|Ph.D.,||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,||(2015)|
My research focus is on development of first principles based dynamic models for chemical processes and designing advanced process control techniques for these processes. My PhD research deals with modeling and control of reactive distillation processes involving significant disturbances.
One particular reactive distillation process that is the focus of my study is benzene hydrogenation. Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that occurs in untreated gasoline. Being a carcinogen, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all refiners to limit the amount of benzene in gasoline to 0.62 vol%. One way to treat benzene is to hydrogenate in presence of a catalyst. However, a problem arises as the catalyst used for the reaction is not selective for benzene, and toluene, which is present in the reformate stream in considerable quantities, will also be hydrogenated. Toluene hydrogenation is undesirable as toluene has a high octane rating and should be retained in the final product. Reactive Distillation offers an efficient method to overcome this problem.
I have developed a first principles dynamic model in gPROMS and tested different control techniques to reduce the effects of disturbances. I have investigated the performance of multi-loop IMC based control techniques and model predictive control (MPC) methods.