The Application of a Model Predictive Control-Based Approach to CO2 Capture Processes: Towards Operational Cost Minimisation

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Amine-based chemisorption of CO2 is a promising near term option for the decarbonisation of large, fixed-point CO2 emission sources[1]. However, the operational expenditure (OPEX) associated with this technology imposes a significant energy penalty on the power plant. As it is the solvent which determines the thermodynamic and kinetic efficiency of the process, the design of advanced solvents provides a real opportunity to reduce the OPEX. Typically, when one refers to the dynamic operation of CCS-type processes, it is the transient behaviour of the start-up and shut-down of this process which is considered. However, the so-called steady-state operation of power-plants is itself dynamic, i.e., the flowrate, temperature and composition of the inlet flue-gas can vary in real time. Thus, a given solvent and mode of process operation which may be optimal for a particular operating regime, may be sub-optimal for another operating regime. Consequently, the implementation of advanced control strategies present an important opportunity for the intensification of these processes resulting in a significant reduction in the lifetime operational expenditure associated with CCS systems.

This work focuses on the design of an explicit model predictive controller (MPC)[2] for the real-time control of solvent composition and process operation as successfully implemented in other applications such as [3].To achieve this, we integrate molecular-based fluid theories[4] with high-fidelity process models[5]. Based on this model, an approximate model is developed and a model predictive controller is formulated for the reduced model where our multi-parametric algorithms are applied to derive a suitable and robust explicit MPC controller. By incorporating the explicit controller expressions (control laws) in the original model, a validation step is then carried out.

In this way, we present a unified-systems based methodology for the OPEX reduction of solvent-based post-combustion CO2 capture processes.


[1] IPCC, 2005: IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Prepared by Working Group III of the IPCC, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, USA

[2] Pistikopoulos, E.N., Bozinis, N., Dua, V., Perkins, J. & Sakizlis, V. (2004). Improved Process Control, European Patent EP1399784

[3] Arce A., del Real A. J., Bordons C. and Ramírez D. R. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 57(6), 1892-1905, 2010.

[4] Mac Dowell, N. et al., Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 49(4), 1883-1899, 2010

[5] Mac Dowell, N. et al., ESCAPE 20, 2010

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