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Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Generation of Complex Energy Systems by Combination of Elementary Processes

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Toffolo

Energy Engineering, Division of Energy Science,
Department of Engineering Sciences
and Mathematics,
Luleå University of Technology,
Luleå 971 87, Sweden

S. Rech

Department of Industrial Engineering,
Interdepartmental Center “Giorgio Levi Cases”
for Energy Economics and Technology,
University of Padova,
Padova 35131, Italy

A. Lazzaretto

Department of Industrial Engineering,
University of Padova,
Padova 35131, Italy
e-mail: andrea.lazzaretto@unipd.it

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received January 7, 2018; final manuscript received March 15, 2018; published online June 12, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Asfaw Beyene.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(11), 112005 (Jun 12, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1021; doi: 10.1115/1.4040194 History: Received January 07, 2018; Revised March 15, 2018

The fundamental challenge in the synthesis/design optimization of energy systems is the definition of system configuration and design parameters. The traditional way to operate is to follow the previous experience, starting from the existing design solutions. A more advanced strategy consists in the preliminary identification of a superstructure that should include all the possible solutions to the synthesis/design optimization problem and in the selection of the system configuration starting from this superstructure through a design parameter optimization. This top–down approach cannot guarantee that all possible configurations could be predicted in advance and that all the configurations derived from the superstructure are feasible. To solve the general problem of the synthesis/design of complex energy systems, a new bottom–up methodology has been recently proposed by the authors, based on the original idea that the fundamental nucleus in the construction of any energy system configuration is the elementary thermodynamic cycle, composed only by the compression, heat transfer with hot and cold sources and expansion processes. So, any configuration can be built by generating, according to a rigorous set of rules, all the combinations of the elementary thermodynamic cycles operated by different working fluids that can be identified within the system, and selecting the best resulting configuration through an optimization procedure. In this paper, the main concepts and features of the methodology are deeply investigated to show, through different applications, how an artificial intelligence can generate system configurations of various complexity using preset logical rules without any “ad hoc” expertise.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Flowsheet of a HAT (above) and the topology of the corresponding “basic configuration” (below)

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Fig. 2

Basic configurations of simple cycle (left), mixed gas-steam cycle (center) and two-pressure level Rankine cycle (right)

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Fig. 3

Flow chart of the new procedure for generating optimum basic configurations of any energy conversion system

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Fig. 4

Topology of the basic configuration assembled in the first example (left) and T–s diagram of its processes (right). The numbers identify the nodes in the topology of the basic configuration (on the right). List of shared processes in the first example: A = {1 1}, B = { }, C = {1 1}, D = {1 1}. List of shared processes in the second example: A = { }, B = {1 1}, C = {1 1}, D = { }.

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Fig. 5

Topology of the basic configuration assembled in the second example (left) and T–s diagram of its processes (right). The numbers identify the nodes in the topology of the basic configuration (on the right).

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Fig. 6

Topology of the optimal basic configurations of the ORCs obtained with two (left) and three (right) elementary Rankine cycles

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Fig. 7

T–s diagrams of the optimal ORCs with two (above) and three (below) elementary Rankine cycles. The numbers identify the nodes in the topology of the basic configuration (Fig. 6).

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Fig. 8

Integrated grand composite curves for the optimal ORCs obtained with two (above) and three (below) elementary Rankine cycles

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Fig. 9

The common topology of the basic configurations of the optimal two-pressure level ORC systems operated with isobutane and R245fa

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Fig. 10

T–s diagrams of the optimal two-pressure level ORCs operated with isobutane (above) and R245fa (below). The numbers identify the nodes in the topology of the basic configuration (Fig. 9).

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Fig. 11

Hot and cold composite curves of the optimal two-pressure level ORC systems operated with isobutane (above) and R245fa (below). The numbers represent the nodes of the topology in Fig. 9, while bi and bo represent the inlet and outlet temperature of the brine.

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Fig. 12

Integrated grand composite curves for the optimal steam bottoming cycles obtained with two (above) and three (below) elementary Rankine cycles

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Fig. 13

T–s diagrams of the optimal steam bottoming cycles with two (above) and three (below) elementary Rankine cycles. The numbers identify the nodes along the shared expansion (Fig. 14).

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Fig. 14

Topology of the optimal basic configurations of the steam bottoming cycle obtained with two (left) and three (right) elementary Rankine cycles

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Fig. 15

Additional components required in the assembling of two elementary cycles. Open cycles: mixer (left) or splitter (center); closed cycles: mixer/splitter pair (right).

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