Heat exchanger network retrofit optimization involving heat transfer enhancement

Yufei Wang, Robin Smith, Jin Kuk Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Heat exchanger network retrofit plays an important role in energy saving in process industry. Many design methods for the retrofit of heat exchanger networks have been proposed during the last three decades. Conventional retrofit methods rely heavily on topology modifications which often result in a long retrofit duration and high initial costs. Moreover, the addition of extra surface area to the heat exchanger can prove difficult due to topology, safety and downtime constraints. Both of these problems can be avoided through the use of heat transfer enhancement in heat exchanger network retrofit. This paper presents a novel design approach to solve heat exchanger network retrofit problems based on heat transfer enhancement. An optimisation method based on simulated annealing has been developed to find the appropriate heat exchangers to be enhanced and to calculate the level of enhancement required. The physical insight of enhanced exchangers is also analysed. The new methodology allows several possible retrofit strategies using different retrofit methods be determined. Comparison of these retrofit strategies demonstrates that retrofit modification duration and payback time are reduced when heat transfer enhancement is utilised. Heat transfer enhancement can be also used as a substitute for increased heat exchanger network surface area to reduce retrofit investment costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - 2012 Oct 1


  • Heat exchanger network
  • Heat transfer enhancement
  • Retrofit
  • Simulated annealing

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