2023-2024 / CHIM0695-2

Modelling of chemical & energy processes


20h Th, 32h Pr

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Chemical and Materials Engineering5 crédits 
 Master in Chemical and Materials Science Engineering (Ir.), professional focus in Advanced Materials - Innovative Recycling (AMIR-EM)5 crédits 
 Master of Science in Energy Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Electromechanical Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 


Grégoire Léonard

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course proposes an introduction to the general principles of modeling and applies these principles to the field of process engineering, with a specific focus on chemical and energy-related processes.

First, the objectives, usefulness and limitations of modeling and simulation are presented. The methodology for building a model is exposed, proceeding via the identification of a conceptual model and its implementation into a simulation model. The key elements of the conceptual model are discussed: balance equations, fundamental laws, constraints and specifications, degrees of freedom. It is then discussed how this general modeling procedure applies to solving process flowsheets.

In the next chapters, the selection of appropriate methods for predicting the thermodynamic properties of chemical systems is recalled. Then, the modeling of typical bloc unit operations in process engineering is presented: reactors, heat exchangers, distillation units, flash tanks... Different approaches are compared for solving process flowsheets, relying either on the simultaneous solving of all equations (equations oriented) or on the use of a physical stream sequence in the process (sequential modular approach). The principle of process tearing to facilitate iterative flowsheet solving is described and methods are proposed to identify optimal tear streams. Numerical methods typically used in chemical engineering to solve equations are also presented (Newton, Wegstein, Broyden...). Moreover, the course also introduces the analysis of the energy supply and demand in a chemical process and their representation under the form of composite curves. This also includes the concept of pinch methodology for designing heat exchangers networks.

Besides theoretical classes, the use of process models is trained in commercial software packages (Aspen Tech), leading to solve typical problems observed in the industry.


Learning outcomes of the learning unit

In this course, students will gain theoretical and practical knowledge in order to be able to develop, calibrate and efficiently use mathematical models based on mass and energy balances.

They will first learn the different steps in the construction of a general model, and apply this methodology for chemical engineering processes. They will be able to select a relevant thermodynamic model to predict the properties of a chemical system. They will learn how to build a conceptual model for single physical unit operations, identifying specifications, characteristic variables, and the resulting degrees of freedom. They will be able to include these bloc models into a flowsheet model and to propose a solving architecture based on the sequential modular approach, including the identification of tear streams. They will be able to select adapted numerical methods to solve industrial processes models.

The heat integration part of this course aims at gaining skills in the analysis of the performances of a heat exchanger network as well as in the synthesis and design of such system. Students will be able to represent the thermal energy requirement of a process under the form of composite curves. Based on the composite curves, students must be able to design efficient heat exchanger networks (selection of heat transfer fluids and decision about the amount of heat to be transferred) that maximize the energy re-use. 

From the practical works, the students will learn to use the simulation tool Aspen Plus and they will get an introduction to Aspen Hysys. They will test the limits of modeling and train their understanding of chemical engineering processes thanks to the use of simulation models.

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, II.2, III.1, III.2, IV.1, IV.3, IV.4, V.1, VI.1, VI.2, VI.3, VII.1, VII.2, VII.4, VII.5 of the MSc in chemical and material science engineering.

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, II.2, III.1, III.2, IV.1, V.1, VI.1, VI.2, VI.3, VII.1, VII.2, VII.4, VII.5 of the MSc in electromechanical engineering.

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, II.2, III.1, III.2, IV.1, V.1, VI.1, VI.2, VI.3, VII.1, VII.2, VII.4, VII.5 of the MSc in geological and mining engineering.


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Recommended pre-requisites :
Thermodynamique chimique appliquée, CHIM0009
Introduction au génie chimique et aux procédés industriels, CHIM9306
Introduction to numerical analysis MATH0006
Basics of heat exchangers, fuels use, thermodynamic cycles, refrigeration.
Recommended co-requisite :
Physical unit operations I, CHIM9299

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Theoretical classes will give students an insight in the basics of modeling with particular application to the modeling of chemical engineering processes. During the heat integration part of the lectures, the theoretical basics of energy integration are presented and illustrated through simple examples.
In parallel to the lectures, practical classes will be held with the objectives of training the use of simulation software. Students will work in groups of 2, using commercial simulation tools.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Course and practical work in English. Course held in the first semester. Lectures (1.5h/week) and practical classes (2.5h/week).

Recommended or required readings

Reference book : K. Hangos & I. Cameron, 2001. Process modelling and model analysis, Academic Press.
Lecture slides and applications available on eCampus.
Simulation software available in the IT room or to install on own computer (instructions given on eCampus)


Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Written work / report

Out-of-session test(s)

Additional information:

The final grade is established from the practical classes (Individual short questions at the beginning of sessions + written reports by groups of 2) and the written examination.

It is mandatory to take part to practical classes and produce the corresponding reports in order to take the exam.

Students achieving 10/20 or more for the practical note can keep this note for the second session. Students failing to achieve 10/20 have to resubmit the practical classes reports individually and send it to the teaching assistant the latest by the date of the august examination.









Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

First class (face-to-face) for year 2022-2023: Tuesday September 20, 13h30 in Room R52 B4 (Europe Amphitheaters).

See Celcat calendar for latest updates about rooms and timetables.




Grégoire Léonard, G.Leonard@uliege.be
Antoine Merlo, antoine.merlo@uliege.be 

Association of one or more MOOCs