Entropy generation minimization: The new thermodynamics of finite-size devices and finite-time processes
Entropy generation minimization (finite time thermodynamics, or thermodynamic optimization) is the method that combines into simple models the most basic concepts of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. These simple models are used in the optimization of real (irreversible) devices and processes, subject to finite-size and finite-time constraints. The review traces the development and adoption of the method in several sectors of mainstream thermal engineering and science: cryogenics, heat transfer, education, storage systems, solar power plants, nuclear and fossil power plants, and refrigerators. Emphasis is placed on the fundamental and technological importance of the optimization method and its results, the pedagogical merits of the method, and the chronological development of the field.