CBE M.S. Student Apoorv Lal Wins Zdenek Burianec Memorial Award

CBE M.S. student Apoorv Lal and Prof. Fengqi You (Roxanne E. and Michael J. Zak Professor in Energy Systems Engineering) received the Zdenek Burianec Memorial Award for Best Poster Presentation at the 25th International Conference on Process Integration, Modeling and Optimization for Energy Saving and Pollution Reduction (PRES'22), held September 5-8 in Bol, Croatia. The title of their poster presentation is “Comparative Life Cycle Analysis and Optimization of Operating Conditions of Hydrogen Production Methods."

Lal’s paper addresses the sustainable design of hydrogen production systems that integrate brown and blue pathways with green hydrogen infrastructure. The study develops a systematic framework to simultaneously optimize the process superstructure and operating conditions of steam methane reforming (SMR)-based hydrogen production systems. A comprehensive superstructure that integrates SMR with multiple carbon dioxide capture technologies, electrolyzers, fuel cells, and working fluids in the organic Rankine cycle is proposed under varying operating conditions. A life cycle optimization model is then developed by integrating superstructure optimization, life cycle assessment approach, techno-economic assessment, and process optimization using extensive process simulation models and formulated as a mixed-integer nonlinear program. Results show that the optimal levelized cost ranges from $1.49 to $3.18 per kg of hydrogen. The most environmentally friendly process attains net-zero life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to 10.55 kg CO2-eq per kg hydrogen for the most economically competitive process design.

"This work presents an example of how chemical process systems engineering tools and methods could play an important role in the transition to climate-neutral hydrogen energy systems," said Lal, who is currently working toward an M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Cornell. His thesis research focuses on sustainable energy systems design.

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