This work develops a dynamic, first principles-based model of a reactive distillation column used for benzene hydrogenation of a reformate stream and investigates different control structures for this process. The model is used initially to develop and evaluate a feedback control strategy which provides good regulatory performance for small disturbances, however, it tends to be sluggish for significant disturbances in the feed composition. In order to address this point, adding a feedforward controller to the feedback structure has also been investigated. However, the feedforward controller can only be implemented if composition measurements of the feed are taken. As online composition measurements are expensive in practice, several different scenarios have been investigated where samples of the feed are taken and subsequently analyzed in a lab, as represented by measurement time delays. Simulation results show that adding feedforward control to the feedback scheme can be very beneficial for this process, however, this is only the case if the composition disturbance measurements do not involve a significant time delay.
Journal of Process Control 24, No. 3, pp. 113-124 (2014)