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Steady-state optimisation of a multiple cryogenic air separation unit and compressor plant

Lookup NU author(s): Richard Adamson, Dr Mark Willis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The development and on-line application of a steady-state optimisation strategy for a multiple cryogenic air separation unit and compressor plant is discussed. Implemented using mixed integer linear programming (MILP), it is demonstrated that the optimiser improves site efficiency at steady state by reduction of power consumption by up to 5% (a significant saving for such an energy intensive process) while meeting customer demand specifications. This is achieved through determination of the production distribution of the air separation units and optimal load distribution of the compression network, while simultaneously ensuring network material balance and network component operating constraints are met. In addition, the work demonstrates achievable benefits of demand side load management during peak power pricing periods, using liquid oxygen as an effective energy storage device. A key constituent of the optimisation strategy is linear modelling to predict individual unit power consumption. Piece-wise linear data-based models of compressor and air separation unit power are shown to provide accurate models which improve existing on-site power prediction by up to 80% for compressors and 60% for the air separation units.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adamson R, Hobbs M, Silcock A, Willis MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Energy

Year: 2017

Volume: 189

Pages: 221-232

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 23/12/2016

Acceptance date: 11/12/2016

Date deposited: 03/01/2017

ISSN (print): 0306-2619

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9118

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.12.061


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Funder referenceFunder name
BOC Gases through the Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre at Newcastle University, UK