Application of mixed-integer programming in chemical engineering

Pogiatzis, Thomas (2013-06-11)


Mixed-Integer Programming has been a vital tool for the chemical engineer in the recent decades and is employed extensively in process design and control. This dissertation presents some new Mixed-Integer Programming formulations developed for two well-studied problems, one with a central role in the area of Optimisation, the other of great interest to the chemical industry. These are the Travelling Salesman Problem and the problem of scheduling cleaning actions for heat exchanger networks subject to fouling. The Travelling Salesman Problem finds a plethora of applications in many scientific disciplines, Chemical Engineering included. None of the mathematical programming formulations proposed for solving the problem considers fewer than O(n^2) binary degrees of freedom. The first part of this dissertation introduces a novel mathematical description of the Travelling Salesman Problem that succeeds in reducing the binary degrees of freedom to O(nlog2(n)). Three Mixed-Integer Linear Programming formulations are developed and the computational performance of these is tested through computational studies. Sophisticated methods are now available for scheduling the cleaning actions for networks of heat exchangers subject to fouling. In the majority of these, only one form of cleaning is used, which restores the performance of the exchanger back to its clean level. A recent study revised the scheduling problem for the case where there are several cleaning methods available. The second part of this dissertation extends their approach, developed for individual units, to heat exchanger networks and explores the concept of selection of cleaning techniques further. Mixed-Integer Programming formulations are proposed for the scheduling task, for two fouling scenarios: (i) chemical reaction fouling and (ii) biological fouling. A series of results are presented for the implementation of the scheduling formulations to networks of different sizes.