Automatic synthesis of optimum heat exchanger network configurations



This paper addresses the problem of automatically generating heat exchanger network configurations that feature minimum investment cost subject to minimum utility cost and fewest number of units. Based on the linear programming and the mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) transshipment models for heat integration, a superstructure that has embedded many alternative configurations is proposed. This superstructure, which has as units the matches predicted by the MILP transshipment model, includes options for series and parallel matching, as well as stream splitting, mixing, and bypassing. Many of the implied stream connections in the superstructure are reduced to zero flow with a nonlinear programming formulation that leads to realistic and practical designs. Theoretical properties as well as the implementation aspects of the proposed procedure for the automatic generation of networks are presented. The method is illustrated with three example problems.