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Eco-innovation in process engineering: Contradictions, inventive principles and methods

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Law, Dr David Reay



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Economic growth and ecological problems motivate industries to apply eco-friendly technologies and equipment. However, environmental impact, followed by energy and material consumption still remain the main negative implications of the technological progress in process engineering. Based on extensive patent analysis, this paper assigns more than 250 identified eco-innovation problems and requirements to 14 general eco-categories with energy consumption and losses, air pollution, and acidification as top issues. It defines primary eco-engineering contradictions, in case eco-problems appear as negative side effects of the new technologies, and secondary eco-engineering contradictions, if eco-friendly solutions have new environmental drawbacks. The study conceptualizes a correlation matrix between the eco-requirements for prediction of typical eco-contradictions on example of processes involving solids handling. Finally, it summarizes major eco-innovation approaches including Process Intensification in process engineering, and chronologically reviews 66 papers on eco-innovation adapting TRIZ methodology. Based on analysis of 100 eco-patents, 58 process intensification technologies, and literature, the study identifies 20 universal TRIZ inventive principles and sub-principles that have a higher value for environmental innovation. The presented research work belongs to the European project “Intensified by Design platform for the intensification of processes involving solids handling” (IbD,, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 SPIRE programme.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Livotov P, Chandra Sekaran AP, Mas'udah, Law R, Reay D, Sarsenova A, Sayyareh S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thermal Science and Engineering Progress

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Pages: 52-65

Print publication date: 01/03/2019

Online publication date: 23/10/2018

Acceptance date: 22/10/2018

Date deposited: 14/01/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2451-9049

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.tsep.2018.10.012


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