The research vision involves the development and application of advanced systems engineering approaches for chemical process intensification and integration including dynamic simulation, model-based experimental analysis, modelling and optimization of complex chemical and biological production systems, and energy conversion systems with large structural diversity and a high number of elements. Attention is paid to the holistic view of the involved processes phenomena, micro and macro processes, process design, and the final experimental verification using miniplant technologies including their improved control via smart sensing networks and digitalization. For this purpose, the department has facilities such as miniplants, laboratory and pilot plant systems available, which allow extensive experimental investigations to operate units as well as fluid-geometry-structure coupling for a variety of applications in micro process engineering, reaction systems, apparatus and safety technology, as well as for energy conversion systems and structure-forming processes.

Moreover, a whole systems approach is implemented and proposed for new concepts of hierarchical modelling based on the integration of massive spatial-temporal data from wide-ranging sources and time points within a collaborative smart sensing framework. This represents new-generation production systems characterized by ubiquitous sensing and intelligent services into a model-based intelligent network through cyber–physical systems and enabled over the Internet of Things (IoT). This represents the basis of our newly proposed approach towards the Industrial 6th Sense (i6S). This represents a paramount contribution towards sustainable processes able to enhance conversion efficiencies significantly, and to incorporate new functionalities in materials and products while pushing the transition into renewable resources and energy. This systematic approach embodies undoubtedly a significant benefit which diminishes considerably the process development in the chemical and process Industry. The research theme includes also cutting-edge approaches for the transition to networked digital production systems.