Annex IX: Energy Efficient Separation Systems: Methodological Aspects, Demonstrations, and Economics

This Annex finished 31 December 2013 and the final report is available for download at the bottom of this page.


Separation systems can represent 40-70 % of both capital and operating costs in industry. They also account for 45 % of all the process energy used by the chemical and petroleum refining industries every year.

More efficient separation technologies and systems are critical factors for the long-term sustainability of industries; they reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and increase throughput. In 2006, this lead to the initiation of Annex IX.

Description of Annex

The Annex wishes to promote a mode of investigation where the focus is not limited to deep understanding of individual physical phenomena, but covers the broad understanding of how complex, multi-phenomena, multi-scale separation systems are constituted, behave and how their components interact and interrelate. The Annex goal is to take stock of the state-of-the-art of separation systems analysis tools and concepts, and to

...extend/combine previously developed methods and tools to address advanced separation systems design or retrofits,

...automate or guide the design/retrofit process to the extent practicable, and

...quantify and improve the costs and benefits of these approaches.

The Annex is concerned with processes that use one or more forms of energy, such as thermal, chemical or electrical, to isolate and/or recombine selected constituents from an initial ensemble of materials or mixtures to produce a useful and improved end-product with an acceptable environmental footprint. More precisely it is concerned with the "systems" aspects of these separation activities.

Besides dissemination and discussion of Annex work and results, four tasks were outlined in Annex IX.

  1. Market overview and barriers for application
  2. Design and operation Methodologies for separation systems
  3. Selected application technologies and areas
  4. Economics, energy efficiency and sustainability metrics

One of the Annex tasks, namely Subtask C, is to make a preliminary selection of interesting technologies for focus. The level of interaction that the Annex establishes with the industrial sector will depend on well-chosen fields of technology, bearing in mind that well established industrial applications optimized in the field through years of testing and development may already be operating very close to the achievable thermodynamic ”optimum”. A first set of technologies identifies those where industrial partners’ design procedures already focus on energy efficiency and where the prospects of further energy savings to reduce corporate operating costs and enhance environmental profile are attractive.

Survey of Energy Efficient Separation Technologies in Industry

Prof. Henrique Matos, Prof. Il Moon and Gürkan Sin have conducted a web-based survey concerning the use of separation technologies among industrial companies. The information that the survey collected is used as part of the Annex technical report to recommend good practice in separation systems, as well as to identify future research needs and technology development in this area.

The survey can be accessed here.


Technical Report: Energy Efficient Separation Systems

Contact Details

Annex Manager:
Assoc. Prof. Gürkan Sin, CAPEC, Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Annex IX Secretariat:
Mrs. Eva Mikkelsen, CAPEC, DTU.