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The future of sustainable chemistry and process: convergence of artificial intelligence, data and hardware

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journal contribution
posted on 20.01.2021, 15:24 authored by Xin TaiXin Tai, Hao Zhang, Zhiqiang NiuZhiqiang Niu, Steven ChristieSteven Christie, Jin Xuan
Sustainable chemistry for renewable energy generation and green synthesis is a timely research topic with the vision to provide present needs without compromising future generations. In the era of Industry 4.0, sustainable chemistry and process are undergoing a drastic transformation from continuous flow system toward the next level of operations, such as cooperating and coordinating machine, self-decision-making system, autonomous and automatic problem solver by integrating artificial intelligence, data and hardware in the cyber-physical systems. Due to the lack of convergence between the physical and cyber spaces, the open-loop systems are facing challenges such as data isolation, slow cycle time, and insufficient resources management. Emerging researches have been devoted to accelerating these cycles, reducing the time between multistep processes and real-time characterization via additive manufacturing, in-/on-line monitoring, and artificial intelligence. The final goal is to concurrently propose process recipes, flow synthesis, and molecules characterization in sustainable chemical processes, with each step transmitting and receiving data simultaneously. This process is known as ‘closing the loop’, which will potentially create a future lab with highly integrated systems, and generate a service-orientated platform for end-to-end synchronization and self-evolving, inverse molecular design, and automatic science discovery. This perspective provides a methodical approach for understanding cyber and physical systems individually, enabled by artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing, respectively, in combination with in-/on-line monitoring. Moreover, the future perspective and key challenges for the development of the closed-loop system in sustainable chemistry and process are discussed.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Science


  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering

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Energy and AI




Elsevier BV


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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Prof Jin Xuan. Deposit date: 18 January 2021

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