Process Optimization for Energy Efficiency and Technology


Process Optimization for Energy Efficient and Technology (PrOfEET) has a mission to enforce the research in the Process Systems Engineering field and also to intensify the industrial technology transfer by developing models and tools to support industrial decisions in new projects.

Main Research Areas

  • Dynamic Modelling and Simulation
  • Process Integration;
  • Sustainability Analysis of Chemical Processes
  • Development of New Products.


  • Dynamic Modelling and Simulation;

Different languages, namely, gPROMS and GAMS are used to simulate through the adequate models developed several scenarios of operation of process units to assess how the total operating costs can be minimized. Numerous cases of optimization in Process System Engineering may be cast as Stochastic Programming models, which present higher complexity and large dimension, whenever realistic conditions are assumed. At international cooperation level, the aim is to develop joint R&D projects in the Bioenergy and Biorefinery areas.



  • Process Integration

Process Integration is a strategy with direct effects on primary energy consumption and on the use of raw materials. However, it is known, that a more integrated process enhances the instrumentation and control requirements and therefore turns the operation more difficult, and consequently more hazardous. The tools of Process Simulations such as Aspen Plus or the recently created FI2EPI (based on pinch analysis) will be improved and used in several case studies to determine the best operational and investment conditions, carrying out a sensitivity analysis to different initial parameters. New process tools based on mathematical programming to promote the usage of the industrial excess waste heat and the liquid effluents are also developed.


Using MILP and Mass Pinch models an optimal configuration network could be achieved for water reuse and treatment of the industrial.

In the last decades the growth of the transportation fuel demands and the continuous rise of crude oil prices have changed the background of petroleum crude oil processing into transportation fuel products. A new tool is been developed, Hydrogen Targeting Tool (H2TT), to addresses the problem of hydrogen management in a refinery site. The recovery of hydrogen in the refinery site through the placement of purifier units is also considered in the presented tool.


  • Sustainability Analysis of Chemical Processes

Sustainability Analysis can be carried out to provide the identification of the batch and continuous process bottlenecks based on indicators previously defined. The SustainPro software will be improved by incorporating Safety, Environmental and Social issues obtained from de adaptation of the current individual available methodologies techniques (such as WAR, GEMIS, Umberto, …) in a complete package to achieve the best Sustainable Process Design. Various participating institutions, have been collaborating successfully in the coordination and development of the international task-share framework called Annex  XI – Industry based Biorefineries inserted on Industrial Energy-related Technologies and Systems (IETS) agreement under the International Energy Agency (IEA).


Sustainability analysis and Life Cycle Analysis are also been developed to evaluate the feasibility of different biomass process in the Bioenergy and Biorefinery areas, in Europe and Africa.

  • Development of New Products.

Some modelling through GAMS language and other mathematical tools are  used to obtain the simulation of the behaviour of new products on the field of the Biodegradable superabsorbent polymers. Their application in agriculture leads to a concern about the environment. Another field in this area is the recognised potential of supercritical fluid as new media for the cocrystallization of pharmaceuticals. Taking the advantage of different supercritical fluid properties (solvent, anti-solvent or atomization enhancement), cocrystal production is enhanced compared to the classical methods.  Supercritical Anti-Solvent (SAS) and Supercritical Enhanced Atomization (SEA) experimental processes have been used to generate different forms of pharmaceutical products.




Research Projects


FCT and Institutional Projects

 OptEnergyOptimal Scheduling of Industrial Production Units with Energy Constraints
Reference: PTDC/EQU-ESI/118253/2010
Start: 2012 (3 year)
Funding: 74040 €
Team: Pedro Castro, Henrique A. Matos   Fellowship: João Teles
Objetives: Contribute to a more rational use of energy in industry. Based on an industrial case study, it will be developed a super structure and mathematical models that enable advance or delay tasks with energy consumption, to include the main alternative energy integration. In order to quantify the benefits in terms of sustainability, it will be  performed an analysis of the life cycle for all resources involved using the Eco-Indicator 99 Finally, the mathematical models will provided at to be tested by the scientific community
Partners:   LNEG
 CFISDPT: Controlled Freezing to Improve the Stability and Delivery of Therapeutic Proteins
Reference: PTDC/EQU-EQU/104318/2008
Start: 2010 (3 year)
Funding: 134 000 €
Team: Henrique A. Matos, Edmundo Gomes de Azevedo(CQE/DEQB/IST), Miguel Rodrigues (CQE/DEQB/IST   Fellowship: two
Objetives: Understand the impact of freezing conditions on ice structure and its impact on the stability and freeze concentration of solutes in order to develop freezing processes more efficient for stability and administration of proteins.
Partners: Faculdade de Farmácia Lisboa: António José Leitão Neves Almeida Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer): Satish Kumar Singh; Universidade do Algarve: Eduardo José Xavier Rodrigues de Pinho e Melo
 CEPC: Crystal Engineering of Pharmaceutical Cocrystals
Reference: PTDC/EQU-FTT/099912/2008
Start: 2010 (3 year)
Funding 110 000€
Team: Henrique A. Matos, Edmundo Gomes de Azevedo (CQE/DEQB/IST), Miguel Rodrigues (CQE/DEQB/IST), Anabela Fernandes (CQE/DEQB/IST).   Fellowship: Luis Padrela
 Objetives: Develop a new method of crystal engineering based on supercritical technology. This method is used in the development, preparation and characterization of co-crystals of compounds of pharmaceutical interest.
Partners: Sitaram Velaga (Univ. Lulea, Suécia)
 OptEnergyOptimal Scheduling of Industrial Production Units with Energy Constraints
Reference: PTDC/AMB/64659/2006
Start: 2007 (3,3 year)
Funding: 61626 €
Team: Pedro Castro, Henrique A. Matos  Fellowship: João Teles
Objetives: To find the most efficient way to solve a highly complex optimization problem that is present, at least in part, in most process industries, the minimization of freshwater consumption/wastewater generation in water using networks (WUN) and effluent treatment systems (WTN)..To reduce the amount of chemicals and of waste generated by finding better designs for effluent treatment systems. To adopt a more rational use of water, a vital resource to mankind, to ensure the sustainability of unpolluted freshwater.As a research side-product, to develop a software tool that will predictably represent a valuable resource conservation and pollution prevention tool.
Partners:  LNEG
 FIEPI: Process integration software tool
Reference: DGEG/ADENE/2007
Start: February 2010 ( 1 year)
Funding: 17800  €
Team: Henrique A. Matos, Cristina Fernandes   Fellowship : Nylson Coelho
Objetives: This project aims developing a software tool that enables Energy Managers to make an energy integration analysis of industrial processes.
Partners: ADENE (Engºs João P. Calau e Fernando Oliveira)

Industrial Projects

 Implementation of the Optimization Model of the Petroleum Products Distribution System
Start: 2008 (2 years)
Funding 50 0000 €
Team: Efectives: Henrique A. Matos, Ana Paula Barbosa-Póvoa, Susana Relvas  Fellowship : Pedro Pinto
Objetives: Improve and implement the previously developed Optimization Model of Distribution of Oil Products b. The tool must incorporate components related to the initial heuristic sequences products, their quantitative characterization in terms of optimal product flow pumping capacity and the entire optimal rescheduling due to the occurrence of unexpected events. Additionally, the optimal setting for use of existing tanks will also be considered to complete satisfaction of the customer needs.
Partners: CLC- Companhia Logística de Combustíveis, S.A. (Engº. Gaspar Santos)
 Process Integration study to increase energy efficiency at FISIPE
Start: 2012 (1 year)
Team: Efectives: Henrique A. Matos, Cristina Fernandes  Fellowship: Manuel Grasina
Funding 22 500 €
Objetives: Total energy analysis of the process to define different projects to achieve an energy cost reduction and an increase of the raw materials use.
Partners: Fisipe. (Engº. Paulo Mota e Engº Pedro Rodrigues)
 PRIO-Energy Analysis at the biodiesel production unit
Start: 2011- …
Funding 6 000 €/year
Team: Henrique A. Matos, João Miguel Silva (ISEL)   Fellowship: José Valério (ISEL/IST)
Objetives: Carry out a detailed study on the energy performance of the unit to produce biodiesel, suggesting  measures to improve energy efficiency and process integration.
Partners: PRIO – (Dr Cristina Correia and Dr. Nuno Correia)


 SISAV – Process Integration analysis at SISAV
Start: 2012 (10 months)
Funding 10 000 €/year
Team: Henrique A. Matos, M.Cristina Fernandes  Fellowship : Pedro Pereira
Objetives: Develop a set of conceptual alternatives to increase the energy efficiency at the process. Construct a dynamic model to estimate the needs of heat in the effluent treatment.
Partners: SISAV (Engª Cátia Martins)
 Design and optimization of the operating condition of an integrated system
Start: 2001 (10 years)
Funding 18 000 €/year
Team: Efectives: M. Lurdes Serrano, M. Fátima Farelo, Henrique A. Matos, M.Cristina Fernandes  Fellowship : Raquel Durana Moita
Objetives: Analyse the collected data at the integrated system including a cogeneration, recrystallization ponds, set of heat exchangers and pre-treatment unit). The aim is to enhance the global heat efficiency of the process, maximising the production satisfying the quality requirments.
Partners: RENOESTE – Valorização de Recursos Naturais, S. A.
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