Benjamin Davis

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering

Process Design and Optimization

My training is primarily in process design and optimization, with a focus on computational process synthesis.  Essentially, this means I studied the automatic design of chemical plants using computer algorithms.  Topics I investigate with students for their research projects include:

  • Heat pinch analysis / heat exchange networks / heat and power networks
  • Mass pinch analysis / mass exchange networks
  • Optimal design of separation units by economic / environmental / safety criteria
  • Reactor design and optimization / identifying reactor performance targets and limits
  • Evaluating performance targets on entire chemical processes / plants
  • Lifecycle assessment / life cycle inventory / sustainable process design of chemical plants

After students have received training in optimization theory, analysis of the relevant technical literature, and computational solution of optimization problems, I typically ask students to complete a design for a process of their choice and identify potential sources of improvement or possible alternatives which could be superior in terms of capital cost, operating cost, environmental impact (solid waste generated, air emissions, wastewater production, etc.) and/or safety.  For a list of ongoing projects, click here.