Optimal synthesis of thermally coupled distillation sequences using a novel MILP approach
This paper introduces a novel MILP approach for the design of distillation columns sequences of zeotropic mixtures that explicitly include from conventional to fully thermally coupled sequences and divided wall columns with a single wall. The model is based on the use of two superstructure levels. In the upper level a superstructure that includes all the basic sequences of separation tasks is postulated. The lower level is an extended tree that explicitly includes different thermal states and compositions of the feed to a given separation task. In that way, it is possible to a priori optimize all the possible separation tasks involved in the superstructure. A set of logical relationships relates the feasible sequences with the optimized tasks in the extended tree resulting in a MILP to select the optimal sequence. The performance of the model in terms of robustness and computational time is illustrated with several examples.