Special Issue "Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Timothy Gordon Walmsley

Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Interests: process integration; circular economy; sustainable design; energy efficiency
Prof. Dr. Chew-Tin Lee
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia
Interests: wastewater treatment; environment; environmental impact assessment; water and wastewater treatment; sustainability; environmental analysis; sustainable development; renewable energy technologies; environmental management; environmental pollution
Prof. Dr. Sandro Nižetić
Website
Guest Editor
LTEF-Laboratory of Thermodynamics and Energy Efficiency, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
Interests: renewable energy technologies; energy conversion; energy; thermal engineering; photovoltaics; engineering thermodynamics; energy engineering; mechanical engineering; engineering; applied and computational mathematics; power generation
Dr. Yee-Van Fan
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic
Interests: solid waste management; waste treatment; scenarios; cleaner production; organic waste; environment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Process integration and optimisation of energy and resource flows within industrial and regional systems provide an engineering basis in the move toward sustainability. Process integration applies a holistic approach to systems design where the performances of individual components are devised to benefit the total system. The importance of holistic thinking can impact system design at multiple scales, from micro-reactors to the processes and sites of entire countries and regions. Circular economy, industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, and life cycle analysis, are related holistic concepts. In working toward sustainable development and systems, process integration and optimisation, combined with these related ideas, have the potential to extract the maximum value and efficiency of energy and resources, leading to a greener economy that minimizes the release of GHG emissions, particulates, and other harmful emissions.

Contributions to this Special Issue stem mainly from the 22nd International Conference on Process Integration, Modelling and Optimisation for Energy Saving and Pollution Reduction—PRES’19—with additional papers from the 5th International Conference on Low Carbon Asia & Beyond—ICLCA 2019. This Special Issue is open to additional contributions from the academic research community. PRES’19 aims to challenge the status quo of energy efficiency, technology, and sustainability. Using a holistic approach, research contributions derive innovative solutions to both local and global energy and resource sustainability issues. As such, this Special Issue encapsulates frontier research that applies a holistic approach to the analysis, modelling, integration and optimisation of systems. The Guest Editors have selected articles from PRES’19 and ICLCA 2019 that, with substantial extensions, could offer thought-provoking concepts, new methods for sustainable systems, and cutting-edge system design.

Dr. Timothy Gordon Walmsley
Prof. Dr. Chew-Tin Lee
Prof. Dr. Sandro Nižetić
Dr. Yee-Van Fan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • process integration
  • process design
  • process modelling
  • optimisation
  • energy efficiency
  • circular economy
  • circular integration
  • industrial ecology
  • industrial symbiosis
  • industry 4.0
  • sustainable development
  • sustainability indicators
  • life cycle analysis

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Adsorption of Phenol from Wastewater Using Calcined Magnesium-Zinc-Aluminium Layered Double Hydroxide Clay
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104273 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
The presence of priority and emerging aromatic-based pollutants in water sources is of growing concern as they are not bioavailable and are present in reuse plant feed streams. These pollutants have known mutagenic and carcinogenic effects and must therefore be removed. Adsorption has [...] Read more.
The presence of priority and emerging aromatic-based pollutants in water sources is of growing concern as they are not bioavailable and are present in reuse plant feed streams. These pollutants have known mutagenic and carcinogenic effects and must therefore be removed. Adsorption has been widely accepted as a suitable remediation technology due to its simplicity. Clay-based adsorbents have attracted significant attention due to their low cost, environmentally benign properties and regeneration potential. The present work focused on the thermal modification of a commercial Layered Double Hydroxide (LDH) clay and its subsequent effectiveness as an adsorbent in the removal of phenol from wastewater. Calcination of the neat clay resulted in the formation of metal oxides with varying phases and crystallinity depending on the treatment temperature. The BET surface area increased by 233% upon calcination at 500 °C. The highest phenol removal (85%) was observed in the clay calcined at 500 °C compared to 10% for the neat clay. Optimization studies revealed a maximum adsorption capacity of 12 mg/g at an adsorbent loading of 10 g/L at pH 7. Phenol adsorption was postulated to occur via a two-stage intercalation and surface adsorption mechanism. The equilibrium data were best fitted on the Freundlich isotherm model which describes heterogeneous adsorption. The adsorption kinetics followed a pseudo-second-order kinetic model with rate constants of 4.4 x 10−3 g/mg.h for the first 12h and 6.1 x 10−3 g/mg.h thereafter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Municipal Solid Waste and Utility Consumption in Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083425 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
In Taiwan, 3,130,735 t of refuse for disposal and 4,113,808 t of recycled recyclable waste were generated in 2017. The government of Taiwan has been actively promoting a resource recycling program since July 1998. To pursue sustainability and locate waste minimization opportunities, the [...] Read more.
In Taiwan, 3,130,735 t of refuse for disposal and 4,113,808 t of recycled recyclable waste were generated in 2017. The government of Taiwan has been actively promoting a resource recycling program since July 1998. To pursue sustainability and locate waste minimization opportunities, the correlation between utility consumption and population and the quantity of refuse and recyclable waste from municipalities in Taiwan was studied. There are six special municipalities and 16 cities and counties covering a great variety of urbanization and settlement characteristics, such as registered populations, electricity, and water consumption. The above parameters of the municipalities were correlated with the quantities of refuse and recycled urban waste. Residential electricity consumption, overall population, and business electricity consumption were found to be major parameters correlating the generation of refuse and recycled urban waste. Due to their higher levels of business activities, the waste generation behaviours of these six special municipalities are more diverse than those of the 16 municipalities. Due to the discrepancy of the registered population system, the utility consumption values within administrative boundaries can better predict municipal solid waste, (MSW) generation than utility consumption at a per capita. Utility consumption within administrative boundaries is more convenient as a measure to predict refuse and recycled urban waste than other complex social–economic indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of the Relative Amount of Ingredients on the Rheological Properties of Semolina Doughs
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072705 - 30 Mar 2020
Abstract
“Pani carasau” is a traditional Sardinian bread, made with re-milled durum wheat semolina, with a long shelf-life. The production process is highly energy consuming, but its automation can make it more energy-efficient and sustainable. This requires a deep knowledge of the rheological parameters [...] Read more.
“Pani carasau” is a traditional Sardinian bread, made with re-milled durum wheat semolina, with a long shelf-life. The production process is highly energy consuming, but its automation can make it more energy-efficient and sustainable. This requires a deep knowledge of the rheological parameters of the doughs. This study investigated the rheological properties of doughs—prepared by mixing semolina with water, yeast, and salt—as a function of the relative amount of the ingredients. The rheological measurements were carried out by an Anton Paar MCR 102 rheometer, equipped with a plate–plate fixture. In more detail, frequency sweep and creep tests were performed. It was found that doughs obtained with different amounts of ingredients showed significant differences in the rheological responses. The addition of water led to a significant decrease in the viscosity and improved the deformability of the dough. In addition, the yeast addition produced a viscosity decrease, while the presence of salt produced an improvement of the three-dimensional gluten network characteristics and, consequently, of the strength of the dough. In addition to the production process of pani carasau, this work contributes to improving the general performance of the doughs used in the production of flour-and-semolina-based foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Tradeoffs in Merged Pipeline Infrastructure for Carbon Dioxide Integration Networks
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072678 - 29 Mar 2020
Abstract
Carbon integration aims to identify appropriate CO2 capture, allocation, and utilization options, given a number of emission sources and sinks. Numerous CO2-using processes capture and convert emitted CO2 streams into more useful forms. The transportation of captured CO2 [...] Read more.
Carbon integration aims to identify appropriate CO2 capture, allocation, and utilization options, given a number of emission sources and sinks. Numerous CO2-using processes capture and convert emitted CO2 streams into more useful forms. The transportation of captured CO2, which poses a major design challenge, especially across short distances. This paper investigates new CO2 transportation design aspects by introducing pipeline merging techniques into carbon integration network design. For this, several tradeoffs, mainly between compression and pipeline costs, for merged pipeline infrastructure scenarios have been studied. A modified model is introduced and applied in this work. It is found that savings on pipeline costs are greatly affected by compression/pumping levels. A case study using two different pipe merging techniques was applied and tested. Backward branching was reported to yield more cost savings in the resulting carbon network infrastructure. Moreover, both the source and sink pressures were found to greatly impact the overall cost of the carbon integration network attained via merged infrastructure. It was found that compression costs consistently decreased with increasing source pressure, unlike the pumping and pipeline costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Pb(II) Bio-Removal, Viability, and Population Distribution of an Industrial Microbial Consortium: The Effect of Pb(II) and Nutrient Concentrations
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2511; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062511 - 23 Mar 2020
Abstract
This study presents the effect of aqueous Pb(II) and nutrient concentrations on the Pb(II)-removal, biomass viability, active species identities, and population distribution of an industrial Pb(II) resistant microbial consortium. The studied consortium has previously shown to be highly effective at precipitating Pb(II) from [...] Read more.
This study presents the effect of aqueous Pb(II) and nutrient concentrations on the Pb(II)-removal, biomass viability, active species identities, and population distribution of an industrial Pb(II) resistant microbial consortium. The studied consortium has previously shown to be highly effective at precipitating Pb(II) from solution. At all conditions tested (80 and 500 ppm Pb(II), and varying nutrients conditions) it was found that circa 50% of Pb(II) was removed within the first 3 h, with the absence of any visual changes, followed by a slower rate of Pb(II) removal accompanied by the formation of a dark precipitate. The Pb(II) removal was found to be independent of microbial growth, while growth was observed dependent on the concentration of Pb(II), nutrients, and nitrates in the system. SEM analysis indicated viable bacilli embedded in precipitate. These findings indicate that precipitation occurs on the surface of the biomass as opposed to an internal excretion mechanism. BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) results indicated Klebsiella pneumoniae as the active species responsible for Pb(II) bioprecipitation for both the 80 and 500 ppm isolated colonies, while a diverse population distribution of organisms was observed for the streak plate analyses. A quicker microbial generation rate was observed than what was expected for Klebsiella pneumoniae, indicating that the overall consortial population contributed to the growth rates observed. This study provided insights into the factors affecting Pb(II) bio-removal and bioprecipitation by the investigated industrially obtained consortium, thereby providing invaluable knowledge required for industrial application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Plant Layout Optimization for Chemical Industry Considering Inner Frame Structure Design
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2476; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062476 - 21 Mar 2020
Abstract
Plant layout design is a complex task requiring a wealth of engineering experience. A well-designed layout can extraordinarily reduce various costs, so layout study is of great value. To promote the research depth, plenty of considerations have been taken. However, an actual plant [...] Read more.
Plant layout design is a complex task requiring a wealth of engineering experience. A well-designed layout can extraordinarily reduce various costs, so layout study is of great value. To promote the research depth, plenty of considerations have been taken. However, an actual plant may have several frames and how to distribute facilities and determine the location of them in the different frames has not been well studied. In this work, frames are set as a special kind of inner structure and are added into the model to assign facilities into several blocks. A quantitative method for assigning facilities is proposed to let the number of cross-frame connections be minimized. After allocating the facilities into several blocks, each frame is optimized to obtain initial frame results. With designer decisions and cross-frame flow information, the relative locations of frames are determined and then the internal frame layouts are optimized again to reach the coupling optimization between frame and plant layout. Minimizing the total cost involving investment and operating costs is set to be the objective. In the case study, a plant with 138 facilities and 247 material connections is studied. All the facilities are assigned into four frames, and only 17 connections are left to be cross-frame ones. Through the two optimizations of each frame, the length of cross-frame connections reduces by 582.7 m, and the total cost decreases by 4.7 × 105 ¥/a. Through these steps, the idea of frame is successfully applied and the effectiveness of the proposed methodology is proved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Analysis for Data-Driven Chance-Constrained Optimization
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2450; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062450 - 20 Mar 2020
Abstract
In this contribution our developed framework for data-driven chance-constrained optimization is extended with an uncertainty analysis module. The module quantifies uncertainty in output variables of rigorous simulations. It chooses the most accurate parametric continuous probability distribution model, minimizing deviation between model and data. [...] Read more.
In this contribution our developed framework for data-driven chance-constrained optimization is extended with an uncertainty analysis module. The module quantifies uncertainty in output variables of rigorous simulations. It chooses the most accurate parametric continuous probability distribution model, minimizing deviation between model and data. A constraint is added to favour less complex models with a minimal required quality regarding the fit. The bases of the module are over 100 probability distribution models provided in the Scipy package in Python, a rigorous case-study is conducted selecting the four most relevant models for the application at hand. The applicability and precision of the uncertainty analyser module is investigated for an impact factor calculation in life cycle impact assessment to quantify the uncertainty in the results. Furthermore, the extended framework is verified with data from a first principle process model of a chloralkali plant, demonstrating the increased precision of the uncertainty description of the output variables, resulting in 25% increase in accuracy in the chance-constraint calculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Time-Dependent Integration of Solar Thermal Technology in Industrial Processes
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062322 - 16 Mar 2020
Abstract
Solar energy is currently an underutilized renewable energy source that could fulfill low-temperature industrial heat demands with significant potential in high solar irradiance counties such as Malaysia. This study proposes a new systematic method for optimization of solar heat integration for different process [...] Read more.
Solar energy is currently an underutilized renewable energy source that could fulfill low-temperature industrial heat demands with significant potential in high solar irradiance counties such as Malaysia. This study proposes a new systematic method for optimization of solar heat integration for different process options to minimize the levelized cost of heat by combining different methods from the literature. A case study from the literature is presented to demonstrate the proposed method combined with meteorological data in Malaysia. The method estimates capital cost and levelized cost of solar heating considering important physical constraints (e.g., available space) and recovery of waste heat. The method determines and optimizes important physical dimensions, including collector area, storage size, and control design. As the result of the case study, the solar thermal integration with Clean-In-Place streams (hot water) gives the lowest levelized cost of heat with RM 0.63/kWh (0.13 EUR/kWh) due to its lowest process temperature requirement. The sensitivity analysis indicates that collector price and collector efficiency are the critical parameters of solar thermal integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Properties of Semolina Doughs with Different Relative Amount of Ingredients
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062235 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The impact of the relative amount of ingredients, wheat variety, and kneading time on the thermal properties of semolina doughs were investigated by means of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The doughs were prepared by mixing water, semolina, yeast, and salt in different proportions. The [...] Read more.
The impact of the relative amount of ingredients, wheat variety, and kneading time on the thermal properties of semolina doughs were investigated by means of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The doughs were prepared by mixing water, semolina, yeast, and salt in different proportions. The gelatinized flour fraction plays an important role in the thermal properties’ definition, while the water amount influences the development of the dough network and, consequently, the starch gelatinization phenomena. Furthermore, the amount of yeast and salt influences the dough network force and, consequently, the thermal properties. The TGA technique was applied in order to evidence the mass loss as a function of the increasing temperature, considering that this behavior depends on the dough network force and extension. In such a way, it was possible to find some information on the relationship between the dough characteristics and the thermogravimetric analysis outputs. The study is devoted to acquiring deeper knowledge about the thermophysical characteristics of doughs in the breadmaking industrial processes, where the controllability and the energy performances need to be improved. A deeper knowledge of the dough properties, in terms of measurable parameters, could help to decrease the amounts of off-specification products, resulting in a much more energy-efficient and sustainable processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Computation of Global and Local Mass Transfer in Hollow Fiber Membrane Modules
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062207 - 12 Mar 2020
Abstract
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) provides a flexible tool for investigation of separation processes within membrane hollow fiber modules. By enabling a three-dimensional and time dependent description of the corresponding transport phenomena, very detailed information about mass transfer or geometrical influences can be provided. [...] Read more.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) provides a flexible tool for investigation of separation processes within membrane hollow fiber modules. By enabling a three-dimensional and time dependent description of the corresponding transport phenomena, very detailed information about mass transfer or geometrical influences can be provided. The high level of detail comes with high computational costs, especially since species transport simulations must discretize and resolve steep gradients in the concentration polarization layer at the membrane. In contrast, flow simulations are not required to resolve these gradients. Hence, there is a large gap in the scale and complexity of computationally feasible geometries when comparing flow and species transport simulations. A method, which tries to cover the mentioned gap, is presented in the present article. It allows upscaling of the findings of species transport simulations, conducted for reduced geometries, on the geometrical scales of flow simulations. Consequently, total transmembrane transport of complete modules can be numerically predicted. The upscaling method does not require any empirical correlation to incorporate geometrical characteristics but solely depends on results acquired by CFD flow simulations. In the scope of this research, the proposed method is explained, conducted, and validated. This is done by the example of CO2 removal in a prototype hollow fiber membrane oxygenator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
The Potential for Integration of Wind and Tidal Power in New Zealand
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051807 - 28 Feb 2020
Abstract
This research focuses on proposing and evaluating an optimized hybrid system of wind and tidal turbines operating as a renewable energy generating unit in New Zealand. Literature review indicates increasing worldwide investment in offshore renewable energy in recent years. Offshore energy shows a [...] Read more.
This research focuses on proposing and evaluating an optimized hybrid system of wind and tidal turbines operating as a renewable energy generating unit in New Zealand. Literature review indicates increasing worldwide investment in offshore renewable energy in recent years. Offshore energy shows a high potential as an alternative energy generation solution to that of fossil fuels. Using the capacities of wind and tidal power in renewable technologies would be a suitable alternative for fossil fuels and would help prevent their detrimental effects on the environment. It is a cost-effective procedure for the power generation sector to maximize these renewables as a hybrid system. At the design phase, turbine types appropriate to environmental conditions for an area with high wind speed and tidal flow need to be considered. When selecting which turbines should be used, horizontal or vertical axis, number and length of blades, and optimized rotational speed are all important to get maximum capacity from either the wind or tidal energy for the hybrid system. Comprehensive simulation models of the hybrid system are now being set up, using several available commercial software packages such as QBlade, Simulink, and RETScreen. Several different parameters will be required for these simulation models to run in order to test performance, capacity and efficiency of the proposed hybrid system. To decide which regions are suitable for the hybrid system, it will be necessary to analyze available wind and tide records from NIWA, and online databases such as GLOBAL ATLAS. This next phase of research will aim to create optimized scenarios for the hybrid model by considering the effect of wind and water speed on performance. After deciding which region and scenarios are suitable, it will also be necessary to evaluate the costs and returns of a hybrid system. This final phase will be performed using the RETScreen simulation model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Study on Supersonic Dehydration Efficiency of High Pressure Natural Gas
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020488 - 08 Jan 2020
Abstract
Supersonic cyclone separator is a novel type of natural gas dewatering device that overcomes the shortcomings of traditional dewatering methods. In order to investigate the factors affecting the separation efficiency and improve the separation performance of the supersonic cyclone separator, the discrete particle [...] Read more.
Supersonic cyclone separator is a novel type of natural gas dewatering device that overcomes the shortcomings of traditional dewatering methods. In order to investigate the factors affecting the separation efficiency and improve the separation performance of the supersonic cyclone separator, the discrete particle model was employed in numerical calculation. On the basis of an accurate numerical model, the flow field of supersonic cyclone separator was analyzed, the trajectories of droplets were predicted, and the factors affecting the separation efficiency of droplets were investigated. The numerical results indicated that Laval nozzle could provide the necessary conditions for the condensation of water vapor. The swirler can throw droplets onto the wall or into the separator, both of which are foundations for realizing the separation of droplets. Droplets had three typical trajectories affected by centrifugal effect and inertia effect. The existence of a shock wave increases the swirl intensity of droplets, which is conducive to the separation of droplets. The diameter of droplets should be increased as much as possible in order to improve separation efficiency, and the gas–liquid area ratio should be about 45.25%, and the number of vanes should be 10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Integration and Optimisation for Sustainable Systems)
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