A STOCHASTIC PROGRAMMING APPROACH FOR SOLAR SALT PRODUCTION PROCESS OPTIMISATION
The solar salt mining process involves collecting salt water from the sea and trapping it in an interlinked network of shallow ponds where the sun evaporates most of the water. As soon as the brine reaches its saturation point, salt crystallisation occurs. Several factors influence this mining process, each with a degree of variability that results in a risk factor owing to uncertainty. This study proposes a two-stage stochastic programming model, called ‘a recourse model’, that maximises salt crystallisation while providing solutions that are hedges against uncertainty. First, the theoretical background on optimisation theory is provided, followed by an overview of the mining processes. Second, the recourse model is verified and validated using historical data and comparing the results with its deterministic counterpart. The main contribution of this study is the formulation of the recourse model and the value that this approach adds when dealing with uncertainty in any decision-making process.
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