Don’t Go It Alone. Gurobi and Its Partners Provide the Continuum of Support You Need.
While the mathematical optimization field is more than 70 years old, many customers are still learning how to make the most of its capabilities. That’s why, at Gurobi, we have established the Gurobi Alliance partner network—a group of trusted partners who can support you in achieving your optimization goals.
Using Optimization to Design a Heat Exchanger in a Chemical Plant
See how this heat exchanger example translates into an optimization problem—so you can apply the same approach to familiar chemical engineering equations.
Authors: Dr. Alison Cozad and Dr. Cara Touretzky
Picture this. You’re an engineer for an international oil company, and you’ve just been tapped to design a simple heat exchanger that will be installed at a chemical plant.
Given that heat exchangers can run anywhere from \$100,000 to $1,000,000 and beyond, it’s important that you choose one that keeps things cool—while keeping costs low. And your leaders are eager to break ground, so they need your design yesterday.
What’s the best way to approach a scenario like this? Or other familiar chemical engineering equations?
Many of us may be tempted to dive into a spreadsheet and brute force our way through it. But there’s a better way. It’s called mathematicaloptimization.
What is optimization?
People often associate optimization with industrial engineering or transportation, which tend to have more linear applications. But there are plenty of ways to use optimization in scenarios with nonlinear variables, too. And with Gurobi, you have the benefit of proving global optimality for nonlinear non-convex problems as well.
As we like to say, if you can model it, you can optimize it. To figure out if your scenario is ripe for optimization, consider these questions:
Do you have a problem that involves a complex, interconnected set of decisions?
Can you quantify and compare the outcomes of your decisions?
Do you want to find new ways to use your resources more efficiently?
Do you work in a constantly changing business environment?
The case of the heat exchanger
Let’s go back to our scenario with the heat exchanger. Here’s an example of how you might design your model. In this scenario, you have one hot stream (H1) and two cold streams (C1 and C2). The lines depict several possible paths where you might consider laying pipe.
In this example, there are at least five combinations to play with, given the constraints of your space and the liquids you’re working with. The questions are: Which of these options is most cost-effective and efficient? And what size should the exchangers be in order to meet the process requirements?
Answer it with a solver
A mathematical solver can help calculate models like this in a fraction of the time that you can do it yourself in a spreadsheet. And when you use a solver, it helps you in other key ways:
Prove your design. Have confidence that the solution you present to your leadership team is the top option—and that you haven’t leaned too heavily on design rules-of-thumb. You’ve mathematically tested an array of options and landed on the best one. It’s a proven solution, and one that’s easy to explain.
Troubleshoot later. Use this same model down the road for troubleshooting. Say that you build your heat exchanger exactly as designed. But three years later, it’s no longer hitting your target temperatures. You can use your model to do a parameter estimation, re-identify the heat coefficient, and see what’s changed over time.
How Gurobi helps
When you bring in a solver like Gurobi Optimizer, you focus more on building a solid model of your systems. Then you can trust that our solver is powerful enough to give you the answer you need in a reasonable time.
In this webinar, attendees will get a first look at our upcoming product release, Gurobi 10.0. We will summarize the performance improvements and highlight some of the underlying algorithmic advances, such as the network simplex algorithm, enhancements in concurrent LP, and optimization based bound tightening.
Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features.
This cookie, set by Cloudflare, is used to support Cloudflare Bot Management.
This cookie is set by Marketo. This allows a website to track visitor behavior on the sites on which the cookie is installed and to link a visitor to the recipient of an email marketing campaign, to measure campaign effectiveness. Tracking is performed anonymously until a user self-identifies by submitting a form.
LinkedIn sets this cookie from LinkedIn share buttons and ad tags to recognize browser ID.
LinkedIn sets this cookie to store performed actions on the website.
Documentation system cookie
Documentation system cookie
LinkedIn sets this cookie to remember a user's language setting.
LinkedIn sets the lidc cookie to facilitate data center selection.
LinkedIn sets this cookie for LinkedIn Ads ID syncing.
Performance cookies are used to understand and analyze the key performance indexes of the website which helps in delivering a better user experience for the visitors.
A variation of the _gat cookie set by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to allow website owners to track visitor behaviour and measure site performance. The pattern element in the name contains the unique identity number of the account or website it relates to.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
Provided by Google Tag Manager to experiment advertisement efficiency of websites using their services.
This cookie is used for collecting information on users visit to the website. It collects data such as total number of visits, average time spent on the website and the pages loaded.
This cookie is used for collecting information on the users visit such as number of visits, average time spent on the website and the pages loaded for displaying targeted ads.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.
5 months 27 days
Vimeo installs this cookie to collect tracking information by setting a unique ID to embed videos to the website.