LLE: Process Systems Engineering Approaches Towards Sustainable Solutions: Path to Circular Economy (Marianthi Ierapetritou, University of Delaware)

March 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Marianthi Ierapetritou, University of Delaware

Host: Prof. Krishna Mahadevan

The growing concerns over global warming and environmental issues motivate the research on replacing oil-based feedstocks with biomass raw material for chemical and fuel production. This however comes with a number of challenges as the new technologies have to compete with the fossil based mature processes to ensure economic viability and market competitiveness. Moreover, life cycle analysis is not always in favor of the “green” solutions depending on the pathway explored.

Optimization of the biomass feed splitting among alternative pathways considering their economic and environmental impacts can be thus explored to discover the best available routes and determine the optimal mix of the value-added products. Hence, the integrated biorefinery is proposed to combine different conversion technologies and fully utilize all biomass components using the superstructure optimization framework. In addition to selecting the most economical and sustainable feedstock-technology-product combinations, the integrated biorefinery strategy can also include process flexibility to adjust its production in the volatile chemical market.

Acknowledging the increasing market competition, environmental concerns, and uncertainty in price and transportation times, there is a growing interest in achieving modularization, design standardization, and process intensification for biomass processing. The integration of modular designs within the existing supply chain could be challenging. Supply chain networks have become more prominent, complex, and difficult to manage, especially considering the multitude of risks and uncertainty that may manifest. In this talk, I will also touch upon the work in our group towards developing a supply chain model that aids decision-making addressing the complexities of a modular infrastructure and provide some ideas to deal with disruptions by considering both proactive and reactive strategies.

Marianthi Ierapetritou is the Bob and Jane Gore Centennial Chair Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Delaware. Prior to that she has been a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University. During the last year at Rutgers University she led the efforts of the university advancing the careers in STEM for women at Rutgers as an Associate Vice President of the University.

Dr. Ierapetritou’s research focuses on the following areas: 1) process operations; (2) design and synthesis of flexible production systems with emphasis on pharmaceutical manufacturing; 3) energy and sustainability process modeling and operations; and 4) modeling of biopharmaceutical production. Her research is supported by several federal (FDA, NIH, NSF, ONR, NASA, DOE) and industrial (BMS, J&J, GSK, PSE, Bosch, Eli Lilly) grants.

Among her accomplishments are the appointment as the Gore Centennial Professor in 2019, the promotion to distinguished professor at Rutgers University in 2017, the 2016 Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division Award in Computing in Chemical Engineering which is the highest distinction in the Systems area of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Award of Division of Particulate Preparations and Design (PPD) of The Society of Powder Technology, Japan; the Outstanding Faculty Award at Rutgers; the Rutgers Board of Trustees Research Award for Scholarly Excellence; and the prestigious NSF CAREER award. She has served as a Consultant to the FDA under the Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology, elected as a fellow of AICHE and as a Director in the board of AIChE. She has more than 290 publications and has been an invited speaker to numerous national and international conferences.

Dr. Ierapetritou obtained her BS from The National Technical University in Athens, Greece, her PhD from Imperial College (London, UK) in 1995 and subsequently completed her post-doctoral research at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).


View the complete 2022-23 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Professor Jay Werber (jay.werber@utoronto.ca) or Sophia Lu (soph.lu@mail.utoronto.ca).