Chemical Engineering Division is one of the major divisions of IICT involved in process know how and technology transfer of industrially important products, besides carrying out the basic research in frontier areas of Chemical Engineering. Major areas of research activities of the Division are: Process Development and Design; Process Intensification; Process Modeling and Simulation; Computational Fluid Dynamics; Process Monitoring, Optimization, Fault diagnosis and Control; Membrane Technology; Process Safety; and Properties Measurement and Evaluation. The Division is also equipped with a wide range of pilot plant equipment and lab scale facilities including analytical facilities for carrying out research and development in the core chemical engineering areas such as reaction engineering, mass transfer operations, thermodynamics, process engineering etc.
The Division is presently focusing on research that caters to the present demands of providing clean, green, lean and profitable technologies to chemical industry in the country. It is associated with activities ranging from experimental evaluation of process routes to design & commissioning of commercial plants for bulk and specialty chemicals, involving scale up studies, design data generation, design and commissioning of plants and providing the guarantee runs to clients. Commercial software packages like ASPEN PLUS, B-JAC, ANSYS FLUENT, COMSOL, SAFETI-Micro, CAD as well as the software developed in-house are extensively used for synthesis of process flow sheets, equipment specifications, plant layout drawings, P&I diagrams and pipeline routing diagrams. The Process Safety Centre (PROSAC) caters to execution of projects in the areas of Hazard Analysis & Risk Assessment, Safety Audit, HAZOP and Disaster Management Studies, and offers its expertise and services to various chemical, petrochemical and agrochemical industries.
The Membrane Separations Group has contributed immensely to both industrial development and rural welfare. The group has commissioned an electrodialysis, nanofiltration and gas separation plants to facilitate solvent recovery, waste water reclamation and purification of industrial process streams. The group has also installed several reverse osmosis based defluoridation plants of 1000 L/h capacity each in villages besides highly compact low cost plants of 100 to 200 L/h in schools hostels and small hamlets in fluorosis affected districts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for a total consumptive population of one lakh. The group has contributed to academic growth through installation of experimental facilities in various colleges and universities.
The recent success stories of the division include technology transfer for commercial production of 12 TPD of para-tertiary-butyl-toluene, 10 TPD of para-tertiary-butyl-benzoic-acid, and 5 TPD para-tertiary-methyl-benzoate. Currently the division is actively involved in developing technologies for ortho-xylene nitration, 4- methoxyacetophenone, para-methoxy phenyl acetic acid, benzalehyde, hydrazine hydrate, avobenzene, anisole etc. to name a few. Some of the on-going / completed government sponsored projects focus on dynamic modeling and optimal control of a semi-batch reactive crystallization process, design of an efficient sorption enhanced chemical looping reforming process for improved CO2 recovery, value addition of karanja cake by gasification to syngas etc. Our XII plan projects are oriented towards the areas of process development with reactions without transport limitations, micro-reactor technology, conversion of batch processes to continuous processes, process intensification, crystallization processes, process modeling, optimization, advanced process control, fault detection and diagnosis, computational and experimental fluid dynamics, integrated modeling and compartmental multi-scale models, biomass based processes, membrane based processes and process safety. A mission mode project on Swachch Bharat has been initiated to provide for clean and safe drinking water specifically to the regions surrounding the institute and subsequently to the other parts of the country. All these are aimed at addressing the needs of the Industry and Society.
The ongoing basic research activities in the division include development of kinetic models, phenomenological models and data-driven models, product modeling and design, development of new sensor configuration methods, novel advanced process control and optimization strategies, and new fault detection and diagnosis methods and their application to several batch, semi-batch and continuous processes, development of new membranes for different gas separations, dehydration of solvents by membrane distillation and pervaporation, properties evaluations, reaction engineering, hydrodynamics and heat transfer studies, and process intensification through micro-processing and reactive separations.
The division is also actively involved in extensive HRD including training of under graduate, graduate, post graduate and doctoral students. The students are exposed to both the basic and applied research activities for both in-house and sponsored projects. From its inception to the present it has made significant contributions both to basic and applied research, besides fulfilling the Institutes' commitments to industries for process technologies and has made an indelible mark on its clients. The division has published several papers both in reputed national and international journals, chapters in books, a number of patents, several technology awards, young scientist awards and many other recognitions to its credit.