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New Appoaches in the Process Industries: The Manufacturing Plant of the Future by Jean-Pierre Dal Pont, Catherine Azzaro-Pantel

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2

Metrics for Sustainability Assessment of Chemical Processes

To cope with rapidly changing market demands and fierce global competition, the future of chemical manufacturing is modular, flexilble and sustainable. Yet, how can sustainability be measured? The main objective of this chapter is to present the methods and tools to assess the performance of processes considering criteria of sustainable development that could be applied in the preliminary stages of their design. It explores the frontiers of the system to consider when tackling the sustainable design of processes, the stages at which the different criteria need to be taken into account and how they can be quantified. Finally, some design methods for sustainable processes and systems are proposed.

2.1. Sustainable development in chemical process engineering

Numerous definitions of sustainable development that focus on integrating economic activity with environmental protection and social concerns can be found in the literature. In principle, they remain similar to the definition that emerged in 1987 when the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) published its report “Our Common Future” also known as the “Brundland Report”. Sustainable development is formulated as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

The concept of sustainable development is based on the creation of products and goods using processes and non-polluting ...

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