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Averaging level control in the presence of frequent inlet flow upsets
Linköping University, Department of Electrical Engineering, Automatic Control. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Buffer tanks are widely used within the process industry to prevent flow variations from being directly propagated throughout a plant. The capacity of the tank is used to smoothly transfer inlet flow upsets to the outlet. Ideally, the tank thus works as a low pass filter where the available tank capacity limits the achievable flow smoothing.

For infrequently occurring upsets, where the system has time to reach steady state between flow changes, the averaging level control problem has been extensively studied. After an inlet flow change, flow filtering has traditionally been obtained by letting the tank level deviate from its nominal value while slowly adapting the outlet to cancel out the flow imbalance and eventually bringing back the level to its set-point. The system is then again in steady state and ready to surge the next upset. By ensuring that the single largest upset can be handled without violating the level constraints, satisfactory flow smoothing is obtained.

In this thesis, the smoothing of frequently changing inlet flows is addressed. In this case, standard level controllers struggle to obtain acceptable flow smoothing since the system rarely is in steady state and flow upsets can thus not be treated as separate events. To obtain a control law that achieves optimal filtering while directly accounting for future upsets, the averaging level control problem was approached using robust model predictive control (MPC).

The robust MPC differs in the way it obtains flow smoothing by not returning the tank level to a fixed set-point. Instead, it lets the steady state tank level depend on the current value of the inlet flow. This insight was then used to propose a linear control structure, designed to filter frequent upsets optimally. Analyses and simulation results indicate that the proposed linear and robust MPC controller obtain flow smoothing comparable to the standard optimal averaging level controllers for infrequent upsets while handling frequent upsets considerably better.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 103 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1527
Keyword [en]
Averaging level control, PI control, Surge tanks, Optimal control, Robust MPC, Process control
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77049Local ID: LiU-TEK-LIC-2012:12ISBN: 978-91-7519-919-1OAI: diva2:524729
2012-05-25, Visionen, Hus B, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-05-08 Created: 2012-05-03 Last updated: 2012-05-08Bibliographically approved

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