Computer-Aided Chemical Product Design Framework: Design of High Performance and Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants

Stefano Cignitti, Lei Zhang, Rafiqul Gani

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Refrigerants are widely used in household and industrial applications, such as processes for energy transfer from low grade heat sources. Refrigerants are utilized in heat pump cycles for moving heat from one source to another with the task to heat or to refrigerate. Environmental issues have been a driving force for the industry to continuously seek novel refrigerants as current refrigerants risk phasing out due to environmental regulations. This trend has been seen since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and recently from the EU regulations from 2014, which will restrict the use of some known refrigerants today (Mota-Babiloni et al., 2015). However, design of new refrigerants poses a great challenge and finding an optimum solution for a given application often faces trade-off issues between cycle performance and environmental criteria. In addition, following issues are still to be addressed. What target properties and needs should carefully be selected for a given heat pump cycle to ensure that an optimum refrigerant is found? How can cycle performance and environmental criteria be integrated at the product design stage and not in post-design analysis? Computer-aided product design methods enable the possibility of designing novel molecules, mixtures and blends, such as refrigerants through a systematic framework (Cignitti et al., 2015; Yunus et al., 2014). In this presentation a computer-aided framework is presented for chemical product design through mathematical optimization. Here, molecules, mixtures and blends, are systematically designed through a decomposition based solution method. Given a problem definition, computer-aided molecular design (CAMD) problem is defined, which is formulated into a mixed integer nonlinear program (MINLP). The decomposed solution method then sequentially divides the MINLP into smaller sub-problems; (i) MILP for molecular structure generation, (ii) LP for pure property constraints, (iii) NLP for mixture/blend constraints, (iv) NLP for process constraints. With this, it is ensured that the MINLP is feasible to solve and that a global optimum is reachable. The method is applied on refrigerant design for a heat pump cycle. It is shown how the presented framework can generate optimal novel refrigerants that are high performing and environmentally friendly. This is achieved through integrated product-process based optimization objective, namely, target physicochemical and environmental properties for refrigerant design and target heat pump cycle performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event10th European Congress of Chemical Engineering - Nice, France
Duration: 27 Sep 20151 Oct 2015
Conference number: 10


Conference10th European Congress of Chemical Engineering
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