Petar Sabev Varbanov

Brno University of Technology – VUT, Czech Republic,

Dr Varbanov is the Deputy Head of SPIL – Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory, NETME Centre, FME, Brno University of Technology – VUT Brno, Czech Republic. His main fields of activity are energy saving and efficiency, development and implementation of Process Integration, Total Site and regional integration for energy and water – including industry interaction interfaces, retrofit, waste to energy, wastewater minimisation leading to GHG and water footprints reduction.

Petar Varbanov has got PhD in Process Integration from UMIST (now – The University of Manchester, UK) with distinction in 2004, on “Optimisation and Synthesis of Process Utility Systems”, completed in collaboration with Aspentech, Shell Global Solutions, MW Kellog and BP. He has been twice the Fellow of Marie Curie research grants – an Individual Intra-European Fellowship Grant for 2 y research at Technische Universität Berlin, followed by a grant for going to the University of Pannonia, Hungary, where he served as the Deputy Head of the Centre for Process Integration and Intensification CPI2 until February 2016, when he won the post at SPIL in Brno, Czech Republic. He has been also an Associate Professor at the Centre for Process Systems Engineering & Sustainability – Pázmány Péter Catholic University.

Dr Varbanov is the European Editor of the Springer Journal “Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy” and Subject Editor of the Elsevier journal “Energy – The International Journal” and he served as the Managing Guest Editor and Guest Editor of Journal of Cleaner Production, Energy, Applied Thermal Engineering, Computers and Chemical Engineering.

He has been a long term Scientific Secretary of and recently a Co-Chair of the Conference on Process Integration for Energy Saving and Pollution Reduction –PRES (, member of the International Scientific Committee and chair of the Poster Evaluation Committee of the International Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems SDEWES international conference (, as well as member of the Scientific Committee of the Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory Scientific–SPIL conferences. He is also the Scientific Secretary of the International Conference “Sustainable and efficient use of energy, water and natural resources” – SEWAN. He served many years as the Scientific Secretary of the CAPE-WP of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering.

Recently he has been contributing to 25 EC co-funded and other research and demonstration projects. He has published over 186 papers indexed by Web of Science with H-Index of 30. He is a co-author of two books and several chapters in books. He has been external examiner at University of Surrey, The University of Manchester, University Mohammed I – Oujda.

His research has been successfully implemented in collaboration with industrial partners: BP-Coryton, BP-Grangemouth, MOL Százhalombatta,HU, Bayer, DE, IPLOM – Busalla, IT. He has been actively collaborating with HUNTSMAN Processing & Engineering – Basel (CH), Process Integration Ltd (UK), Cal Gavin (UK), Akstionernoe Obshchestvo ‘Sodrugestvo-T’ (UA), Makatec Apparate GmbH (DE), The University of Manchester (UK), University of Bath (UK), Paderborn University (DE), EMBaffle (NL), University of Maribor (SI), Pannon Novum Regional Innovation Centre (HU), Chamber of Commerce Nagykanizsa (HU), Julius Montz GMBH (DE), Process Design Centre BV (NL), Scottish Power Generation Ltd (UK), Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (GR), Imperial College London (UK), ETH Zürich (CH); National Technical University of Athens (GR), University of Zagreb (HR), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR), Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute (UA), The Hashemite University (JO), University Mohammed I (MA), Bayer (DE), MOL (HU), ENN Group Ltd (CN), IPLOM Refinery (IT)



Despite the steadily declining energy use per GDP – of the order of 30 % during 1990-2010 (Ritchie & Roser, 2014), the same source also shows trhat global energy consumption keeps growing. That suggests that other factors are also involved in setting the trend. Such a factor can be accelerated economic development worldwide, most considerably in the other Asia-Pacific region (BP, 2018), which is linked to a surge in the fundamental demands for energy.

The increasing energy demands are combined with another powerful factor that amplifies the primary resources consumption and emissions. Based on an annual summary published by the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2019) It has been argued in (Varbanov et al., 2018) that the core problems before attaining a sustainable development trajectory in terms of energy use lie in the considerable losses – up to 67 %, which is corroborated by a similar study for the the world economy (Forman et al., 2016).

There are also a global issues, overlapping each other – such as the Global Warming, pollution and drought (Deutsche Welle, 2016), health issues of various population groups (WHO, 2019). The Brookings Institution (Kettl, 1998) published a strategic analysis two decades ago, which has been proven correct by the world development since then. The analysis reasons that the contemporary sustainability challenges lie in the distributed nature and the multitude of the sources of environmental threats, citing fertiliser runoff and water eutrophication issues.

Linked to those problems is the logistical challenge of delivering over huge distances goods, materials and energy carriers, resulting in a significant 1/3 of the global energy consumption (Nejat et al., 2015) and the related emissions. It has been clearly shown that for spatially-distributed resources of low energy density (Varbanov et al., 2018), such as biomass and waste, that the transportation over distances longer than 70-100 km results in GHG emissions that outweigh the potential GHG savings.

This contribution provides an analysis of the tools available for quantifying and measuring the various environmental and social implications of industrial, urban and transportation activities, focusing on the footprints linked to the key biogeochemical cycles (Jacobson et al., 2000), expressed more specifically as the Global Material Cycles (Smil, 2007). These metrics include (Klemeš, 2015) the Greenhouse Gas (GHG, Carbon) footprint, Water Footprint, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Footprints. The analysis proceeds to highlighting that, within the context of Global Material Cycles, the only external degree of freedom is the solar energy supply, available to power the economic and industrial activities. This puts all other degrees of freedom in processing networks as internal, governing two types of human-induced cycles with regard to the environment: benign and deteriorating.

It is shown how thermodynamic analysis, targeting and rational system design are naturally built within the methods of the Process Integration family, saving resources and emissions. These methods (Klemeš et al., 2018) belong to several broad groups: process and site optimisation (process-level Heat Integration, Total Site Integration, Water Integration), municipal and regional optimisation (Locally Integrated Energy Sectors, regional supply networks), resource management in time (Power Pinch, inventory management). Examples are given of the application of Process Integrations tools for successful reduction of GHG emissions and lessons are drawn from them.

It is pointed out that there are further remaining research and development challenges before applying Process Integration can fulfil its potential – such as linking the topological, temporal and spatial dimensions of process optimisation, combining Process Integration with the ideas of Industrial Ecology of the naturally circular process

chains, and the incorporation of the multitude of economic and footprint metrics within the Process Integration framework. These challenges are discussed and analysed, suggesting the most critical directions for future work in the area.


This research has been supported by the EU project “Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory – SPIL”, project No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000456 funded by EU “CZ Operational Programme Research, Development and Education”, Priority 1: Strengthening capacity for quality research.