Process Engineering

Ongoing change in availability and price of raw materials and commodities, the change of energy policies, changes of markets and a stronger demand for efficiency and sustainability ask for continuous improvement of current and for development of new processes in the chemical industry. Modelling, simulation and optimization (MSO) are nowadays major keys for innovation in this complex domain. Decisive for success is the right choice of the level of detail of the used models with respect to the application under consideration and the following criteria:

  • A good model will cover simultaneously material properties as well as plant layouts, either chosen in a coarser or in a finer representation depending from the posed problem and from the questions to answer.
  • For the simulation part powerful algorithms will be needed that allow fast and robust evaluations.
  • A practically relevant optimization will embed single solutions into a decision horizon that interactively can be explored and assessed by a decision maker.

In any case methods from process engineering, chemistry, physics and mathematics as well as computer science have to be combined in order to satisfy the customers and partners needs. This range of expertise is fully available in a cooperation of Fraunhofer ITWM and the University of Technology, Kaiserslautern, established in the working group “MSO process engineering” founded in spring 2012.

Methods comprise:

  • Process optimization and decision support
  • Process simulation
  • Process modelling and substance models
  • Molecular modelling and simulation

Besides excellent skills in the aforementioned scientific methods the working group is endowed with a powerful infrastructure in process engineering labs and IT-technology.

Example Projects


AI meets 100 years of engineering

The KEEN innovation platform aims to accelerate the use of AI technologies and AI methods in the process industry.


Saving Energy in the Production of Chemicals

In chemical process engineering, data are collected in experiments to calibrate physically motivated models.


Grey Box Models for Complete Process Optimization

In cooperation with the BASF SE we virtualize and optimize chemical production plants.


Process Optimization in the Chemical Industry

In this project, a new approach to the design of chemical production plants is being developed.


Decision Support for Product Optimization

In the FORCE project we are developing a Business Decision Support System (BDSS) together with our project partners.


Eliminate Trace Substances Through Sustainable Adsorbents

In the BioSorb project we are developing new adsorbents for the elimination of trace substances in municipal wastewater.


Water Supply Management H₂OPT

The goal of raising the energy efficiency could be archieved by the proper use of pumps based on the information about drinking water consumption.



Our department has begun to couple our competence in mathematical optimization with nanotechnology to make this potential that results from large ratios between surface area and volume, available for industrial purposes.


Optimizing Drying Processes

An optimal control of a paint drying process results in an improved painting quality and also allows to save energy.


Mechanical Process Engineering

We develop decision support tools, which enable the detailed analysis of separate solutions and consider them in the context of the total number of solutions.


»Electricity as a Raw Material«

The aim of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project is to demonstrate the chance for electricity-intensive industries to choose the lower-cost electricity as their primary energy source.


Thermally driven High Performance Cooling

The goal of the Fraunhofer project THOKA was the development of adsorption cooling devices based on cheap energy resources like the sun of the excess heat of processes.