Online course and simulator for engineering thermodynamics

Heat integration or pinch method


Thermal integration, or pinch method is a relatively recent method (dating back to the eighties) for designing the most efficient heat exchanger and utility networks in an energy facility or a process plant

In energy engineering, the scope of this method is the design of heat exchangers networks providing thermal coupling in coupled systems, such as combined cycles or cogeneration facilities. The corresponding issue is presented in the portal page presenting pinch problems in heat recovery steam generator (HRSG).

It is based on thermodynamic laws and the study of heat exchanged between streams to be cooled (availabilities) and warmed (needs).

It allows minimization of the exchanger network internal irreversibilities, and thus improvement in its performance.

The main interests of this method are:

  • It is a visual and graphic method, which allows the engineer to keep a physical approach of the phenomena, while very often optimization methods are purely numerical

  • But most importantly, optimization is performed without any a priori assumptions about the heat exchanger network configuration, which is defined only at a later time.

  • It has become widespread over the past twenty years because it proved it could reduce both capital costs and operating expenses, which is generally not the case.

Available Diapason sessions

To introduce you to this method, you will find in this portal two Diapason sessions dealing with this issue.

The purpose of these sessions is to discover the pinch method and become familiar with its use.

  • session IT1En presents the basic concepts of heat integration (pinch, composites, pinch minimization algorithm).

  • session IT2En provides a detailed example of a practical use of this method, up to the construction of the exchanger network.

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