Infoscience

Thesis

Integrating Rate Based Models into a Multi-Objective Process Design & Optimisation Framework using Surrogate Models

In the development of energy and chemical processes, the process engineers extensively apply computer aided methods to design & optimise these processes and corresponding process units. Such applications are multi-scale modelling and multi-objective optimisation methods. Multi-objective optimisation of super-structured process designs are expensive in CPU-time due to the high number of potential configurations and operation conditions to be calculated. Thus single process units are generally represented by simple models like equilibrium based (chemical or phase equilibrium) or specific short cut models. In the development of new processes, kinetic effects or mass transport limitations in certain process units may play an important role, especially in multiphase chemical reactors. Therefore, it is desirable to represent such process units by experimentally derived rate based models (i.e. reaction rates and mass transport rates) in the process flowsheet simulators used for the extensive multi-objective optimisation. This increases the trust engineers have in the results and allows enriching the process simulations with newest experimental findings. As most rate based models are iteratively solved, a direct incorporation would cause higher CPU-time that penalises the use of multi-objective optimisation. A global surrogate model (SUMO) of a rate based model was successfully generated to allow its incorporation into a process design & optimisation tool which makes use of an evolutionary multi-objective optimisation. The methodology was applied to a fluidised bed methanation reactor in the process chain from wood to Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG). Two types of surrogate model, an ordinary Kriging interpolation and an artificial neural network, were generated and compared to its underlying rate based model and the chemical equilibrium model. The analysis showed that kinetic limitations have significant influence on the result already for standard bulk gas chemical components. A case study applying the previous version of the process design model and the revised version (with rate based model introduced as a set of five surrogate models) will demonstrate that the prediction uncertainties of the process design & optimisation methodology are reduced due to the integration of the rate based model of the fluidised bed methanation reactor. It will be shown that the different process design models predict considerably different optimal operating conditions of the Wood-to-SNG process. This emphasises the importance of the integration of rate based models into the process design models. The presented approach has been developed for the fluidised bed methanation reactor, however, it is a generic approach which can be applied to other process unit technologies as well. Future investigations will target other technologies to further improve the process design & optimisation predictions and support project development.

Related material