Intelligent Parameter Adaptation for Chemical Processes

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Virginia Tech

Reducing the operating costs of chemical processes is very beneficial in decreasing a company's bottom line numbers. Since chemical processes are usually run in steady-state for long periods of time, saving a few dollars an hour can have significant long term effects. However, the complexity involved in most chemical processes from nonlinear dynamics makes them difficult processes to optimize. A nonlinear, open-loop unstable system, called the Tennessee Eastman Chemical Process Control Problem, is used as a test-bed problem for minimization routines. A decentralized controller is first developed that stabilizes the plant to set point changes and disturbances.

Subsequently, a genetic algorithm calculates input parameters of the decentralized controller for minimum operating cost performance. Genetic algorithms use a directed search method based on the evolutionary principle of "survival of the fittest". They are powerful global optimization tools; however, they are typically computationally expensive and have long convergence times. To decrease the convergence time and avoid premature convergence to a local minimum solution, an auxiliary fuzzy logic controller was used to adapt the parameters of the genetic algorithm. The controller manipulates the input and output data through a set of linguistic IF-THEN rules to respond in a manner similar to human reasoning. The combination of a supervisory fuzzy controller and a genetic algorithm leads to near-optimum operating costs for a dynamically modeled chemical process.

Tennessee Eastman, decentralized process control, genetic algorithm, fuzzy logic