The problem of synthesis and design of processing networks corresponds to the generation, evaluation and selection among alternatives with respect to raw materials, process technologies and configurations and product portfolio compositions. This results in a complex and multi-disciplinary problem, in which all the aspects of the problem (technical, economical, regulatory, logistical, etc.) need to be considered simultaneously, in order to be able to identify the optimal design. Through the developments realized in the last decades, Process Systems Engineering has shown the potential to contribute to this problem, through the development of methods, tools, and solution approaches, under the general framework of Enterprise-Wide Optimization. Despite the level of maturity which these tools have reached and the potential which they have demonstrated, the acceptance of systematic methods and tools for synthesis and design of processing networks in the industrial sector is still lower than what could be expected. One of the key reasons for this lack of acceptance lays in their complexity. The formulation of these problems, in fact, often results in a time-consuming activity, due to the number of data that need to be gathered and of equations that need to be specified. The solution of the optimization problem formulated, moreover, requires expertise in discrete optimization, which is often not part of the standard skills set of design engineers and decision-makers. This Ph.D. project, therefore, aims at the integration of methods, tools and solution strategies for synthesis and design of processing networks in a computer-aided framework, in order to optimize and facilitate the workflow of problem formulation and solution, allowing simpler, faster and more robust use of such tools. Through the integration of different methods, tools, algorithms and databases, the framework guides the user in dealing with the mathematical complexity of the problems, allowing efficient formulation and solution of large and complex optimization problem. In this thesis, all developed methods, tools and solution strategies are described, emphasizing their integration in the computer aided framework. The framework is then applied to the formulation and solution of 3 challenging and relevant case studies, highlighting the importance of the tools integration realized in the framework.
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Gani, Rafiqul, Sin, Gürkan, Sarup, Bent
Technical University of Denmark, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, 2013