(448g) Super-O: A Tool for Processing Network Synthesis Using Superstructure Optimization

Bertran, M. O., Technical University of Denmark
Zhang, L., Dalian University of Technology
Gani, R., Technical University of Denmark
A business and engineering framework for processing network synthesis was proposed by Quaglia et al. (2012) and extended by Bertran et al. (2017). The framework is based on a superstructure optimization approach, including four key elements: (i) a superstructure representation named Process Step-Interval Network (PSIN); (ii) a generic process model; (iii) a solver from an optimization environment; and (iv) a database for data management.

A software implementation of the framework, named Super-O, guides the user through the steps for formulating and solving synthesis problems of different processing networks by integrating the necessary in-house and commercial tools, consisting of models, databases and commercial solvers. The use of Super-O allows for the reduction of the time needed for the formulation and solution of network optimization problems.

A generic process model is used for each processing alternative in the superstructure and represents the set of equality constraints in the optimization problem. The generic process model is based on a series of processing tasks, namely mixing, reaction, waste removal, separation and utility consumption. The purpose of the databases is to provide a common platform for different users to store, search and retrieve data for the formulation and solution of biorefinery synthesis problems. Each database is built on a specifically designed data structure that consists of three main data sections, namely a basic data section, a section for data related to the material, and a section containing process data. This data structure has been used to set up databases in different application fields, for example, a biorefinery database that contains 10 types of biomass, over 100 processing alternatives and 9 products.

A number of case studies have been solved using Super-O, these span over various problem types (feedstock selection, product selection, processing route selection, plant allocation, etc.) and industries (chemicals and bio-chemicals, biorefineries, CO2 utilization, wastewater treatment, etc.).


  • Quaglia, A., Sarup, B., Sin, G., Gani, R., 2012. Integrated business and engineering framework for synthesis and design of enterprise-wide processing networks. Comput. Chem. Eng. 38, 213–223.
  • Bertran, M.-O., Frauzem, R., Sanchez-Arcilla, A.-S., Zhang, L., Woodley, J.M., Gani, R., 2017. A generic methodology for processing route synthesis and design based on superstructure optimization. Comput. Chem. Eng. DOI: 10.1016/j.compchemeng.2017.01.030