Research & Development
Pushing the frontiers of process modelling
PSE is committed to keeping the gPROMS family of products at the forefront of modelling technology. To this end we spend a large proportion of our revenue on Research & Development activities.
Our approach to innovation resulted in PSE winning the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for Engineering Innovation, the UK's highest award for engineering. We join an illustrious list of winners that includes BP, IBM, Johnson Matthey, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, British Gas, Arup, Inmarsat and Jaguar Land Rover.
Our R&D activities take several forms:
- development of new application techniques, such as the integration of Advanced Process Modelling (APM) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for reactor, crystallizer and other process design.
- collaborative R&D activies generally aimed at bringing the benefits of Advanced Process Modelling to diverse sectors within the process industry spectrum. These typically involve working with industrial partners and academic organisations.
- fundamental research and development in new modelling and solution methods
Development of new application techniques
PSE is at the forefront of numerous developments in the modelling technology and its application. Some examples are:
- The "hybrid modelling" integration of APM and CFD mentioned above, to provide advanced new and highly-effective techniques for multiscale modelling. This allows complex units such as reactors and crystallizers to be designed using information of unprecedented accuracy.
- Model-based experiment design technology, enabling the close collaboration between R&D and process design and engineering that underpins Model-Based Innovation
- Whole-plant economic optimisation, using PSE's powerful optimisation technology applied to high-fidelity whole-plant models in order to maximise annualised profit from new or existing plants.
- Model-Based Innovation itself, a new technology and methodology for accelerating process and product innovation and minimising development risk.
- Multiple population balance modelling for polymerisation applications, allowing high-accuracy design of polymer processes.
Collaborative R&D activitiesThese generally involve working with a range of industry and academic partners and other software vendors to develop or extend the application of APM. Examples are:
- Virtual Plant Demonstration Model (VPDM), a 3-year R&D project focused on developing an integrated modelling platform for the power industry. It involved partners Alstom, Mitsui-Babcock Engineering, RWE, Fluent, Engineous and the University of Ulster and was partially funded by the UK Department of Trade and Industry.
- Reservoir Sensor Project, a 3-year project focused on developing model-based inferential sensing techniques for oil reservoirs. It involves partners Schlumberger and Imperial College.
- HY2SEPS and HY2SEPS, researching innovative hydrogen purification technology
- Maritime CCS, working with DNV investigating the potential for capturing carbon from ships at sea and transporting it to shore for disposal
- Pharmagen, establishing an innovative multidisciplinary approach to pharma generic production.
In addition to these, PSE contributes to numerous EU Framework projects.
Fundamental research into modelling and solution methods
PSE is a leader in the field of equation-based modelling. Recent and current examples of fundamental research at PSE include:
- Pioneering development of advanced modelling and solution techniques, including Equation Set Object technology to enable use of gPROMS equation representations in external solution systems; parameter propagation techniques for use in initialisation of equation-based systems; and Development of Object Server technology for completely generic definition of equation-oriented problems.
- New techniques for rapid and robust initialisation of equation-oriented problems involving large flowsheets and complex units. PSE won a London Development Agency (LDA) award for this project, which brings a step-change to the ease-of-use of powerful equation-oriented modelling tools.
- Advanced new techniques for adaptive grid solution of distributed systems within an equation-oriented framework.
In the past PSE has been responsible for a number of industry firsts, such as dynamic optimisation, mixed integer optimisation, and distributed system modelling within generalised equation oriented framework.