The creation and implementation of system optimisation is being driven by the commercial need to exploit increasingly narrow profit margins in a globalised and competitive world. To achieve this, businesses must satisfy the level of quality demanded by the market with the lowest possible cost in energy and raw materials – while complying with stringent environmental regulations. Real time optimisation (RTO) tools have been successfully applied for several many years in processing industries (chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food, etc.). These tools generally apply linear programming techniques with linear constraints, and measure the economic cost of managing the plant or process with the aim of improving current performance.
The Predictive Control and Heuristic Optimisation Group (CPOH) researches the application of stochastic optimisers for the line optimisation of processes and systems. This work is developed from the multiobjective viewpoint and aims at achieving the automatic selection of solutions that meet the technical requirements of a process, satisfy product quality, as well as meeting other constraints – such as the environmental regulations. These operating principles can be translated into a series of multiple targets that are close to reality and usually opposing. The consideration of multiobjective optimization as a process optimiser enables the exploration of areas of optimal operation that were previously inaccessible using linear optimisers.