On-line periodic scheduling of hybrid chemical plants with parallel production lines and shared resources

by Simeonova, Iliyana

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis deals with chemical plants constituted by parallel batch-continuous production lines with shared resources. For such plants, it is highly desirable to have optimal operation schedules which determine the starting times of the various batch processes and the flow rates of the continuous processes in order to maximize the average plant productivity and to have a continuous production without interruptions. This optimization problem is constrained by the limitation of the resources that are shared by the reactors and by the capacities of the various devices that constitute the plant. Such plants are "hybrid" by nature because they combine both continuous-time dynamics and discrete-event dynamics. The formalism of "Hybrid Automata" is there fore well suited for the design of plant models. The first contribution of this thesis is the development of a hybrid automaton model of the chemical plant in the Matlab-Simulink-Stateflow environment and its use for the design of an optimal periodic schedule that maximises the plant productivity. Using a sensitivity analysis and the concept of Poincaré; map, it is shown that the optimal schedule is a stable limit cycle of the hybrid system that attracts the system trajectories starting in a wide set of initial conditions. The optimal periodic schedule is valid under the assumption that the hybrid model is an exact description of the plant. Under perturbations on the plant parameters, it is shown that two types of problems may arise. The first problem is a drift of the hybrid system trajectory which can either lead to a convergence to a new stable sub-optimal schedule or to a resource conflict. The second problem is a risk of overflow or underflow of the output buffer tank. The second contribution of the thesis is the analysis of feedback control strategies to avoid these problems. For the first problem, a control policy based on a model predictive control (MPC) approach is proposed to avoid resource conflicts. The feedback control is run on - line with the hybrid Simulink-Stateflow simulator used as an internal model. For the solution of the second problem, a classical PI control is used. The goal is not only to avoid over- or under-filling of the tank but also to reduce the amplitude of outflow rate variations as much as possible. A methodological analysis for the PI controller tuning is presented in order to achieve an acceptable trade-off between these conflicting objectives.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:hybrid process chemical plant shared resources simulator automaton limit cycle optimal periodic scheduling stability sensitivity analysis poincare map model predictive control proportional integral


Date of Publication:08/28/2008

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