Process Control and Process Systems Engineering

Academic Staff

Ken-ichiro SOTOWA

Professor (Graduate School of Engineering)

Research Topics

・ Development of compact continuous separation system
・ Development of chemical module system for automatic synthesis
・ Supply chain design for a recycling-oriented society that uses biomass and waste


Katsura Campus


Assistant Professor (Graduate School of Engineering)

Research Topics

Design and operation of module-based chemical production systems such as microreactors
・ Equipment design based on modeling, simulation, and optimization
・ Control and monitoring of two-phase slug flow generation
・ Online monitoring using state estimation theory
・ Numbering up with anomaly detection function
・ Automatic reaction control and speed analysis utilizing data science technology
・ Systematic process intensification


Katsura Campus


Introduction to Research

Systems Approach:From Micro-Chemical Plants to Global Environmental Problems

Under the current social situation which has a lot of complicated and difficult problems, such as an environmental problem, development of an advanced production system producing a competitive product with saving resources and energy is desired.  Process Systems Engineering (PSE) is a research area where the systematic methodology for realizing such an innovative production system is investigated.  PSE covers all aspects of design, operation, control, planning, and logistics for the process industries.  Current research topics are as follows:

Development of a new fundamental approach to design, operation, and control of micro chemical processes

In microspaces, viscous force, surface tension, conduction heat transfer, and molecular diffusion become dominant.  These features achievable in microspaces make it possible to handle highly exothermic/endothermic and rapid reactions and to produce fine particles with narrow size distribution.  The final goal of this research is development of a new fundamental approach to design, operation, and control of micro chemical processes.  Now, we are conducting researches into modeling and simulation for microreactor design.  In addition, we are currently developing a physical model-based process monitoring system which is applicable for diagnosing faults such as channel blockage and catalyst deterioration in microreactors.

Synthesis of environmentally benign processes and Development of decentralized supply chain management system

Most of the waste products in process industries still have unused properties.  By using such properties at other processes, the total capacity of the wastes can drastically be reduced.  From that viewpoint, we are developing a process synthesis method by which appropriate process structures of a waste are systematically generated.
We have developed an autonomous decentralized scheduling system, in which each scheduling sub-system of a production stage generates a plausible schedule taking into account the schedules of other production stages.  Now the extension of the proposed framework to the planning and scheduling of overall supply chain is being studied.