fluid phase equilibria for supercritical extraction. A monograph of 240 pp. has been published in Hungarian with the title "Equations of state for calculation of phase equilibria", covering statistical thermodynamics background of models and their systematization, its English version is under processing.

R-1.3.3. Calculation of properties of complex hydrocarbon mixtures

Methods of characterization and engineering calculations are investigated including continuous thermodynamics. An extensive review paper has been published in Hungarian.

R-1.3.4. VLE data bank

Literature data on multicomponent VLE are collected, assessed and put in a data base. Binary VLE data have been bought from Warsaw and supplied with computer programs for checking consistency and parameter estimation.

R-4. Modelling of batch and continuous countercurrent separation processes

Computation methods and algorithms for the modelling of countercurrent separation processes (rectification, absorption, extraction in plate columns). Three phase continuous and batch distillation with and without chemical reaction. Batch extractive distillation (in collaboration with the INSA de Lyon). Pilot plant experiments. Studying of different operational policies, determination of the optimal operational parameters.


R-2.1. Kinetics of Soxhlet-type and Supercritical Solid-Liquid Extraction of Natural Products. Mathematical modelling and optimization of the process

Soxhlet-type and supercritical extraction are similar operations in some points. Both are semi-batch processes using fresh solvent continuously recycled from a separator where extracted material is accumulated. The aim of the work is to calculate the relative amount of unextracted material as a function of time, solvent consumption and solvent hold-up in the extractor vessel as well as in the pores or cells of the solid natural product. The mathematical model is an analytical solution of Fick's differential equation with boundary conditions corresponding to the operation. It describes concentration in the extract and in the pores as a function of time and all other variables mentioned above. All parameters affecting the resistance of the natural product against diffusion are concentrated in a single constant that has a dimension of time. Its value can be determined experimentally. Then the model gives the batch time for a certain percentage of extraction as a function of the operational parameters. Experimental data have been taken to show the fit between the model and measured results. These include both Soxhlet and supercritical (SC) extraction. In the latter case a method has been developed for the determination of the solvent hold-up of the solid that is otherwise directly hardly measurable. In some cases further simplification of the model is possible. Further aim of the research is optimization of the procedure because the derived functions are suitable for the prediction of the effects of the operational parameters and they can serve as input signals to more complex systems. The work has been done in cooperation with the University of Maribor, Slovenia.

R-2.2. Supercritical fluid extraction equipment and R&D capabilities

Equipment:We have a batch extractor unit of 1l and 5l extractor vessel volume and a column for continuous countercurrent separation at supercritical or near critical conditions. The height of the column is 3.6 m, diameter is 0.046 m. Maximum working pressure is 320 bar and working temperature is 0-120 °C.

Research fields:

  • Extraction of odoriferous substances (e.g. rosemary, lavender) [1]
  • Total extraction of medicinal plants (e.g. camomile, thyme) [4]
  • Aroma recovery from spices (e.g. dill, fennel)
  • Fractionation of products (e.g essential oils and fatty oils from caraway seeds) [2]
  • Oil recovery from oilseeds (e.g. corn germ, sunflower) [3]
  • Extraction of animal fats (e.g. fish)
  • Removal of residual solvents from pharmaceuticals (solvents: methanol, hexane, cyclohexane, dichloromethane)
  • Separation of enantiomers using chiral resolution agents (e.g. cis and trans isomers of chrysanthemic and permetric acids) [5], [7]
  • Separation of organic/water systems (e.g. alcohol-water) [6]


Mathematical modelling of residence time distribution and chemical reactions

The knowledge of the residence time distribution (RTD) in an isothermal tubular reactor with non-Newtonian laminar flow is very important for the prediction of conversion for homogeneous reactions [1,2]. The performance of an isothermally operated continuous flow reactor cannot be predicted simply by using the expression of the RTD density function. The paper [3] treated the effect of micromixing on the conversion of the autocatalytic reaction in a continuous stirred-tank reactor. The Soave-Redlich-Kwong equation of state was used to describe the non-ideality of reacting mixture in modelling of a methanol synthesis reactor [4].


R-4.1. Power Consumption.

Measurements were made with paddle, centrifugal, propeller mixers and six blade turbine impeller, three-blade marine and plate type propeller agitators with liquids of various viscosity in the laminar, transitional and turbulent range of low. The measured data were presented as Euler-Reynolds diagrams. It has been shown that the effect of Froude number on the power consumption of mixers is negligible (1,2,3). The power requirement of anchor, helical ribbon impellers and screw agitators for the case of agitating Newtonian and pseudo-plastic liquids was measured. These types of impellers are being used in industry for the agitation of high viscosity liquids. Equations were given to calculate the power requirement of these agitators for Newtonian and pseudo-plastic liquids of high viscosity. The screw agitator was investigated in centred and eccentric positions as well as in a draught tube (4,5,6).

R-4.2. Homogenisation Efficiency.

The homogenisation time of anchor, helical ribbon and screw, gate and multi-paddle agitators in the laminar region and that of marine type and plate type propeller agitators in turbulent region were measured to classify the agitators according to homogenisation efficiency (7,8).

R-4.3. Heat Transfer in Agitated Vessels.

Heat transfer coefficient to helical coils and vertical tube baffles in agitated vessel were measured in Newtonian liquids with turbine impeller and marine type and plate type propeller agitators in turbulent region. Regression relation, containing a modified Reynolds number were obtained which are suitable both cooling and heating applications (9,10,11).


R-5.1. Feasibility of distillation for nonideal systems

Although the theory of distillation boundaries and regions is fairly developed in the past decade in the chemical engineering literature, there are some questions remained waiting for answer. First of all, the strictness of simple distillation boundaries proved to be week for continuous distillation in some particular cases. When and how these boundaries can be crossed by a simple feed rectification column is an open question yet. Second, it is also an open question how these boundaries behave with multiple feed columns, especialy in the case of extractive distillation. How these details effect the selection of solvents for extractive and azeotropic distillation is not yet even touched in the literature. Third, the separatices, boundaries and regions are usually studied in three component mixtures, i.e. in two dimensions. However, they can take more complicated formations in multicomponent mixtures, i.e. in higher dimensions. Even the mathematical description of higher dimension manifolds is not yet perfectly finished, and surprises may be expected from studying these possibilities.

R-5.2. Hibrid separation systems

Separation boundaries are related to just one method of separation, usually distillation. Crossing these lines can be achieved by application of additional separation phenomena. The best known of these possibilities is applying liquid-liquid phase separation together with a mainly vapour-liquid equilibria based distillation process (azeotropic distillation). However, any other separation process can be combined with the basic process. Azeotropic, extractive, reactive distillation, salt distillation, combination with membrane processes, with absorption, with cristallysation, etc. may all be sorted under the heading of hybrid separation systems. How these combinations can be reasonable developed or selected, optimally designed with energy integration, compared with each other is the main topic of these researches.

R-5.3. Reactive distillation

Reactive separation is usually applied for enchancing the equilibrium governed reaction by removing one or more of the reaction products. On the other hand, reactive separation is a complicated separation process reproducing complicated phenomena. One of these is the phenomenon of reactive azeotropy. This is a stationer point in reactive distillation of mixtures of components not forming azeotropic mixtures (or forming azeotropic mixtures at different compositions). This phenomenon may happen even in ideal mixtures. Once the phenomenon of azeotropy emerges, some kind of separatices and separation boundaries may also emerge. The situation is even more complicated when the reaction kinetics is also taken into account. In contradiction to the isolated singularities occuring in equlibrium systems, non-isolated singularities may, and usuallly do, happen to occur in the kinetic systems. Similar phenomena may occur in other reactive separation systems, too. The systematic study of the equilibrium and kinetic reactive separation systrems is just started.

R-5.4. Design Strategy for Selecting Energy Efficient Distillation Processes

A design strategy for selecting energy efficient distillation processes considering different types of heat pump structures (vapour recompression, bottom flash, closed cycle, absorption cycles) and energy integration is proposed based on the pinch analysis, primary energy rate, energy cost factor, and estimated payback time of excess capital. On the basis of the , energy costs and efficiencies simple expressions are proposed for preliminary economic analysis and design of heat pump assisted and integrated distillation processes. The influence of heat pump type and the exchanger minimum approach temperature on the economic figures is presented and the water management aspect of the technologies are indicated. The simulated results of the different energy efficient processes are compared to conventional schemes. The strategy is demonstrated and verified by industrial case studies. From economic standpoint the different absorption heat pumping schemes proved to be the processes of choice for C4 separations but from the water management aspects the mechanical heat pumping schemes became more favorable. All heat pumping systems show better economic figures than the conventional design, using only steam and cooling water.

R-5.5. Energy integrated distillation system design enhanced by heat pumping and dividing wall columns

The influence of relevant parameters on the economics of distillation plants involving absorption and motor type heat pumping as well as dividing wall columns (Petlyuk columns) is scrutinised and the results are compared to the conventional solutions. The result show that from an economic viewpoint the heat integration is the best solution. In case of stand alone columns heat pump is competitive and the dividing wall columns can be considered only in the case of the separation of multicomponent mixtures if heat integration is not realisable. Operability studies are also carried on for the systems investigated. The study shows that every kind of energy integrated solution can be controlled by decentralised control systems.

R-5.6. Energy recovery systems

Synthesis of process subsystems for supplying and recovering energy is a basic task in process design. The narrowest problem is synthesis of heat exchanger networks with minimum annual cost. Subtargets such as minimum number of units, minimum complexity, maximum energy recovery, minimum heat transfer area, etc. may be considered as targets of simplified problems. The research for efficient design algorithms accelerated after discovery of the pinch phenomena. However, some important subproblems remained to solve, e.g. efficient design far from pinch, or design with significantly different heat transfer coefficients. "Pinch technology" is a wide variety of methods based on the pinch principle, including assignement of thermal separation units, secondary steam generation, power generators and heat pumps along the heat cascade, total site integration, etc. Our research was first focused on the heat exchange network synthesis methods. Later we started researches on the general energy integration of processes and its relation to pinch, e.g. UGCC curves, but this research is classified under an other heading.

R-5.7. A global approach to the synthesis and preliminary design of &n integrated total flowsheets

A combined approach is under development for synthesising realistic processes efficiently, which utilises the advantages of the different methods for process design:

  • Hierarchical methods are used to create good preliminary flowsheets and screen these process alternatives with simple energy integration using short-cut models and simple estimation of the costs.
  • The user-driven synthesis technique is called upon to tackle all the constraints, complex energy integrations and additional implicit knowledge derived during the conceptual design that were unknown at the outset. The controllability of the particular process scheme is measured by using steady state multivariable synthesis tools.
  • A bounding strategy based on performance targets is developed to reduce the search space which is usually enormously large.
  • Algorithmic methods are suggested for the optional final tuning, the optimisation of superstructure postulated in the previous steps and the remaining heat exchanger network synthesis problem. For the final designs the use of rigorous models and optimisation techniques is provided in order to account more rigorously for features such as interconnections and capital costs. The effectiveness of this combined approach is demonstrated by representative industrial case studies.

R-5.8. Process Integration in Refineries for Energy and Environmental Management

A computer aided design strategy for generating and evaluating integrated process flowsheets have been developed for refineries. Beside economical and energy considerations the environmental managements aspects (waste minimisation and water management) are also included. For the development of the strategy both the traditional heat cascade principle (pinch analysis) and the algorithmic approach (MINLP) are applied. A special attention is paid to the heat recovery problems using mechanical and absorption heat pumping schemes at light hydrocarbon separation systems. The strategy is tested by industrial design and retrofitting problems e.g. lubricating oil production, C4 and C3 separations, crude as well as gasoline distillation.


R-6.1. Assessing plant operability during process design

A systematic procedure is under development for assessing plant operability during overall process design. At the preliminary stage of the process design the number of manipulated variables is scrutinised and a degrees of freedom analysis is performed in order to satisfy the process constraints and to optimise all the operating variables. The modification of flowsheets, the overdesign of certain pieces of equipment and the neglect of the least important operating variables are to be considered as restorative measures for controllability. At the more rigorous design level the controllability of the particular process scheme is measured by using first steady state and later dynamic multivariable synthesis tools (RGA, SVDA, NI, MRI, ...etc.) before performing dynamic simulations of the process together with its control system. In addition to the controllability concerned with the dynamic characteristics of the process in the neighbourhood of the steady state the switchability concerned with the dynamics of changes of operation from one steady state to another should be considered during the process design in order to assess the ability of the process to cope with large operating changes and to judge the trade off between plant integration and operability.

R-6.2. Transformation of Distillation Control Structures

Interaction problems can occur if both of the product concentrations are controlled in a two-product distillation column. Interaction can be reduced by selecting a proper control structure (control structure: a certain pairing of the manipulative and controlled variables). Selecting from the possible control structures requires the models of the structures. The transformation procedure can compute the feasible control structure models if a base control structure model is already given. The subject of the project is to check the Häggblom-Waller method for both steady-state and dynamic case of model-transformation. Since the full scale model of a distillation column is too complex for the transformation method to handle, it is necessary to find the allowable extent of model simplification in the base control structure model. The model must be enough simple to use it in the transformation method and also enough complex to get satisfactory models of the non-base control structures resulted in the transformation.


Waste reduction in the Chemical Industry

If cleaner technologies are to be designed for sustainable environment there are several strategies for the process and utility waste reduction. In case of the utility waste the solution seems to be easier compared to the problem of the process waste: both the pinch technology for the minimisation of the energy consumption and the conceptually based approach for waste water minimisation are able to handle and solve the problem of individual plants or the entire factory. In case of the process waste the situation and the alternatives for the waste reduction are more complicated. The systematic techniques developed and used for process improvements reach their limits at plant level. For further development, however, the decisions made on the plant level should be co-ordinated on the factory level considering the possible interactions among the different plants. With the use of the proposed systematic procedure for process waste minimisation of a factory closed cycle processing and the cost effective minimal global emission can be realised.

Clean technologies

Membrane separations
The theory and applications of membrane technologies are investigated. The major membrane operation investigaed is the pervaporation, however, other separations are also studied (e.g. nanofiltration, reverse osmosis). The model of pervaporatnio is developed and applied for the modelling of clean technologies such as hybrid operations, coupling of distillation and membrane units, etc.
Cleaning of waste water with physico-chemical tools
The waste waters are not always allowed to process by biological tools and also from economic point of view the physico-chemical tools can be favoured. These methods are e.g. stripping, desorbtion, membran operations. Industrial case studies show the effectivity of such tools.
Solvent recovery
The solvent recovery is a powerfool tool of the sustainable development. Indutrial case studies show the importance of such topics. The solvent recovery means in several cases the separation of quaternary highly non-ideal mixtures. New hybrid separation proecesses are designd. The core such processes is a new separation: the extractive heterogeneous-azeotropic distillation, which enables to significantly simplify the separation of highly non-ideal mixtures.

Synthesis of mass exhange networks (MEN) with mixed integer nonlinear programming (MINLP)

A new rigorous MINLP model for MEN synthesis of dehydration system consisting of a distillation column and a pervaporatin is under development. Resulting from the need for rigorous modelling, several mathematical tools for the GAMS environment are to be adopted. The optimal design of the system investigated is determined, the parameters are: number of trays, feed tray location, reflux ratio, separation factor, membrane units and their position. Optimal structure with and without recycle are presented.

Economic and controllability study of energy injtegrated separation schemes

The work is based on studying and rigorous modelling, design, simulation, optimization, environmental impact analysis, and control aspacets investigation of various energy integrated schemes. In one of the last works five different energy-integrated distillation schemes: two direct sequences with forward or backward heat integration (DQF, DQB), the Petlyuk or dividing wall system (SP), and two sloppy separation sequences with forward or backward heat integration (SQF, SQB) are investigated for the separation of a ternary mixture from economic and controllability points of view and compared to the non-integrated conventional direct separation scheme. The economic study shows that the optimal DQB has the highest total annual cost (TAC) saving: 37 %. SQF and SQB have 34 % and 33 % TAC savings, respectively. The controllability analysis, based on steady state indices, shows that the control loops of DQF and DQB have less interactions than in the case of the other energy-integrated schemes studied. The dynamic investigations also prove that DQF and DQB show similar controllability features than the non-integrated conventional scheme. Although the SQF and SQB have good economic features but their controllability features, especially the ones of SQB, are significantly worse than those of DQF and DQB. Therefore the controllability features should play a significant role at the selection of the energy-integrated distillation schemes.

Process synthesis of chemical plants

A combined methodology for process synthesis of integrated chemical plants is presented. The energy consumption, investment, environmental and operability challanges ae considered for saving the complex task of synthesizing processes of practical importance. Short-cut design tools, user-driven algorithm, rigorous process design methodologies and combination of conventional pinch technology with energy analysis are included. Interactions between the reactor and other subsystems, energy integration, heat pumping, complex column arrangements, and rational integration of heat and mass exchange systems are also taken into account.

Research topics of the Mechanical Engineering Group

1.) Solid-gas twophase flow. Different forms of pneumatic conveying: in horizontal and vertical pipe, aerokinetic and fluidized canal
2.) Investigation of particle motions in fludized bed by discret particle simulation (DPS) method
3.) Investigation and modelling by computer the work of air-air injectors


  • Imperial College of Science, Prof. Lester Kershenbaum, Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BY, UK
  • Delft University of Technology, Dr.ir. Theo W. de Loos, Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria, Julianalaan 136, P.O. Box 5045, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
  • Warsaw Technical University, Doc. dr. Andrzej Maczynski, 01-224 Warszawa, Poland
  • Institute of Physical Chemistry, Pol. Acad. Sci., Dr. Jacek Gregorowitz, Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-241 Warsaw, Poland
  • University of Manchaster Institute of Science and Technology, Prof. Bodo Linnhoff, Department of Process Integration, P.O. Box 88, Manchester, M6O 1QD, UK
  • Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Prof. Luis Puigjaner, Departamento de Ingenieria Quimica, Diagonal 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Universite de Liege, Prof. Boris Kalitventzeff, Laboratoire d'Analyse et Synthese des Systémes Chimiques, Sart Tilman - Bat. B6, B-4000 Liege, Belgium
  • University of Maribor, Prof. Peter Glavic, Department of Chemical Engineering, Smetanova 17, Maribor 62000, Slovenia
  • Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Prof. David W.T. RippinU , Prof. John R. Bourne, Lehrstuhl für Chemische Verfahrenstechnik, ETH Zentrum Zürich, CH-8092, Switzerland
  • University of Limerick, Dr. Eamonn Murphy, Dept. of Mathematics, Plassey Technological Park, Limerick, Ireland
  • Universite Paris, VII-CNRS, Prof. Henry V. Kehiaian, Institute de Topologie et de Dynamique des Systemes, 1 Rue Guy de la Brosse, 75005 Paris, France
  • Sankt-Petersburg State University, Prof. Andrej Morachevsky, Dept. Physical Chemistry, Peterhof, 198904, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Moscow Mendeleyew University, Prof. T. Gartmann, Dept. Chemical Technology, Myusskaya sq. 9, Moscow 125190, Russia
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, BAM, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Schweiz
  • Slovak Technical University, Department of Process Control, Prof. Alois Mészáros, Pozsony, Szlovákia