Creating Safer, More Eco-Friendly Petrochemical Plants


A new algorithm developed by Texas A&M researchers can help engineers select optimal designs that maximize profit while lowering hazardous impacts.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have recently developed a more comprehensive mathematical framework that can help engineers at petrochemical plants to not only reduce production costs and increase economic gain, but also make these factories safer and more environmentally friendly.

The researchers said their new algorithm is a one-stop solution that can assist engineers in selecting the most optimal design for chemical processing units within their operating plants.

“The novelty of our algorithm is that it provides a sophisticated decision-making tool that can be used by project engineers to decide between competing designs for their chemical processing units,” said Prerna Jain, who worked in the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center as a graduate student at Texas A&M and is currently an engineer at an oil and gas company. “Our tool integrates data from potential equipment hazards, economic data, and more importantly, complex, man-machine interactions to generate a single numerical output. This number then points to a design that maximizes profit while still lowering environmental and hazardous impacts.”

An article on the research team’s findings was published in October in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.

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