DFG Research Collaboration
"Optimization Based Control of Chemical Processes"
DFG Forschergruppe "Optimierungsbasierte Regelung verfahrenstechnischer Prozesse"
The collaborative research project includes four German research
groups in the areas of control and process engineering and numerical
mathematics. It focuses on development of new methods for optimization
based control, or nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC), of chemical
The basic idea of this approach is a prediction and
optimization of future process behaviour (using a mathematical model),
and the implementation of the optimized process inputs at the real
plant for a short time. Then, a new optimization is performed
based on new measurements.
Among the advantages of this approach to process control are the
flexibility provided in formulating the objective and the process
model, the capability to directly handle equality and inequality
constraints, and the possibility to deal efficiently with
nonlinearities during plant start-up, transients, or during batch
It is in addition the availability of detailed
nonlinear process models -- that are increasingly being used for the
design of industrial processes -- which promises to make NMPC an
appealing alternative to conventional control.
Though considerable theoretical and practical progress has been
achieved in the last years, several problems need still to be
addressed: among these are the efficient numerical solution of the
resulting optimization problems for large scale systems, online
estimation of system state and parameters, and treatment of uncertainties.
In the framework of the collaborative research project based on four
combined DFG-research proposals, these open problems are adressed with
the aim to result in practicable solutions in particular for process
engineering applications. Theory and method development will be driven
by two application problems, a chromatographic separation process and a
waste water treatment plant.
The combined DFG-project started at July 1, 2003.
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