Novel process optimization based on machine learning: A study on biohydrogen production from waste resources

Tao Shi, Jianzhao Zhou, Yousaf Ayub, Sara Toniolo, Jingzheng Ren (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The biomass poultry litter and sewage sludge co-gasification is a good thermochemical method to produce hydrogen energy meanwhile to mitigate the consumption of fossil fuels. However, the operation optimization in the complex process system is important while computationally difficult because of high nonlinearity and many first-principle constraints. To address the optimization of this biohydrogen production process, a methodology framework for achieving the optimal operations is thus presented. The complete process system is first simulated and decomposed into upstream gasification process and downstream hydrogen purification for reducing computational complexity through the thermodynamic equilibrium-based simulation. Totally 1400 data points by pairing total 15 operating conditions with a composite sustainability index objective are generated through the random sampling and data classification strategies, which are then used for the construction of the artificial neural network (ANN)-based prediction models. ANN models of two subprocesses demonstrate the satisfactory prediction accuracy with R2 value of 0.98 and 0.99, respectively, which are then integrated with mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) for the optimization of upstream process and downstream process step-by-step. The MILP problems based on the ANN models are solved with lower optimization time of 45∼100 s compared to the heuristic algorithm optimization (3–6 h) based on the thermodynamic equilibrium-based simulation. The optimal sustainability index values of two processes are 0.80 and 0.91 which are both improved compared to the existing optimization results (0.79 and 0.84). This study emphasizes the optimization potential of the integration approach of machine learning-based modelling and mathematical programming for developing the optimal waste-to-energy processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107222
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Biohydrogen
  • Co-gasification
  • Machine learning
  • Process optimization
  • Sewage sludge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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