A multi-objective coal inventory management model using Monte Carlo computer simulation

Brits, Ryno ; Bekker, James (2016)

CITATION: Brits, R. & Bekker, J. 2016. A multi-objective coal inventory management model using Monte Carlo computer simulation. South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, 27(3):215-226, doi:10.7166/27-4-1560.

The original publication is available at http://sajie.journals.ac.za

Article

The ability of a coal-fired power station to meet its generation targets is influenced by periods of coal shortage. In this article, we propose a multi-objective inventory model to assist with the management of coal stockpiles. The model is applicable to power utilities with a network of two or more coal-fired power stations. The aim is to determine the near-optimal amount of coal inventory to stockpile at each station in the network. A Monte Carlo coal stockpile simulator is used to incorporate stochastic uncertainty into the stockpile levels, while a metaheuristic uses the simulator as an estimator of two objective functions. The metaheuristic finds good values for the coal stockpile level at each power station in the network. The algorithm for multi-objective optimisation using the cross-entropy method is proposed as a suitable metaheuristic. A hypothetical case study is used to validate the inventory model and to showcase the optimisation results.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vermoë van ’n steenkool-aangedrewe kragsentrale om sy opwekkingteikens te bereik word beïnvloed deur periodes van ’n steenkooltekort. In hierdie artikel stel ons ’n meerdoelige voorraadmodel voor om te help met die bestuur van steenkoolvoorraad. Die model is van toepassing op elektrisiteitsverskaffers met ’n netwerk van twee of meer steenkoolaangedrewe kragsentrales. Die doel is om die naby-optimale steenkoolvoorraadvlak te bepaal wat by elke kragsentrale in die netwerk gestoor moet word. ’n Monte Carlo steenkool voorraad-simulator word gebruik om stogastiese onsekerheid in die steenkoolverbruik te inkorporeer, terwyl ’n metaheuristiek die simulator gebruik as ’n beramer vir twee doelfunksies. Die metaheuristiek vind goeie waardes vir steenkoolvlakke by elke kragsentrale in die leweringsnetwerk. Die algoritme vir meerdoelige optimering met die kruis-entropie metode word voorgestel as ’n geskikte metaheuristiek. ’n Hipotetiese gevallestudie word gebruik om die voorraadmodel te valideer en optimeringsresultate te toon.

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