A concerted effort involving BIOCORE partners from NTUA and CIMV has provided a comprehensive flowsheet description of the CIMV process. This model constitutes the base case for further flowsheet designs and modeling. Using the base case model, NTUA researchers have already studied key operations and scoped for process integration leading to improved energy and water use. The process integration studies produced energy and water targets and provided recommendations for process changes that will allow these targets to be reached.
Preliminary results have provided particularly encouraging results, with the Pinch analysis indicating savings of up to 70% and 85% associated with the heating and the cooling of the process streams. As illustrated in Fig 1, the results of our studies indicate that energy-free evaporation will be possible, but the distillation unit remains a target for further improvement. Possible routes for this are the deployment of double-effect columns or side units (e.g. side-rectifiers, side-condensers, Petluk columns). Regarding water integration (Fig. 3), our analysis indicates that a 55% reduction in water use can be achieved if water re-use, recycling and regeneration technologies are integrated into the process design.