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ERE Seminar: Qi Zhang, PhD, University of Minnesota — Multiscale Optimization Approaches for the Design of Integrated Energy Systems

January 14, 2019 -
12:30pm to 1:30pm
Room 104, Green Earth Sciences Building, 367 Panama Street, Stanford

TitleMultiscale Optimization Approaches for the Design of Integrated Energy Systems

Qi Zhang, PhDAssistant Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science | University of Minnesota


Due to large fluctuations in energy demand, high level of uncertainty in the power grid, and increased penetration of intermittent renewable energy sources, the careful consideration of operational constraints has become crucial for the optimal design of sustainable energy systems. This often results in large-scale mixed-integer optimization problems as one has to integrate long-term design or capacity expansion decisions and short-term operational decisions.

In this talk, we present two instances in which we have successfully applied a number of approaches that help mitigate the computational intensity of such multiscale optimization problems. In the first case, we consider the design of integrated process networks for renewables-based fuels and power production. When solving this problem, we rely on efficient surrogate models and a simplified time representation based on the use of presentative weeks. In the second case, we address the capacity planning problem for an industrial air separation plant that interacts with the electricity market. Here, we have developed a column generation algorithm that effectively decomposes the large-scale problem into several smaller subproblems that can be solved in parallel.

BioDr. Qi Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and worked at BASF in Germany and Houston prior to joining the University of Minnesota. Dr. Zhang’s research lies at the intersection of chemical engineering and operations research, developing mathematical optimization models and methods for the design of energy and process systems, process planning and scheduling, and supply chain optimization. The Zhang group strives to develop efficient computational methods and advance theory in a number of areas, including mixed-integer programming, large-scale optimization, and decision making under uncertainty.

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Energy Resources Engineering
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