For many chemical processes, improvements in the reaction and modification in the overall process design mostly offer the biggest potential for reducing energy consumption. The reaction and the entire process are closely related, since measures in the reaction usually have a large influence on other parts of the process. The separation and purification of the product often dominates the total energy costs of the entire process. A yield increase in the reaction often reduces the process energy consumption significantly. Therefore, the reaction and the entire process are discussed together in the following.
Substantial energy efficiency improvements are still possible even in well-established processes, which have undergone extensive optimization. In addition, many chemical processes still have energy requirements that are much higher compared with the theoretical minimum, offering potential for improvement. Processes can be improved in many ways. In the following improvement examples for the reaction part as well as for the entire process are discussed to illustrate the wide field of opportunities.
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