The use of second law analysis to design a heat exchanger network is compared with the pinch technology approach. Differences between the two methods are identified and discussed in the light of claims made by practitioners of pinch technology. Second law insights are used to easily identify and correct design errors in a heat exchanger network, and to design maximum energy recovery networks. More importantly, it is found that use of the second law provides an understanding of the process which is totally absent in the pinch technology approach. The claims that pinch technology can find global optimum solutions, that only pinch technology can find maximum energy recovery heat exchanger networks, and that pinch technology is a form of second law analysis, are considered, discussed, and shown to be invalid.

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