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[en] A new approach for the calculation of the interactions among the components of a thermal system for application to the concept of advanced exergy-based analysis is presented. The approach can be used to determine the thermodynamic interactions of system components, and to evaluate alternative designs. The new approach puts the calculation of endogenous and exogenous exergy destruction on a proper thermodynamic basis and introduces a straightforward and time-saving calculation procedure in contrast to various approaches used in the past. When employed to the analysis of the CGAM-problem, the new approach complies with qualitative reasoning, resolves the shortcomings and shows comparable results with previous approaches. The top-down hierarchical approach assists in achieving the best system design possible by identifying the effects of design decisions and by stimulating the engineer's creativity in terms of design alternatives and optimization options. Furthermore, the generalization of the approach allows for any level of aggregation, thus, making the determination of improvement potentials easier. By providing profound thermodynamic understanding for processes, the advanced exergy-based analysis is a promising tool for designing, analyzing and optimizing processes for higher efficiencies and lower costs. - Highlights: • A new concept for the application in advanced exergy-based analysis is introduced and verified. • Problems with previous approaches for advanced exergy analysis are solved. • The concept easily integrates into existing process design methodologies. • Thermodynamic interactions among components are straightforwardly determined.
[en] An industrial ammonia synthesis loop is a complex interconnected system. With the synthesis reactor operated at high-pressure levels and with synthesis gas made of hydrogen and nitrogen, a highly efficient process design is necessary in order to meet the requirements in terms of cost-efficiency and environmental impact. The evaluation and optimization of different designs in the process synthesis phase are generally done by considering mass and energy balances. However, the conclusions drawn from such an analysis can be misleading and provide, if any, little useful information with respect to system improvement. In order to address these issues, an exergy analysis is used to identify the real thermodynamic inefficiencies of a system and its components. Furthermore, a subsequently conducted advanced exergy analysis provides the means to determine the structural interactions within a system and the thermodynamic improvement potential of its components. In this context, two different ammonia synthesis loop configurations are analyzed. The first concept consists of a three-staged adiabatic reactor with intermediate quench cooling, whereas the second design features a cooled reactor. - Highlights: • The information provided by thermodynamic, exergetic and advanced exergetic analyses is evaluated and compared. • Advanced exergetic analysis identifies the main design aspects and their impact for the ammonia synthesis loop. • Reactor design is the key decision variable for the thermodynamic efficiency of the synthesis loop. • Means for further system improvement are identified.