Optimal heat exchanger networks

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In this joined research project a software prototype has been developed. SyntHEX is a high performance software for the development of optimal heat recovery concepts even for the most complex processes. It assists engineers in the energetic analysis of process engineering systems and automatically generates concept alternatives for optimal heat integration. The implemented genetic algorithms, whose selection principle always evolves only the best solution, accomplish a particularly powerful optimization process. SyntHEX can be applied to any process engineering system that must be additionally heated and cooled. The simulation software is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

  • The planning and optimization of process heat streams using SyntHEX minimize investment and energy costs
  • SyntHEX provides optimal solutions with sub-networks, which can be easily integrated into existing processes, without increasing the susceptibility to failure
  • SyntHEX is suitable for the optimization of existing and new installations
  • SyntHEX increases process’s energy efficiency. Thus, it contributes to climate protection


In a benchmark test, based on reference examples, with the classic Pinch-Method (PM), SyntHEX (SY) determines clearly more economical concepts for heat exchanger networks (refer to VDI Heat Atlas, edition 11, chapter C5, 2013). These are characterized by the fact that they work with numerous sub-networks. Moreover, the number of required heat exchangers is much smaller than the one determined by the Pinch-Method. Therefore, costs are reduced and a simpler process control is achieved.


SyntHEX was developed in a research project under collaboration with the Institute for Process and Plant Engineering of the Hamburg's University of Technology.


The ZIM-Project with the grant identification number KF2629301 was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and ran out on 15.12.2012.

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