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Energy system analysis and optimization

Optimization of the design and operation of energy conversion plants aims to improve the economic, thermodynamic and ecological performance of the plants.

When designing an energy conversion system, the plant layout (e.g. superstructure) and the thermodynamic properties are not fixed but rather part of the process. The high degree of freedom and possible interdependencies lead to highly complex problems which are mathematically challenging (i.e. MINLP - mixed integer non-linear programming).

In contrast to design optimization, the optimization of the steady-state operation of an existing plant is less challenging, as the plant layout is fixed, thus resulting in a lower degree of freedom. Operation optimization is mainly influenced by short term economic considerations and requires fast decisions. Therefore, technical and thermodynamic relations are simplified to keep computation times to a minimum. The optimization of the dynamic plant performance was a focal point of our research in the past.

Current work focuses on the coupled optimization of design and operation during a typical operation year of a new plant.

In research and teaching, the following software tools are used:

  • Aspen Plus®
  • Ebsilon®Professional
  • GAMS©
  • Julia© and JuMP
  • Matlab® and Simulink®
  • Python™ and Pyomo

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