Journal article

Multi-objective superstructure-free synthesis and optimization of thermal power plants

The merits of superstructure-free synthesis are demonstrated for bi-objective design of thermal power plants. The design of thermal power plants is complex and thus best solved by optimization. Common optimization methods require specification of a superstructure which becomes a tedious awl error-prone task for complex systems. Superstructure specification is avoided by the presented superstructure-free approach, which is shown to successfully solve the design task yielding a high-quality Pareto front of promising structural alternatives. The economic objective function avoids introducing infinite numbers of units (e.g., turbine, reheater and feedwater preheater) as favored by pure thermodynamic optimization. The number of feasible solutions found per number of mutation tries is still high even after many generations but declines after introducing highly-nonlinear cost functions leading to challenging MINLP problems. The identified Pareto-optimal solutions tend to employ more units than found in modern power plants indicating the need for cost functions to reflect current industrial practice. In summary, the multi-objective superstructure-free synthesis framework is a robust approach for very complex problems in the synthesis of thermal power plants. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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