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Sustainable Separation Process: Creating a Roadmap to Accelerate Industrial Application of Less Energy-Intensive Alternative Separations

Goal: Creation of an innovation roadmap to identify and develop an for advancing the rational design and predictable, widespread industry-wide industrial application of a less energy-intensive separation and costly separation processes as alternatives to distillation. The collaboratively-developed development of such a separation process roadmap will identify and prioritize research, development, and demonstration needs for technology initiatives with has the potential to transform the competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. chemical industry.

Lead: American Chemical Society
1155 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

Award Number: 70NANB15H065

Federal Funding: $500,000

Project Duration: 24 months

This proposal was developed to pave the way toward transforming the energy efficiency of separations at the heart of virtually all chemical processes. Conventional fluid separations account for over a third of the energy use and over half the capital investment of chemical plants. The technology infrastructure changes needed to facilitate industrial availability of less energy-intensive alternative separation processes are so fundamental and significant that they are far beyond the resources of one or even a small group of companies.

The ACS GCI is initiating a collaborative effort with leaders in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, universities, and professional organizations such as the AIChE and the Industrial Fluid Properties Simulation Collective to define needs for research, development, and demonstration of alternative separation technologies.

The development of a molecular property-based system for the industrial selection, simulation, and design of separation processes stemming from the roadmap will enable implementation of cost-effective, energy-efficient chemical separations process and its supporting technologies will enhance enhancing the U.S. chemical industry's role as a leader in the global market. This could lead to:

  • A significant reduction of energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions compared to separations via distillation.
  • The recovery of valuable components in waste-stream, increasing the U.S. chemical industry's competitiveness and substantially improving its environmental performance.
  • New technologies and engineering tools that generate high-technology jobs.

This project is building on work begun by the ACS CGI Chemical Manufacturer's Roundtable in 2013. Participation throughout the chemical and petrochemical industry will include most of the major players in the industrial sector as well as universities and research institutions.

For project information: David J.C. Constable, (202) 872-4523, d_constable [at] (d_constable[at]acs[dot]org)

Funded Participants:

  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AlChE)

AMTech Project Manager: Thomas R. Lettieri, (301) 975-3496, thomas.lettieri [at] (thomas[dot]lettieri[at]nist[dot]gov)

Created April 13, 2015, Updated April 10, 2019