# A Comparison between Several Response Surface Methodology Designs and a Neural Network Model to Optimise the Oxidation Conditions of a Lignocellulosic Blend

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Physical Chemistry Area, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain

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Chemical Engineering Area, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain

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Analytical Chemistry Area, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain

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Electrical Engineering Area, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain

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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received: 12 April 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 17 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Analysis in Biomolecular Research, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology with Complex Networks and Multi-Label Machine Learning Models)

In this paper, response surface methodology (RSM) designs and an artificial neural network (ANN) are used to obtain the optimal conditions for the oxy-combustion of a corn–rape blend. The ignition temperature (T

_{e}) and burnout index (D_{f}) were selected as the responses to be optimised, while the CO_{2}/O_{2}molar ratio, the total flow, and the proportion of rape in the blend were chosen as the influencing factors. For the RSM designs, complete, Box–Behnken, and central composite designs were performed to assess the experimental results. By applying the RSM, it was found that the principal effects of the three factors were statistically significant to compute both responses. Only the interactions of the factors on D_{f}were successfully described by the Box–Behnken model, while the complete design model was adequate to describe such interactions on both responses. The central composite design was found to be inadequate to describe the factor interactions. Nevertheless, the three methods predicted the optimal conditions properly, due to the cancellation of net positive and negative errors in the mathematical adjustment. The ANN presented the highest regression coefficient of all methods tested and needed only 20 experiments to reach the best predictions, compared with the 32 experiments needed by the best RSM method. Hence, the ANN was found to be the most efficient model, in terms of good prediction ability and a low resource requirement. Finally, the optimum point was found to be a CO_{2}/O_{2}molar ratio of 3.3, a total flow of 108 mL/min, and 61% of rape in the biomass blend.*Keywords:*oxy-combustion; biomass; factorial design; Monte Carlo; optimisation; neural network