EURO Excellence in Practice Award 2016

The winners of the 2016 EURO Excellence in Practice Award are:

Thorsten Koch, Benjamin Hiller, Marc E. Pfetsch, Lars Schewe, Dagmar Bargmann, Mirko Ebbers, Armin Fügenschuh, Björn Geißler, Ralf Gollmer, Uwe Gotzes, Christine Hayn, Nina Heinecke, Holger Heitsch, René Henrion, Jesco Humpola, Imke Joormann, Veronika Kühl, Thomas Lehmann, Ralf Lenz, Hernan Leövey, Alexander Martin, Radoslava Mirkov, Andris Möller, Antonio Morsi, Antje Pelzer, Werner Römisch, Jessica Rövekamp, Martin Schmidt, Rüdiger Schultz, Robert Schwarz, Jonas Schweiger, Klaus Spreckelsen, Claudia Stangl, Marc C. Steinbach, Isabel Wegner-Specht, Bernhard M. Willert

Evaluating Gas Network Capacities

In 2009 Open Grid Europe (OGE, at that time E.ON Gastransport) Germanys largest Transmission System Operator (TSO) initiated the ForNe project (in German “Forschungskooperation Netzwerkoptimierung”) due to the new challenging problems resulting from the liberalization of the gas market. Over decades, gas transport had been more or less steady state with long-term delivery contracts and weather forecast predictable demands. Now, demand and supply change on a daily basis and are triggered by market prices, not by security of supply. Nevertheless, a TSO like OGE has to guarantee the latter, having only little influence on the trading process. These facts result in enormously challenging problems simultaneously including uncertainties, dynamical aspects, and feasibility questions. Mathematically, these problems lead to stochastic mixed-integer non-linear non-convex optimization problems including PDE and ODE constraints.
The research part of the project run until 2015 and and it was necessary to bring together expertise in mixed-integer programming, non-linear programming, mixed-integer non-linear programming, stochastics, simulation, gas physics, network planning, law and regulations. The project involved about 40 people from OGE, five universities, and two research institutes. The whole team developed new mathematical models and methods, provided new theoretical insights into this kind of problems that lead to a completely new methodology for validating booked capacities, a task at the core of OGE's business operations. This cutting edge research was turned into a software system, bringing it directly into the workplace of the company. This software is now maintained and further developed by two university spin-offs working closely together with OGE's IT-department.
To the best of our knowledge, the ForNe project was for the first time able to solve real-world mixed-integer non-linear non-convex optimization problems with tens of thousands of binary and continuous variables. This is a break-through in computational mixed-integer non-linear programming and will have influence on many other areas where OR and engineering aspects come together. The results of this research project are documented in the book “Evaluating Gas Network Capacities” published in 2015 in the SIAM-MOS Series on Optimization, in nine PhD theses and several publications.

 

The EEPA 2016 jury consisted of Ton G. de Kok (chair), Ulrich Dorndorf, Erik Demeulemeester, Marco Laumanns, and Markus Bohlin.

The award was presented at the closing session of the EURO 2016 Conference in Poznań (Poland).



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