Mixed-integer optimization of distillation sequences with Aspen Plus: A practical approach

Meik B. Franke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A modified Generalized Benders Decomposition (mGBD) algorithm for the mixed-integer nonlinear problem (MINLP) optimization of distillation processes is presented and applied to the optimization of an extractive distillation process in Aspen Plus. The mGBD algorithm is implemented in Visual Basic for Applications and communicates via a COM interface with Aspen Plus. The mGBD algorithm accounts for nonconvexities of the MINLP problem by employing the so-called discard-fix-and-decompose strategy. Optimization runs starting from four different integer sets demonstrate that the algorithm can find high-quality solutions independent of the initial integer values. The advantage of the mGBD algorithm is that the Aspen Plus RadFrac model can be used with minor customizations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106583
JournalComputers & chemical engineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aspen Plus
  • Ethanol-water separation
  • Extractive distillation
  • Mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP)
  • modified Generalized Benders Decomposition (mGBD)
  • Process optimization


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