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Title: Contribution to the development of decision-support tools for environmental life-cycle assessment and optimisation of chemical processes and products
Author: Calvo-Serrano, Raul
ISNI:       0000 0004 9351 0156
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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The threat of irreversible environmental degradation has fostered the interest in more sustainable production practices in all production sectors and human activities. The chemical industry presents a fundamental intermediate role in the supply chains of most products and services, thus being critical to achieve globally more efficient, reliable and sustainable production practices. To address these sustainability challenges, decision-making processes are fundamental to identify suitable solutions under increasingly competitive and dynamic markets, requiring the consideration of the production system particularities. The quality of these solutions, however, directly depends on the reliability of the sustainability assessment methods underpinning decision-making. Nevertheless, most of these assessment methods, and particularly for environmental assessment, are limited to specific systems under very limiting conditions (e.g. excessive necessary process information). These factors ultimately condition the reliability and, in extreme cases, the applicability of existing assessment methods. As many other sectors, chemical processes often involve many material and energy flows which lead to highly complex and variable behaviours, being critically affected by the limitations of conventional sustainability assessment methods. In order to enhance the identification and application of more sustainable processes, it is necessary to use assessment methods able to encompass the particularities of the chemical industry. This thesis proposes the development of environmental assessment methodologies tailored for specific processes and products while relying on mathematical modelling and analysis techniques such as model optimisation. This thesis focuses on (i) the environmental assessment and uncertainty evaluation of chemical processes and products under scarce information, and (ii) the economic and environmental optimisation of biomass utilisation for the satisfaction of chemicals, fuels and energy demands. The chapters of this thesis discuss the quality of the methods here developed and their results, overall demonstrating the capabilities and advantages of adapted environmental assessment combined with mathematical modelling for the development of sustainable chemical processes.
Supervisor: Shah, Nilay ; Guillen-Gosalbez, Gonzalo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral