Modeling and control of multicomponent distillation systems separating highly non-ideal mixtures
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This research work presents the results from steady-state and dynamic testing of an azeotropic distillation system of methanol, normal pentane and cyclohexane. Steady-state equilibrium and non-equilibrium models for azeotropic distillation were developed and validated with experimental data from a packed distillation unit configured at finite reflux. Dynamic multicomponent distillation experiments were also carried out and experimental process data were collected using the pilot scale experimental set-up. The approach presented in this work linked the physically-based process dynamic model with the control software used in the process, using HYSYS online. Two model parameters, dynamic efficiency and column heat transfer viii coefficient, were estimated online using a feedback configuration to match the process and model outputs. The fundamental dynamic model was successfully used in the implementation of different control strategies via a novel inferential control strategy using HYSYS to treat missing process measurements. Two different variable pairings were studied and the results from individual control loop configurations were compared with a multivariable control strategy using model predictive control (MPC) software Predict Pro.