Interplant heat exchanger network synthesis using nanofluids for interplant heat exchange

Timo Laukkanen*, Ari Seppälä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Heat transfer between different processes or inter-plant heat integration can be seen as an efficient way to cost-efficiently improve the energy efficiency of a system of different processes. Nanofluids are a new type of heat transfer fluids, in which particles with size of 1–100 nm are suspended in a liquid. Nanosized particles can cause considerable enhancement in convective heat transfer performance of the base fluid, although at the same time they increase the viscosity of the fluid, thus enhancing the needed pumping power. In this work we study the effect of using nanofluids in streams transferring heat from different processes by optimizing the total annual cost of a heat exchanger network. These costs include the cost of hot and cold utilities, heat exchanger investment costs and pumping costs. A modified version of the well-known Synheat superstructure is used as the optimization model in comparing the different fluids (water and five nanofluids) in two examples. Some key parameters (electricity price and annuity factor) are varied in these two examples. The results show that nanofluids can in some cases save total annual costs and especially if electricity prices are low compared to other factors. This is true especially for MgO1.0% which outperformed water and the other nanofluids in normal price conditions. But altogether it is evident that most, and in some cases all, of the benefits provided by nanofluids to improved heat transfer is canceled out by the increased pressure drops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Grouping of process streams
  • Heat exchanger network synthesis
  • Nanofluid
  • Process integration
  • Synheat model

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