Specialised Open Source Software
Different from open source software, but with a similar aim of promoting transparency, is the veteran Cape-Open project that sets standards for the interchange of data in chemical process modelling. A simulation package that complies with Cape-Open standards, for instance, can draw on different physical property databases and add in third-party unit operations such as novel reactor types, as long as these too meet Cape-Open standards.
Process plants rarely operate entirely under steady-state conditions: For complex processes, dynamic effects may dominate operability and safety, especially during the startup and shutdown phases. Many vendors therefore offer dynamic modelling capabilities through either their standard flowsheet tools or dedicated products. An example of the latter from Aspen Tech is Advanced Process Control, part of the company’s Aspen One suite, which aids the design of complex control strategies to keep processes running under optimum conditions. Operator training is another important sector for dynamic simulation.
Advanced Modelling for the Simulation–Pro
This multi-physics and multi-scale modelling has found direct application in process plant modelling, too. One of the leading proponents of this “advanced process modelling” approach is Process Systems Enterprise (PSE, UK), with its G-Proms product. Through a system-wide optimisation based on first-principles models at multiple scales, PSE claims that G-Proms can create benefits well beyond the scope of traditional flowsheet simulators. n