Heat exchanger network synthesis exploits excess heat by integrating process hot and cold streams and improves energy efficiency by reducing utility usage. Determining provably good solutions to the minimum number of matches is a bottleneck of designing a heat recovery network using the sequential method. This subproblem is an NP-hard mixed-integer linear program exhibiting combinatorial explosion in the possible hot and cold stream configurations. We explore this challenging optimization problem from a graph theoretic perspective and correlate it with other special optimization problems such as cost flow network and packing problems. In the case of a single temperature interval, we develop a new optimization formulation without problematic big-M parameters. We develop heuristic methods with performance guarantees using three approaches: (i) relaxation rounding, (ii) water filling, and (iii) greedy packing. Numerical results from a collection of 51 instances substantiate the strength of the methods.
- Approximation algorithms
- Heat exchanger network design
- Minimum number of matches
- Mixed-integer linear optimization