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Distillation control structure selection for energy efficient operations

Lookup NU author(s): Funmi Osuolale, Dr Jie ZhangORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Previous methods on control structure selections in distillation columns are mainly concerned with processes operability such as control loop interactions, robustness to model uncertainty, and disturbance sensitivity. Few studies have been reported concerning the energy efficiency of various distillation column control structures. This paper details the choice of an energy efficient control configuration by incorporating thermodynamics second law in the selection criteria. In addition to using relative gain array for assessing control loop interactions, relative exergy array is used in assessing the energy efficiency of various control structures. The preferred control structure should have both good operability and good energy efficiency as distillation columns are the major energy consumer in the chemical industry. Detailed analysis of the performance of the control structures in the dynamic mode is presented. The proposed method is demonstrated on two binary distillation columns: methanol-water separation and benzene-toluene separation. Dynamic simulation results indicate that the proposed distillation control structure selection method is effective.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Osuolale F, Zhang J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemical Engineering and Technology

Year: 2015

Volume: 38

Issue: 5

Pages: 907-916

Print publication date: 01/05/2015

Online publication date: 08/04/2015

Acceptance date: 20/02/2015

Date deposited: 02/02/2015

ISSN (print): 0930-7516

ISSN (electronic): 1521-4125

Publisher: Wiley VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA


DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201400707


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Funder referenceFunder name
NGCA-2011-50Commonwealth Scholarship