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Published June 1986 | public
Journal Article

Control system design for a fixed-bed methanation reactor


A systematic approach is applied to the design of robust controllers for a fixed-bed, non-adiabatic, laboratory methanation reactor, a unit inherently difficult to control. The fundamental limitations to the achievable closed-loop performance are established by both physical arguments and dynamic resilience considerations. The Internal Model Control (IMC) structure provides a suitable framework for this analysis. IMC controllers are designed and their performance in the face of model uncertainty is tested both by simulation and by means of the Structured Singular Value (μ) analysis technique. The paper provides a basic insight into the characterization and solution of control problems that are particular to fixed-bed reactor systems and constitutes the first account of the application of several recent advances in control theory to a complex chemical process.

Additional Information

© 1986 Published by Elsevier. We are grateful to D. E. Rivera, E. Zafiriou, S. Skogestad and J. C. Doyle for many useful discussions. Acknowledgment is made to the Donors of the Petroleum Research Fund, American Chemical Society, to the National Science Foundation (CBT-8615228) and to the Department of Energy for the support of this research.

Additional details

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