A Multi-Objective Optimization Approach for Water–Energy–Food Grids in Isolated Communities

  • Xaté Geraldine Sánchez-Zarco
  • Brenda Cansino-Loeza
  • José María Ponce-OrtegaEmail author
Original Research Paper


This paper evaluates the applicability of different multi-objective optimization methods such as goal programming, weighted sum, and epsilon constraint in a polygeneration system. The problem under study aims to meet the water, energy, and food demands in an isolated community. The model includes three fundamental objectives, which are the maximization of the economic benefit, the minimization of the greenhouse gas emissions, and the minimization of freshwater consumption. Because the objectives are in conflict, it is necessary to implement strategies that allow to obtain trade-off solutions. To show the applicability of the proposed approach, a case study for the community of Mexico with the lowest human development index is presented. The results show feasible solutions for satisfying the needs of the community considering the trade-offs of the different objectives, with the goal programming method the one that provides the most attractive solution except for the economic objective, unlike the Epsilon Constraint method that provides the best solutions with respect to the economic objective.


Optimization Process integration Isolated communities Simulation Multi-objective problems 



greenhouse gas emissions associated to the anaerobic digestion plant


greenhouse gas emissions associated to the cogeneration units


greenhouse gas emissions associated to the gasification plant


greenhouse gas emissions associated to the incineration plant


greenhouse gas emissions associated to the pelletization plant


greenhouse gas emissions associated to the pyrolysis plant


sales of animals


Sales of biogas


sales of crops


sales of natural gas


sales of pyrolysis oil


sales of pellets


sales of recyclable wastes


total annual cost


flow of freshwater sent to the thermal storage tank


surplus value over the goal for profits


remaining value to achieve an objective goal for profits


surplus value over the goal for freshwater


remaining value to achieve an objective goal for freshwater


surplus value over the goal for greenhouse gas emissions


remaining value to achieve an objective goal for greenhouse gas emissions


weight for profits


weight for freshwater


weight for greenhouse gas emissions


minimum for freshwater


maximum for freshwater


minimum for greenhouse gas emissions


maximum for greenhouse gas emissions


minimum for profits


maximum for profits


value of the objective function profits


value of the objective function freshwater


value of the objective function greenhouse gas emissions


Funding information

This study was financial supported by the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical Engineering DepartmentUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico

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