Control and Real-Time Optimisation of Intensive Po.. (COOPOL)
Control and Real-Time Optimisation of Intensive Polymerisation Processes
Start date: Mar 1, 2012,
End date: Feb 28, 2015
Transition of processing industries towards a more sustainable model of manufacturing is one of key priority topics for European Research Area. This transition requires adoption of novel reactor technologies, greener reactions and the increase in the use of intelligent systems in processing industries. The latter means improving processes through use of real-time information and ability to affect processes in real time. The long-term vision of COOPOL is to develop new methods and tools for modeling and control, based on real-time sensing, which will facilitate the development of a new paradigm of processes: intensive, low-impact, sustainable chemical technologies. The COOPOL consortium is focusing on one of the key areas of interest to European Chemical Industries, namely the polymer industry. Within the chemicals sector polymer production plays a significant role, with European market share of 25% and providing employment to 1.6 million people within EU27.Many polymer products are manufactured using batch and semi-batch reactors. In most cases the process parameters, such as temperature profile, feeds, etc follow a specific time schedule, which has been fixed after an expensive period of product and process development. This tight recipe schedule is sensitive against disturbances e.g., unexpected variation in operating conditions, variation in feed purity etc., which inevitably leads to variations in polymer structure and to inter-batch variability and off-spec products. Furthermore, the use of empirically determined recipes with fixed-time controls does not allow intensification of the process which requires time-varying feeds and reactor temperature to run the reaction faster and hence closer to its limits, and also to switching from a semi-batch to other reactor or process types.COOPOL addresses the complex issues of real-time process control based on advanced models and on-line sensors, to develop a generic basis for widely applicable sustainable intensified processes. COOPOL will develop a new process control approach, linking molecular level information and understanding of the reaction chemistry with real-time sensing, rigorous modeling based on first principles, subsequent model reduction and non-linear model-predictive control (NMPC) with economic objectives, called dynamic real-time optimisation (DRTO). The approach of COOPOL is to develop robust real-time optimisation-based control and sensing methodologies and through their application to achieve, in parallel, the intensification of (i) the existing processes, and (ii) the development of novel intensive ‘smart-scale’ processes. The approach of COOPOL will deliver significant advance in the state-of-the-art in model-based predictive control and at the same time produce tangible and exploitable benefits for European industry in the short, medium and long-term.
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