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What is Process Intensification?

Process Intensification (PI) is the strategy of making dramatic reductions in the size of unit operations within chemical plants, in order to achieve given production objectives.


The concept was pioneered in ICI during the late 1970s, where the primary goal was to reduce the capital cost of production systems. The virtue of the PI approach was recognised when it was appreciated that the Main Plant Items involved in the process (i.e. reactors, heat exchangers, separators etc.) only contribute around 20% of the cost of a given plant. The balance is incurred by installation costs which involve pipework, structural support, civil engineering and so on.


A major reduction of equipment size, coupled preferably with a degree of integration of equipment function (e.g. reactor/heat exchangers or combined condenser/distillation/re-boilers) could generate very significant cost savings by eliminating support structure, expensive column foundations and long pipe runs.


The process Intensification Group at Newcastle has achieved this by developing novel approaches to equipment design and process synthesis with the aim of miniaturising process plants and making them environmentally friendly and flexible in terms of manufacturing capabilities and providing rapid response to market demand. The Group's current research activities include:


...finding application in the fine chemicals, polymers, food, bio-medical, medical, offshore, pharmaceuticals, electronics, transport and energy industries.


2020 Group Photo



2019 Group Photo - Rotating Packed PIGs


2017 Group Photo - Celebrating Like Bolt




 Last modified: 11-Jul-2022