Thermodynamically based procedures that guarantee minimum energy levels in the design of integrated systems have recently been reported in the chemical engineering literature. These procedures—generally summarized as pinch technology—apply to heat exchanger networks, heat pumps, combined heat and power cycles, and utility systems. The procedures are based on Second Law Analysis. They have proven successful in over 500 industrial applications worldwide and the cost benefits have been significant. This paper describes recent developments in pinch technology aimed at the optimization of energy and capital. An overall method has now emerged which brings together energy and capital costs. It virtually guarantees near global optimality for integrated process plant and energy systems. This guarantee even applies for complex and highly constrained industrial problems. A key concept is that of supertargeting.

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