Equation-oriented modeling, simulation, and optimization of integrated and intensified process and energy systems

Pattison, Richard C.
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Process intensification, defined as unconventional design and/or operation of processes that results in substantial performance improvements, represents a promising route toward reducing capital and operating expenses in the chemical/petrochemical process industry, while simultaneously achieving improved safety and environmental performance. In this dissertation, intensification is approached from three different angles: reactor design and control, process flowsheet design and optimization, and production scheduling and control. In the first part of the dissertation, three novel concepts for improving the controllability of intensified microchannel reactors are introduced. The first concept is a latent energy storage-based temperature controller, where a phase change material is confined within the walls of an autothermal reactor to improve local temperature control. The second concept is a segmented catalyst layer which modulates the rate of heat generation and consumption along the length of an autothermal reactor. Finally, the third concept is a thermally actuated valve, which uses small-scale bimetallic strips to modulate flow in a microchannel reactor in response to temperature changes. The second part of the dissertation introduces a novel framework for equation-oriented flowsheet modeling, simulation and optimization. The framework consists of a pseudo-transient reformulation of the steady-state material and energy balance equations of process unit operations as differential-algebraic equation (DAE) systems that are statically equivalent to the original model. I show that these pseudo-transient models improve the convergence properties of equation-oriented process flowsheet simulations by expanding the convergence basin in comparison to conventional steady state equation-oriented simulators. A library of pseudo-transient unit operation models is developed, and several case studies are presented. Models for more complex unit operations such as a pseudo-transient multistream heat exchanger and a dividing-wall distillation column are later introduced, and can easily be included in the flowsheet optimization framework. In the final part of the dissertation, a paradigm for calculating the optimal production schedule in a fast changing market situation is introduced. This is accomplished by including a model of the dynamics of a process and its control system into production scheduling calculations. The scheduling-relevant dynamic models are constructed to be of lower order than a detailed dynamic process model, while capturing the closed-loop behavior of a set of scheduling-relevant variables. Additionally, a method is given for carrying out these production scheduling calculations online and in "closed scheduling loop,"' i.e., recalculating scheduling decisions upon the advent of scheduling-relevant process or market events. An air separation unit operating in a demand response scenario is used as a representative case study.