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We consider a nonlinear nonconvex network design problem that arises in the extension of natural gas transmission networks. Given is such network with active and passive components, that is, valves, compressors, pressure regulators (active) and pipelines (passive), and a desired amount of flow at certain specified entry and exit nodes of the network. Besides flow conservation constraints in the nodes the flow must fulfill nonlinear nonconvex pressure loss constraints on the arcs subject to potential values (i.e., pressure levels) in both end nodes of each arc. Assume that there does not exist a feasible flow that fulfills all physical constraints and meets the desired entry and exit amounts. Then a natural question is where to extend the network by adding pipes in the most economic way such that this flow becomes feasible. Answering this question is computationally demanding because of the difficult problem structure. We use mixed-integer nonlinear programming techniques that rely on an outer approximation of the overall problem, and a branching on decision variables. We formulate a new class of valid inequalities (or cutting planes) which reduce the overall solution time when added to the formulation. We demonstrate the computational merits of our approach on test instances.

We consider a nonlinear nonconvex network flow problem that arises, for example, in natural gas or water transmission networks. Given is such network with active and passive components, that is, valves, compressors, pressure regulators (active) and pipelines (passive), and a desired amount of flow at certain specified entry and exit nodes of the network. Besides flow conservation constraints in the nodes the flow must fulfill nonlinear nonconvex pressure loss constraints on the arcs subject to potential values (i.e., pressure levels) in both end nodes of each arc. The problem is how to numerically compute this flow and pressures. We review an existing approach of Maugis (1977) and extend it to the case of networks with active elements (for example, compressors). We further examine different ways of relaxations for the nonlinear network flow model. We compare different approaches based on nonlinear optimization numerically on a set of test instances.

We present a novel heuristic algorithm to identify feasible solutions of a mixed-integer nonlinear programming problem arising in natural gas transportation: the selection of new pipelines to enhance the network's capacity to a desired level in a cost-efficient way. We solve this problem in a linear programming based branch-and-cut approach, where we deal with the nonlinearities by linear outer approximation and spatial branching. At certain nodes of the branching tree, we compute a KKT point for a nonlinear relaxation. Based on the information from the KKT point we alter some of the integer variables in a locally promising way. We describe this heuristic for general MINLPs and then show how to tailor the heuristic to exploit our problem-specific structure. On a test set of real-world instances, we are able to increase the chance of identifying feasible solutions by some order of magnitude compared to standard MINLP heuristics that are already built in the general-purpose MINLP solver SCIP.

One quarter of Europe’s energy demand is provided by natural gas distributed through a vast pipeline network covering the whole of Europe. At a cost of 1 million Euros per kilometer the extension of the European pipeline network is already a multi billion Euro business. Therefore, automatic planning tools that support the decision process are desired. We model the topology extension problem in gas networks by a mixed-integer nonlinear program (MINLP). This gives rise to a so-called active transmission problem, a continuous nonlinear non-convex feasibility problem which emerges from the MINLP model by ﬁxing all integral variables. In this article we offer novel sufficient conditions for proving the infeasibility of this active transmission problem. These conditions can be expressed in the form of a mixed-integer program (MILP), i.e., the infeasibility of a non-convex NLP can be certiﬁed by solving an MILP. These results provide an efficient bounding procedure in a branch-and-bound algorithm. Our computational results demonstrate a substantial speed-up for the necessary computations.

We consider a nonlinear nonconvex network design problem that arises, for example, in natural gas or water transmission networks. Given is such a network with active and passive components, that is, valves, compressors, control valves (active) and pipelines (passive), and a desired amount of flow at certain specified entry and exit nodes in the network. The active elements are associated with costs when used. Besides flow conservation constraints in the nodes, the flow must fulfill nonlinear nonconvex pressure loss constraints on the arcs subject to potential values (i.e., pressure levels) in both end nodes of each arc. The problem is to compute a cost minimal setting of the active components and numerical values for the flow and node potentials. We examine different (convex) relaxations for a subproblem of the design problem and benefit from them within a branch-and-bound approach. We compare different approaches based on nonlinear optimization numerically on a set of test instances.

One-quarter of Europe’s energy demand is provided by natural gas distributed through a vast pipeline network covering the whole of Europe. At a cost of 1 million Euros per kilometer the extension of the European pipeline network is already a multi-billion Euro business. Therefore, automatic planning tools that support the decision process are desired. We model the topology optimization problem in gas networks by a mixed-integer nonlinear program (MINLP). This gives rise to a so-called active transmission problem, a continuous nonlinear non-convex feasibility problem which emerges from the MINLP model by fixing all integral variables. We offer novel sufficient conditions for proving the infeasibility of this active transmission problem. These conditions can be expressed in the form of a mixed-integer program (MILP), i.e., the infeasibility of a non-convex continuous nonlinear program (NLP) can be certified by solving an MILP. This result provides an efficient pruning procedure in a branch-and-bound algorithm. Our computational results demonstrate a substantial speedup for the necessary computations.

Perspectives
(2015)

Die mittel- und längerfristige Planung für den Gastransport hat sich durch
Änderungen in den regulatorischen Rahmenbedingungen stark verkompliziert.
Kernpunkt ist die Trennung von Gashandel und -transport. Dieser Artikel
diskutiert die hieraus resultierenden mathematischen Planungsprobleme,
welche als Validierung von Nominierungen und Buchungen, Bestimmung der
technischen Kapazität und Topologieplanung bezeichnet werden. Diese
mathematischen Optimierungsprobleme werden vorgestellt und Lösungsansätze
skizziert.

The development of mathematical simulation and optimization models and algorithms for solving gas transport problems is an active field of research. In order to test and compare these models and algorithms, gas network instances together with demand data are needed. The goal of GasLib is to provide a set of publicly available gas network instances that can be used by researchers in the field of gas transport. The advantages are that researchers save time by using these instances and that different models and algorithms can be compared on the same specified test sets. The library instances are encoded in an XML format. In this paper, we explain this format and present the instances that are available in the library.