Dr Smitha Gopinath

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


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+44 114 222 7523

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Dr Smitha Gopinath
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

I have a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London. I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. My work, cutting across disciplines, is focused on the design, calibration and operation of sustainable engineering systems. The wide-ranging applications of my work include the design of novel solvents and processes for carbon-capture, the conceptualization of renewable energy generation systems that harness solar energy and the globally optimal operation of power transmission networks. The computational techniques that I develop to solve these challenging problems involve both high-fidelity modelling and large-scale optimization. To solve challenging optimization problems, I often devise tailored algorithms that leverage knowledge of the system.

Please contact me if you would like to do a PhD in the Sustainable Design Laboratory.

Research interests

At Sheffield, I spearhead the Sustainable Design Laboratory (SDL). The laboratory uses the tools of design, systems engineering, multi-scale modelling, chemical process simulation and optimization to reimagine the chemical industry and power a sustainable future.

The SDL is interested in advancing methodologies, algorithms and tools for:

  1. Integrated molecular and process synthesis (IMPS): The ability of the process to meet performance targets (energy use, minimize wastage) strongly depend on both molecular-level decisions (e.g., which catalyst, which solvent) as well as flowsheet-level decisions (e.g., how many distillation columns, what reactor temperature). In the SDL, we apply systems-level thinking to simultaneously design the best materials/molecules as well as the best flowsheets to enable manufacturing processes to meet performance goals (e.g., reduce energy usage or minimize OPEX). Our design techniques combine advances in modelling of materials and manufacturing processes as well as optimization algorithms.
  2. Optimization Accelerated by domain Knowledge (OAK): Several large-scale optimization problems may be virtually intractable by off- the-shelf optimization solvers. We develop algorithms that are tailored to engineering applications that combine mathematical reasoning with domain knowledge to enable the solution of challenging optimization problems in energy and materials.

At the SDL, we are particularly excited by the following application areas of the IMPS and OAK methodologies:

  1. Thermo-mechanical energy conversion devices such as heat pumps and organic Rankine cycles;
  2. Separation systems that enable carbon capture utilization and storage, biomanufacturing and retrofitting of existing processes;
  3. Operation and expansion of the power grid to facilitate integration of renewables, electrification and decarbonization.

Please contact me if you would like to do a PhD in the Sustainable Design Laboratory.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Gopinath S & Hijazi HL (2022) Benchmarking Large-Scale ACOPF Solutions and Optimality Bounds. 2022 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting (PESGM), 17 July 2022 - 21 July 2022. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gopinath S, Galindo A, Jackson G & Adjiman CS (2015) Computer aided molecular and process design using complex process and thermodynamic models: A screening based approach. Computing and Systems Technology Division 2015 - Core Programming Area at the 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting, Vol. 1 (pp 107-109) RIS download Bibtex download