This paper deals with the optimal control (OC) in the space domain of (bio-)chemical reactors. As an example, the determination of optimal heat exchanger temperature profiles of exothermic tubular reactors under the assumption of steady-state and plug flow characteristics is investigated. To enable a trade-off between process performance and energy loss a weighted cost criterion is defined. Application of the Minimum Principle of Pontryagin leads to extremal control profile structures which are very similar to those obtained during optimization (in the time domain) of well mixed bioreactors. The latter problem has been analyzed in detail over the last two decades. The analogy is reflected at various levels during analytical optimal control computations. (C) 2002 IMACS. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.