There are various approaches towards the synthesis of a process. One major class of such approaches, often referred to as sequential, relies on the decomposition of the problem into three subproblems which are solved sequentially: (1) reaction network, (2) separation network, and (3) heat exchanger network synthesis. In the sequential approach, the design decisions made in one subproblem bound the search space of the subsequent one, and thus some solutions may be excluded. Despite extensive research in the area of process synthesis, however, most available approaches focus on developing and solving separate superstructures for the reactor, separation, and heat exchanger systems; and are based on a number of limiting assumptions (e.g., fixed stream flow rates and temperatures for heat integration). Therefore, existing superstructure-based approaches still need to be employed in a sequential manner to synthesize the entire system. To address this limitation, we propose a generalized framework for superstructure-based process synthesis to formulate an integrated synthesis problem where multiple systems are synthesized simultaneously.
Ryu J, Kong L, Lima AEP, Maravelias CT. A Generalized Superstructure-based Framework for Process Synthesis. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 133, 106653, 2020.