Process intensification is an approach to chemical process design which aims to achieve “more with less”, e.g. to increase the productivity of chemical process while reducing the demand for resources. Process intensification comprises, for example, decreasing the equipment- size/production-capacity ratio, energy and feedstock consumption, and waste production, and ultimately resulting in cheaper, sustainable technologies as a result of process and chain efficiency and reduced capital and operating expenses.
Process intensification at the University of Antwerp
Membrane separation at the molecular level in organic solvents (OSN) emerged as a new area in membrane technology during the 90ties. The separation is primarily based on the size of molecules and membranes are characterized by their molecular weight cut off (MWCO) values. In the chemical processes, membranes are an energy friendly alternative for the more traditional separation techniques that are primarily based on temperature (i.a. distillation, evaporation, crystallization). In a joint research program with the Flemisch Institute for Technological Research (VITO), University of Antwerp has been developing a new class of solvent resistant membranes for nanofiltration, offering the advantage of chemical and thermal stability, as well as unprecedented selectivity. Examples of application include recovery of homogeneous catalysts, recovery of valuable components from diluted process streams, isolation of thermolabile molecules such as peptides.