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Process Systems Design CH3801

Process control

Adrie Huesman

Version 28 November 2007

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Delft Center for Systems and Control

Introduction I

• About me:
• 1984 – 1990 Student Chemical Technology (Delft University of
Technology).
• 1990 – 1996 Control technologist for Shell Nederland at
Pernis.
• 1996 – 1999 Senior control technologist for Shell Singapore at
Pulau Bukom.
• 1999 – now Assistant professor with DCSC, current research
area is “Economic dynamic process optimization”.

• Personal webpage: http://www.dcsc.tudelft.nl/~ahuesman/

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Introduction II

• Content
1. Design and operation.
2. Safety.
3. Process and instrumentation diagrams.

4. Plantwide control
a. Degrees of freedom.
b. Objectives.
c. Decomposition.

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Introduction III

• Content (continued)
4. Plantwide control
d. Production rate control.
e. Standard quality schemes.
f. Recycles.
g. Procedure.
h. Example.

• Course scope limited to mainly continuous processes.

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Design and operation I

• Plant design means defining:


1. the process.
2. the operation (control).

• In practice this is done in three sequential stages:

1. Operation mode

2. Process design

3. Control design

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Design and operation II

• Note that the process design is done before the control design.
This facilitates the control design; the process dynamics can be
used as a starting point for the control design. However the
process dynamics can severely limit the controlled behavior.

• The process and control design deal with different DOF’s:

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Design and operation III

• Often a lot of attention is directed to process design (because it


determines capital costs).

• However for a continuous plant two to three years is spent on


the design while it is operated for 20 years!
• During design money is spent, only by operating the plant
money is earned.

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Design and operation IV

• There are two operation modes:


1. Batch; the product flow is discontinuous.
2. Continuous; the product flow is continuous.

• Note that in a batch process the product flow frequently drops to


zero while in a continuous process it never drops to zero.

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Design and operation V

• This implies that a batch process at least accumulates product.


So it can never reach a steady state (a batch process is always
in transition). A continuous process can reach one or multiple
steady states.

• The control design for a batch process boils down to the


automation of a recipe (discrete control) while for a continuous
process it means maintaining one or more operating points.

• The functionality of a batch control system is often described by


Sequential Function Charts (SFC’s).

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Design and operation VI

Initialize, set V1 and


state 0 V3 to 0%, set V2 to
100%. Start timer1.
transition timer1 > 90 s.
Filling, set V1 to
1 100%. Set V2 and V3
to 0%.
LT > 80%.
Heating, set V1 and
2 V2 to 0%. Set V3 to
100%.
TT > 60 oC.

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Design and operation VII

Advantages Disadvantages

Batch Flexible Lower safety


Low capital cost Lower efficiency

Continuous High efficiency Not flexible


High safety High capital cost

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Safety I

• Operational definition of safety:

No uncontrolled loss of process inventory

• How safety is achieved:


1. Inherent safety. Thickness of vessels, columns etc. ensures
containment.
2. Safety Relief Valves (SRV). At high pressures controlled blow
down to safe location.
3. Instrument Protective functions (IPF). At high pressures,
temperatures etc. perform a (partial) shutdown (trip).

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Safety II
cooling
water
safe
PC
location
SRV

IPF
PZ

steam

SRV Pinherent > PSRV > PIPF > Pcontrol


• Note that control does not guarantee safety* (but rather
supports it).
* Not always true for batch operation.

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Process and instrumentation diagrams I

• A PI&D makes use of “standard” control valve

symbols. The standard varies column


control valve

per location… fail close

• It should be noted that a P&ID control valve


fail open

is a “marriage” between a flow


sheet and a block diagram; so it vessel
AB
nn
instrument or
control function
with process

contains flows and signals. connection

Flows are indicated by solid pump AB


nn
instrument or
control function

lines, signals by broken lines. signal line

compressor or
turbine

heat exchanger

process line

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Process and instrumentation diagrams II
• The letter-number combination “ABnn” is called a tag. The first
letter specifies the process variable type, the second the function.

First letter Variable Second letter Function


F Flow A Alarm
L Level C Control
P Pressure S Switching
T Temperature T Transmitting
Q Quality Y Calculation
X Other Z (or E) IPF

• So LA stands for level alarm and FC for flow controller. The


number serves to differentiate between similar letter
combinations; for example FC1 from FC2.
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Process and instrumentation diagrams III

• Standard feedback control is normally done by Proportional


Integral Derivative (PID) controllers…

SP FC OP

PV
t
KC d (SP − PV )
OP = K C (SP − PV ) +
τI ∫ (SP − PV ) dt + K τ
0
C D
dt

• The Process Value (PV, measured value) is driven to the


SetPoint (SP, reference) by manipulating the OutPut (OP,
typically a valve position).

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Process and instrumentation diagrams IV

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Degrees of freedom

• The Degrees Of Freedom (DOF) are the (remaining) number of


equations that are needed to calculate the dependent variables:

DOF = Number of Variables (NV) – Number of Equations* (NE).

1. DOF = 0; exactly specified → simulation.


2. DOF > 0; under specified → control/optimization.
3. DOF < 0; over specified → something is wrong.

• The DOF also equal the number of inputs (typically flows that
can be manipulated). This is a more robust way to determine the
DOF since NV and NE are large while the DOF are small.
* Independent equations.
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Objectives

• The objectives of a plantwide control system are:


1. Satisfy operational constraints.
2. Maintain production rate and product quality.
3. Improve economics (e.g. minimize operational costs).

• The objectives are mentioned in the order of economic


importance (1. being most important).

• The second objective leads to a decomposition of the overall


design problem into:
1. one production rate control system and
2. various quality control systems.

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Decomposition

• The decomposition clarifies the most common interaction in any


process system; between production rate and quality.
• For example in the plant below a change in the production rate
will affect the quality of the flows F1 and F2.

• A standard way to deal with this interaction is to make production


rate changes slow; so the various quality control systems get
more time to cope with a production rate change. In practice SP
changes of the production rate controller are filtered or ramped.

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Production rate control I

• For production rate control there are at least two possibilities…

• The upper one is called a push scheme, the lower one a pull
scheme. Note that the level controllers automatically propagate
the production rate through the plant.
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Production rate control II

• The pull scheme has several inherent disadvantages:


1. Larger variability in the product quality loops.
2. Larger surge capacity requirements.
3. Control loops are more interacting and difficult to tune.
4. Stronger non-linear behavior.
5. More switching of loop pairing when flowsheet changes
occur.

• Therefore normally a push scheme is preferred. However if


product storage is difficult or even impossible (utilities!) a pull
scheme is used.

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Standard quality schemes

• The quality of F1 and F2 still needs to be controlled. These two


qualities are not interactive since unit operation 1 and 2 are
different (say a reactor respectively a separator).
• This is done by standard quality control schemes; such a
scheme shows how to control the quality of a particular unit
operation. The production rate is treated as an unmeasured or
measured disturbance…

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Recycles I

• An aspect that has been neglected until now is the presence of


one or more recycles (material and/or heat).

• Depending on its size a recycle can slow down plantwide


dynamics considerably. So be conservative with large recycles.

• From a system point of view this slow down can be explained by


the fact that a recycle introduces positive feedback. An
explanation from a process of view would be that the same flow
is passed through the same dynamics several times.

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Recycles II

• A tank plus recycle example; F3=9

from the comp. balances:


10C A1 = 9C A2 + C A0
dC A2 V=constant
V = 10C A1 − 10C A2 F =1,C F1=10,CA1 F2=10,CA2
dt 0 AO

V dC A2
⇒ vessel : + C A2 = C A1
10 dt
dC A2
⇒ total : V + C A 2 = C A0
dt
dy
Remember that : τ + y = Ku
dt
⇒ τ vessel = V / 10 and τ total = V
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Procedure

• The various insights have led to plantwide control design


procedures like the one below:
1. Determine control objectives
2. Determine DOF
3. Develop a production rate control system
4. Develop quality control schemes
5. Minimize the operating costs
6. Do simple checks
7. Simulate
8. Evaluate

• The first 4 steps will be explained by means of an example.

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Example I

• The flowsheet shows a simplified formaldehyde process. This


process is based on the dehydrogenation and partial oxidation of
methanol:
CH 3OH ↔ CH 2 O + H 2 ∆H 0298 = 85 kJ
CH 3OH + 0.5O 2 → CH 2 O + H 2 O ∆H 0298 = −158 kJ

• The first reaction partly consumes the heat of the second


reaction. Besides these two main reactions also side reactions
take place.

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Example II

• Fresh methanol is mixed with recycle methanol and evaporated in


A1 by means of steam. In A1 also air is added, care should be
taken that the mixture is outside the explosive limits. Steam is
added to the mixture and the total is heated to reaction
temperature in E1.

• The reaction is catalyzed by a shallow bed (1 - 5 cm) of silver


catalyst (upper part of R1). The hot (around 600 °C) products
are cooled to 145 °C in a waste heat boiler generating steam
(lower part of R1). The operating pressure of R1 should be
around 1.5 bar.

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Example III

• The gases are cooled further to 100 °C against cooling water in


E2 and led to absorber C1. In the absorber formaldehyde,
methanol and water go to the bottom while the light components
(like nitrogen and hydrogen) are removed over the top.

• The bottoms of C1 are fed to distillation column C2 that


separates methanol from the formaldehyde solution. The
methanol is recycled back to A1.

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Example IV

• It should be noted that:


1. The maximum temperature is limited by the excess of
methanol and the presence of steam in the feed. The ratio
recycled methanol/fresh methanol is in the range 0.25 - 0.50.
The conversion of oxygen in R1 is complete.
2. The distillation column operates at a reflux ratio of 2.0.
3. The process produces between 75 and 150 tons of
formaldehyde solution per day. The formaldehyde solution
produced should contain >50.0% formaldehyde, <1.0%
methanol and <49.0% water.

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Example V
Number Equipment Description Remarks
16 Objectives
1 Plantwide Production rate Directly proportional to air
2 A1 Ratio air/methanol Related to maximum temperature
3 A1 Ratio steam/methanol Related to maximum temperature
4 A1 Level
5 E1 Outlet temperature Reaction temperature
6 R1 Pressure 1.5 bar
7 R1 Outlet temperature 145 °C
8 E2 Outlet temperature 100 °C
9 C1 Level bottom
10 C1 Pressure
11 C1 Ratio water/feed Related to quality bottom
12 C2 Pressure
13 C2 Level top
14 C2 Level bottom
15 C2 Ratio reflux/feed Related to quality top
16 C2 Ratio steam/feed Related to quality bottom

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