Process Systems Engineering

Process Systems Engineering (PSE) focuses on a complete, life cycle view of the manufacturing process in chemical engineering, beginning from the scale of molecule discovery &  scale up to the other end of spectrum relating to achieving manufacturing excellence and minimizing environmental impact. The PSE research has been focusing on these various individual steps in the life cycle of process engineering from both theoretical as well application perspectives. Beginning at the smallest scale of molecular modeling, research work at the  department has focused on Novel multi-scale simulation techniques for simulating complex interacting systems.The molecular scale information is employed with macroscopic models to describe chemical processes at the device length scales. Attempts to exploit the predictive capabilities of these multi-scale models for optimizing aforementioned devices are also currently underway. At the larger scale, the group has been focusing on the development of a generalized reactor model framework that can accommodate the wide diversity of chemical reactors. Establishing empirical cause and effect relationships for the purposes of process development, scale-up, process optimization, advanced process control, as well as fault detection and diagnosis, has been an area of significant activity in the systems engineering group. Basic and advanced optimization has been a focus area of research in the  department with several important and critical applications. Optimization for sensor network design that balances different criteria, such as process observability, precision & accuracy of parameter estimates and fault isolability, and overall cost of the sensor network has been an another active research area of the group. The group also focuses on the design of energy efficient heat exchanger networks along with approaches to identify opportunities for process intensification, i.e evolving substantially smaller, cleaner, and more energy-efficient designs. Some of key applications that are being considered are design of novel reactive separations methods for important industrial systems and design of new and alternate process routes  related to green manufacturing. Basic and advanced process control approaches are deployed in chemical process manufacturing to realize the optimal targets resulting from design and/or operational optimization steps. Model predictive control (MPC) has been one of the popular model based control algorithms. The group works on multi-parametric MPC approach with special  applications to fast transient systems. Biological systems exhibit several interesting phenomena at the cell level such as significantly amplified sensitivity of enzyme cascades. To develop a better understanding of these interesting phenomena, control theoretic approaches have been successfully used to represent and explain the feedback-like structures at the cell level.

Sub Research areas

Optimal transition of petroleum refineries to achieve decarbonization objectives

Decarbonization of Indian petroleum, petrochemical, and gas processing refineries is essential to achieve national climate change mitigation (greenhouse gas reduction) targets. This will require adoption of technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration and use of blue hydrogen. Selection of the appropriate technology will depend on the decarbonization potential, cost, scalability, and technology readiness level.

Battery pack design for E-Scooter/Drone/EV applications

Battery pack design for an e-scooter, drone or EV is very interesting problem. With the new e-scooter boom in the market and pending EV boom in India, the need for battery pack design engineers is destined to grow. A battery pack design requires deeper understanding of the workings of a li-ion battery along with their dynamics in a group of batteries. This work consist of both simulation and experimental component.



Design of robust optimal heat exchanger networks

Heat exchanger networks are designed with an aim of optimal performance at the design steady stage. This does not guarantee that in the presence of unanticipated (temperature, flow, UA) and planned (temperature, flow) disturbances, the designed network will still be optimal. To this end, this project aims at designing a network which will be robust enough to tackle these disturbances while maintaining optimality of operation. Continuous as well as batch heat exchanger networks will be targeted.

Distributed control architecture synthesis

Control of integrated networks is challenging due to strong interactions between variables (limiting performance of decentralized controllers) and large system size (difficult design of a centralized controller). In this context, distributed controllers pose an optimal architecture with reduced system size and inclusion of key interactions. A key question is how to decompose an integrated system into distributed architecture. We address this problem via structural analysis. Specifically, we abstract the control system into an equivalent graph.

Enabling Fast Charging and Safe Operation for Li-ion/Na-ion Battery: Modeling, Simulation and Optimization

Battery charging time is one of the most critical factors that will govern the penetration of electric vehicle in the market. Reduction in battery charging time is also desirable for portable electronics including cellphones. Significant research is underway to reduce the charging time of a lithium-ion/Na-ion battery. Ensuring safety while fast charging as well as discharging is also crucial for battery usage.

Systems dynamics and optimization based design of sustainable transport sector in India

Decarbonization of the transport sector is important for India to achieve net zero status by 2070. A particular challenge for India is the rapid expansion of the personal vehicle segment in the next couple of decades. Multiple options such as electric vehicles (EVs), biofuels based vehicles, compressed biogas driven vehicles and so on are being promoted. The optimal adoption of these technologies should be a function of technology performance, cost, environmental impact and policies, all of which are a function of time. 

Development of a Decision Support System for Management of Emergency Operations

Emergency management in the event of an occurrence of an acute accident situation requires the invocation of multiple systems and recources both onsite and offsite of a chemical process facility. During such emergency handling operation significant decisions are required to be made in a timely and efficient manner so as to effect rapid assembly of people, evacuation, and the technical management of the emergency so as to reduce human and economic losses and a protracted loss of production, and finally a quick turnaround.

Development of Safety Regulations: Integration of Cost-Benefit Analysis

Risk is integral to modern society. As a society evolves, there is an enhancement in societal perception of risk and in the need for mitigating
them. This translates into enactment of legislation to control such risks.
However, such legislative efforts do not integrate costs and benefits associated