A novel back-up control structure to manage nonroutine steam upsets in industrial methanol distillation columns

Isuru A. Udugama, Cornina Zander, Seyed Soheil Mansouri, Robert Kirkpatrick, Wei Yu, Brent R. Younga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Industrial methanol production plants have extensive heat integration to achieve energy efficient operations where steam generated from these heat integration operations are used to provide reboiler duty for methanol distillation columns that purify crude methanol produced into industrial AA grade methanol at a relatively high rate of product recovery. As such, fluctuation in steam supply due to non-routine process changes can lead to result in off specification distillation operations which results insignificant economic losses. This work has investigated and identified the causes and consequences of these steam flow disturbances and developed two backup control structures to operate the distillation columns within specification during steam flow disturbances. One of the new control structures is based on model predictive control (MPC), while the other is a PID-based control structure with a novel supervisory layer to control the column during these non-routine process upsets. These control schemes were tested against realistic reboiler duty disturbances that can occur in an industrial process. The tests revealed that both the MPC and supervisory systems control structures are able to regulate the process, even during sudden drops in reboiler duty. However, the cost of implementation and the relative simplicity will likely favour the implementation of the supervisory control structure in an industrial environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE 27)
EditorsAntonio Espuña, Moisès Graells, Luis Puigjaner
Volume40
PublisherElsevier
Publication date2017
Edition1
Pages1597-1602
ISBN (Print)9780444639653
ISBN (Electronic)9780444639707
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 1 Oct 20175 Oct 2017
Conference number: 27
https://www.elsevier.com/books/27th-european-symposium-on-computer-aided-process-engineering/espuna/978-0-444-63965-3

Conference

Conference27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering
Number27
CountrySpain
CityBarcelona
Period01/10/201705/10/2017
Internet address

Keywords

  • Distillation column
  • Industrial methanol production
  • MPC
  • Supervisory control

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