Process Systems Engineering

  Holistic view - from simulation to finished production facilities. © AVT  

In 1992, a joint initiative of RWTH Aachen University and Bayer AG Leverkusen found the Chair of Process Technology (AVT.PT) which was directed by Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt. Prof. Alexander Mitsos moved to RWTH in 2012 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to become the head of the newly established Chair of Process Systems Engineering (AVT.SVT). From 2012 to 2014, both chairs of Process Technology and Process Systems Engineering shared teaching duties and administrative staff, and maintained several joint research projects. Prof. Marquardt was granted leave of absence from RWTH on 01.07.2014 to take over the chairmanship of the board of directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich. Since then, Prof. Mitsos has taken over the activities of the two chairs under one chair of Process Systems Engineering.


Model-based computer-aided chemical engineering (modeling, simulation and optimization), as well as developing optimization algorithms

Main Research Activities

  • Model-based experimental analysis and process analytics: developing  methods for modeling and optimal design of  experiments for identification of kinetic phenomena in multi-phase reactive fluid systems.
  • Process design: conceptual process design with the aim of modeling, synthesizing and optimizing integrated reaction and separation processes.
  • Process operations and optimization algorithms: development and application of algorithms for model-predictive control and real-time optimization of batch and continuous processes. Deterministic global optimization, with particular focus on embedded problems (bi-level, semi-infinite).

At AVT.SVT expertise in Process Systems Engineering sub-disciplines is combined with focus on particular technologies

  • Polymerization: kinetic phenomena regarding reaction kinetics and heat and mass transport.
  • Biomass conversion: conceptual process design with the aim of synthesizing bio fuels from lignocellulose. Preceding pulping, in particular, chemical biomass disintegration using Ionic Liquids, is also part of the research.
  • Energy and water: optimizing energy and water processes, such as electrodialysis and hydrogen production processes.

Common theme is the development and use of model-based optimization-assisted methodologies. In some cases development of theory and algorithms for optimization is needed, in particular in global and dynamic optimization.

AVT.SVT is predominantly theoretical/computational. However, a substantial number of researchers work experimentally, and very often work is performed jointly with experimental groups within AVT, RWTH and internationally.

Publications Process Systems Engineering