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Part 3

Monitoring, optimisation and supervision

Chapter 8

Extending plant load-following capabilities
R. Garduno-Ramirez and K.Y Lee

8.1

Introduction

The current operating environment of a fossil fuel power unit (FFPU) is characterised
by many needs and requirements. First, a FFPU must support the main objective
of the power system, which is to meet the load demand for electric power at all
times, at constant voltage and at constant frequency (Elgerd, 1971). In addition, competition among utilities and other market driven forces has increased the usage of
FFPUs in load-following duties (Armor, 1985). Moreover, stringent requirements
on conservation and life extension of major equipment, and regulations on reduced
environmental impact, have to be fulfilled (Divakaruni and Touchton, 1991). This context may be synthesised as an essential requirement for a FFPU to achieve optimal
and robust wide-range load-following operation under multiple operation objectives,
such as minimisation of load tracking error, minimisation of fuel consumption and
heat rate, maximisation of duty life, minimisation of pollutant emissions, etc.
(Garduno-Ramirez and Lee, 2001a).
Effective participation of a FFPU in load-following duties requires the ability to
undertake large variations in the power being generated in the form of daily, weekly,
and seasonal cycles, as well as random fluctuations about those patterns. The major
courses of action that have been undertaken to facilitate wide-range load-following
operation with improved performance include upgrading the physical components of
the power unit and the control system (Miller and Sterud, 1989). Since wide-range
operation imposes strong physical demands on the unit equipment, which inherently
lead to conflicting operational and control situations, the load-following capability of a
FFPU may also be improved by enhancing the control system strategy. Currently, most
FFPU control systems consist of multiloop configurations based on conventional PID
controllers. Such an approach has proved its value during normal operation maintained
at base load, where plant characteristics become almost constant, nearly linear and
weakly coupled. Nevertheless, under load-following conditions the traditional control

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Thermal power plant simulation and control

schemes, designed and tuned for regulation and disturbance rejection, but not setpoint tracking, may decrease the global performance of the power unit because its
non-linear process dynamics vary with the point of operation. This situation makes the
traditional control structures less acceptable for wide-range load-following operation.
A control approach that has found its way into practical application to achieve
wide-range operation at power plants is a combination of feedforward and feedback
(FF/FB) controls. In Uram (1977) the feedforward power reference is modified by
the output of a PI controller that is driven by the difference between the power reference and the power feedback. The combined action of both controllers yields fast
response and steady-state accuracy, with the feedback control action providing the
necessary adjustments for the control valve non-linearities, or for changes in steam
pressure resulting from the boiler transient conditions. In addition, several simulationbased studies have explored FF/FB schemes using different approaches. Weng and
Ray (1997) report a wide-range robust controller for a steam power plant. The FF control is generated via non-linear programming to provide optimised performance. The
FB law is synthesised by the H~-based structured singular value approach to achieve
the desired stability and performance robustness. Zhao et al. (1997) present a FF/FB
scheme for a nuclear steam generator. The FF control provides a predictive command
input, based on the required performance and a simplified steam generator model.
The FB control path shows a PI-based multiloop configuration with cross-coupling
gains, which are tuned optimally by a genetic algorithm technique. In general, the
main idea of a FF/FB scheme is to complement the feedback controllers with feedforward control actions to compensate in a predictive way for known large and frequent
disturbances, and long time constants and time delays. That is, feedforward control
actions are issued before the deviations occur in the measured variables, so that better
response to load and set-point changes can be achieved.
In this chapter, the load-following capability of a fossil fuel power unit is enhanced
by augmenting the existing control system with a multivariable feedforward control strategy. With the aim of having a better distribution of the control tasks, the
proposed open-loop reference feedforward control is used to improve the manoeuvrability of the power unit, while the existing closed-loop feedback control is now
only used to compensate for uncertainties and unknown disturbances around the
commanded unit load demand trajectory. The feedforward controller is designed as
a process knowledge-based controller that approximates the static behaviour of the
power unit through its whole operation range. The required process knowledge is
extracted from a set of input--output data patterns directly measured at the power
unit during normal operation. The feedforward controller is implemented as a set
of multiple-input-single-output fuzzy systems whose inference rules are determined
through a supervised neural learning procedure (Garduno-Ramirez and Lee, 2000).
Section 8.2 provides descriptions of the overall operation and the qualitative
dynamics of a FFPU as a way to establish the most general operational requirements to
be satisfied by the control system. Section 8.3 shows through simulation experiments
how typical control systems based on conventional PI controllers fall short in providing satisfactory wide-range load-following operation. Section 8.4 justifies the need for
a hybrid feedforward and feedback control scheme and introduces the corresponding

Extending plant load-followingcapabilities 207
control system configuration for the FFPU. Section 8.5 presents a detailed specification of the feedforward controller as a knowledge-based system to be implemented as
a set of fuzzy systems. Then, section 8.6 describes the design of the proposed fuzzy
systems using a neurofuzzy paradigm, which allows automating the design process
for the multivariable knowledge-based feedforward control. Section 8.7 presents a
specific realisation of the neurofuzzy systems and their application for wide-range
load-following operation. Finally, section 8.8 summarises this work and concludes
that the results demonstrate the practical feasibility of the proposed feedforward
control approach to achieve effective wide-range load-following operation.

8.2 Power unit requirements for wide-range operation
A power system is intended to supply the electric power demanded by the consumers
in a reliable form with high quality characteristics. The total system load is not under
direct control and follows daily, weekly, and seasonal cylical patterns; in addition,
connection and disconnection of individual loads cause random fluctuations about
these patterns. Since there are no practical means to store large quantities of electric
energy, it should be produced as needed by the consumers. Consequently, the power
system never really operates in steady-state; it is always trying to match power generation with the load in what is known as the load-frequency problem. Thus, FFPUs participating in load-frequency control are always subject to changing load demands and
load disturbances as part of their normal operation regime (Dunlop and Ewart, 1975).
From the power system perspective the overall input-output behaviour of a FFPU
has noteworthy relevance. On one hand, long-term frequency stability analysis, which
assumes that all electromechanical oscillations have died out and that the system is
operating at constant frequency, perhaps different from the nominal value, could be
in a time frame of several to tens of minutes. On the other hand, the main boiler
dynamics are relatively slow: steam pressure and temperature oscillations, and the
effect of fuel flow variations on the generated power are in the order of minutes.
Therefore, the dynamics of FFPUs are considered a major factor in frequency stability
analysis (Kundur, 1994). Accordingly, any FFPU participating in load-frequency
control duties should be equipped with control systems that take into account the
long-term overall input-output dynamic behaviour of the unit.
The electric power in a drum-type FFPU is the resultant of a series of energy
conversion processes within the unit. All those energy conversion processes are rather
complex and show very complex relationships among them. However, the essential
overall dynamics may be described in terms of the major inputs (fuel flow, air flow,
steam flow into the turbine, feedwater flow, and spray flows into the superheater
and reheater) and outputs (electric power, steam throttle pressure, drum water level,
superheater outlet temperature, and reheater outlet temperature) (Maffezzoni, 1997).
Electric power and steam pressure are tightly coupled and are affected heavily by the
fuel/air flow and the steam flow. Feedwater flow slightly affects power and pressure,
but greatly impacts on the drum level, which in turn is considerably affected by the
fuel and steam flows. Similarly, the spray flows have a minor effect on power and

208

Thermal power plant simulation and control

pressure, but greatly affect the heat exchanger outlet temperatures, which are heavily
influenced by the fuel flow. In summary, fuel and steam flow may be used to drive
the unit to the desired values of power and pressure. This will disturb the drum water
level and heat exchanger outlet temperatures, which may then be manipulated with
the feedwater and spray flows.
The interaction between fuel, steam, and feedwater flows as inputs, and power,
pressure and water level as outputs, suggests these as the primary variables to consider to achieve wide-range operation. Spray flows and temperatures can be used for
further improvement. Consequently, this chapter concentrates on the former situation.
Furthermore, the open-loop behaviour determines the input-output pairing to form
the feedback control loops. Figure 8.1 shows the simulation response to a step change
in the steam valve with the fuel and feedwater valves kept constant. Power increases
and then decays back close to its original value, while pressure decreases to a new
value and the level keeps decreasing. Similarly, Figure 8.2 shows the response to a
step in the fuel valve, with the steam and feedwater valves at a fixed position. Both
throttle pressure and power increase to a new fixed higher value, while the drum level
continually decreases.
From these tests, it can be seen that for short-term purposes, a fast response to
load variations may be attained using the throttle valve to control power output and
the fuel valve to regulate the steam pressure. Conversely, for long-term purposes, fuel
flow should be used to control power output, and the throttle valve to maintain the
steam pressure. In both cases, the drum level has to be regulated to balance plant
operation.
Power output
i

80
Throttle pressure
102~

~

98 ~

I

Drum level
~ 1 0 0 0 ~

~-100

Figure 8.1

I

0

500

1000
Time (s)

1500

Open-loop response to a step in steam valve position

2000

Extending plant load-following capabilities 209

Power output
i

g
80

Throttle pressure
, 1 0 2 ~
100
a~ 98
Drum level

200,

-20

Figure 8.2

8.3
8.3.1

I

o

500

1000
Time (s)

1500

2000

Open-loopresponse to a step in fuel valve position

Conventional power unit control
Conventional coordinated control

In fossil fuel power units, the coordinated control (CC) scheme constitutes the
uppermost layer of the control system. The CC is responsible for driving the
boiler-turbine-generator set as a single entity, hannonising the slow response of
the boiler with the faster response of the turbine-generator, to achieve fast and stable
unit response during load tracking manoeuvres and load disturbances. To attain a
fast response, the turbo-generator is allowed to draw upon the energy stored in the
boiler. To achieve stability, the boiler control adjusts the fuel firing rate according
to the required load, while keeping the turbine from exceeding the energy provided
by the boiler. Typically, the CC governs the dominant behaviour of the power unit
through the power and steam pressure control loops. Given a unit load demand, Euld,
the CC provides set-points to both control loops. Ordinarily, the set-point for the
power control loop, Ed, is equal to the unit load demand, and the set-point for the
pressure control loop, Pd, is obtained from the unit load demand through a non-linear
power-pressure mapping, which is said to implement the operating policy of the unit.
Depending on how the controlled and manipulated variables are paired, there are
two possible CC modes: coordinated boiler-following mode and coordinated turbinefollowing mode (Landis and Wulfsohn, 1988). In coordinated boiler-following mode
(Figure 8.3), the load controller generates the demand to the steam throttle valve, u2,
from the unit load demand, Euld, and the measured generated power, E, while the
pressure controller generates the demand to the fuel/air valves, u 1, from the measured

210

Thermal power plant simulation and control

Euld

Pressure "]_
mapping )
Pd
Pressure
controller

1

u 2 ~

Combustion
controller )
Steam r ' ~ I /1

Load
controller

%+

E

--1/
©
Figure 8.3

Coordinated boiler-following control scheme

throttle pressure, P, and the pressure set-point, Pd- In coordinated turbine-following
mode (Figure 8.4), the load controller generates the demand for the fuel/air valves,
u l, from the unit load demand, Euld, and the measured generated power, E, while
the demand to the throttle valve, u2, is calculated from the measured throttle steam
pressure, P, and the pressure set-point, Pd. Based on the unit step responses shown
in the previous section, the boiler-following CC should be preferred for fast transient
response, while the turbine-following CC should be chosen to achieve long-term
process optimisation objectives.
As for most control systems in the process industries, the CC scheme in a
FFPU consists of a decentralised multiloop configuration of single-input-singleoutput feedback control loops evaluating conventional PI or PID algorithms. Despite
its simple structure, decentralised PID control has a long record of satisfactory
performance; its effectiveness to regulate a process under random load disturbances around a fixed operating point is proven daily all over the world. The
main reason for this is the relatively simple structure of the control system, which
is easy to understand and to implement, and its reliability in the case of actuator or sensor failure, which could make it relatively easy to manually stabilise
a system when only one loop is directly affected. In addition, the number of
tuning parameters is relatively small, and increases only linearly with the number of control variables (i.e. 3n tuning parameters for a control system with
n control loops).

Extending plant load-following capabilities 211
Pressure
mapping

Pd

Euld

1
q
I

Load
controller

Pressure
controller
Combustion
controller

u2

P
Steam

E

B
Fuel
Air

L

Figure 8.4

(3

i

Coordinatedturbine-following control scheme

Normally, the controller parameters are tuned at some predefined operating point
(i.e. base load) assuming nearly constant load conditions, and are left fixed thereafter. This approach works well for process regulation about the operating point
used for tuning. However, current requirements demanding wide-range operation of
FFPUs challenge this approach. The performance of the power unit may decrease
due to the non-linear and interactive dynamics of the process that change with operating conditions. Consequently, strong physical demands that are detrimental to the
unit duty life may be imposed on the plant equipment. In the subsections that follow the drawbacks of a typical CC, considered as a PID-based multiloop control
system, are shown through simulation experiments. The results obtained are later
used as reference for comparison and to evaluate the performance of the CC augmented with the knowledge-based feedforward control, which thus provides a feasible
solution to the optimal wide-range requirements of FFPUs (Garduno-Ramirez and
Lee, 2001 b).

8.3.2

Control loop interaction and tuning

The main difficulty for decentralised control of multivariable processes is that of
control loop interaction due to the coupling dynamics between the process inputs
and outputs, as illustrated in section 8.2, through the open-loop control valve step
responses. The effects of control loop interaction for the same FFPU were observed
through the closed-loop response to step changes in the set-points, i.e. power, steam

212

Thermal power plant simulation and control

pressure, or level set-point. All tests were carried out starting from an operating
point at half-load, defined by E = 80 MW, P = 100kg/cm 2, and L = 0mm. The
controllers were tuned to achieve an almost critically damped response in all loops.
Results show that the strongest and most significant interaction is from the pressure
control loop to the power output, which normally requires the tightest control for either
tracking or regulation. Second in importance is the interaction between the power loop
and the pressure output, which may adversely affect the physical condition of the plant
equipment. Next are the interactions between the power and pressure control loops
to the level output, for which tight regulation is not usually required provided that the
magnitude of the oscillations about the zero level is kept within safe limits. Finally,
the interactions between the level control loop to the power and pressure outputs are
both relatively small and are usually a minor concern.
Certainly, satisfactory step responses are an indicator of good control performance. Most control systems of all kinds are usually assessed using this approach.
Unfortunately, for the case of non-linear multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems, subject to wide-range reference-tracking operation requirements the above is
not sufficient to guarantee good performance. In the case of FFPUs there are several
practical considerations that prevent the utilisation of step responses; ramp responses
are preferred. Strictly speaking, ramp responses provide the same amount of information about the system. Step responses will, however, be used in the rest of this chapter
to exhibit the behaviour of the system solely in simulation experiments, under the
understanding that these tests are not recommended to be carried out in practice.
Now, the ramp response of the FFPU is investigated for a low ramp-up loading
manoeuvre using the same controller parameters as in the step-response test, which
previously provided excellent step responses. The power output is required to increase
from 80MW (half load) to 90MW in 150 s, that is a 6.25 per cent power set-point
change at a rate of 2.5 per cent per minute, which would normally be considered a
straight forward test. Accordingly, the pressure set-point is obtained from the unit
load demand through the mapping:
150 - 65
Pd -- - - E u l d
1 8 0 - 10

+ 65MW

(8.1)

which implements a typical sliding-pressure operating policy, which is a fairly common practice in CC schemes (Ben-Abdennour and Lee, 1996). As can be seen from
the graphs in Figure 8.5, the power set-point tracking is adequate, with an excellent
low control activity. Pressure set-point tracking is poor, particularly at the end of the
ramp with a large overshoot and settling time, but its control activity is excellent.
The oscillations in the water level are fine and the control activity is again acceptable. These results demonstrate that controller tuning based on step responses does
not imply good load-tracking performance, which is a major concern for wide-range
operation.
The inverse situation is also interesting. Controllers tuned to achieve excellent
ramp response, Figure 8.6, do not necessarily provide a good step response, or even
a stable response. This fact is shown by Figures 8.7-8.9 for the previously described

Extending plant load-following capabilities
Power response

213

Fuel valve demand

92
90
0.8~

88

86

0.6~

84

0.4~

82

0.2~

80

0[
50

100

150

200

250

300

Time (s)

0

50

150

200

250

300

250

300

Time(s)

Pressure response

Steam valve demand

107

1

106
~-. 105

0.8

104
~ 103
~" 102
~-~ 101
100
99

100

b

0.6
~' 0.4
0.2

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

Time (s)

0

50

100

d

150

200

Time (s)

Level response

Feedwater valve demand

20
1

10

0.8

E

0.6

o

..__..-/
0.4

-10

0.2
0

-20
0

50

100

150
Time (s)

200

250

300

0
f

50

100

150

200

250

300

Time (s)

Figure 8.5 Ramp load tracking with step-tuned controller parameters
step response tests, but with the controller parameters retuned to improve the ramp
response.

8.4

Feedforward/feedback control strategy

As will be shown shortly, the load-following capabilities of a FFPU may be enhanced
by augmenting the existing control system with a multivariable feedforward control

214 Thermalpower plant simulation and control
Fuel valvedemand

Power response

92

j

90
88
86
84
82
80

50

0.8
0.6

O.

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

0

50

160

b

Pressure response
107
106
105
104
~ 103
102
~7 101
100 !
99

150 260
Time (s)

250

300

250

300

Steam valve demand
1

0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
50

100

150 200
Time(s)

250

300

0

50

100

d

150 200
Time (s)

Feedwater valvedemand

Level response
20
1

10

0.8
0.6
0.4

-10
-20

0.2
0
0

Figure 8.6

50

100

150 200
Time(s)

250

300

0
f

50

100

150 200
Time(s)

250

300

Ramp load tracking with ramp-tuned controller parameters

strategy. With the aim of obtaining a better distribution of the control tasks, the feedforward control is mainly used to improve the manoeuvrability of the power unit along
any arbitrary load demand profile, while the existing closed-loop feedback control
is now mainly used to compensate for uncertainties and unknown disturbances. In
general, a feedforward control action takes advantage of the available information
about external events affecting the FFPU operation before the action of the feedback
control takes place. In this way, both changes in the reference signals and measurable

Extending plant load-following capabilities
Power response

215

Fuel valve demand

81.5
1

81

0.8

80.5

~- 0.4

80

o.

79.5

50

0

100 1~0 200 250 300
Time (s)

50

1;0 1;0 2;0 2;0

b

300

Time (s)

Pressure response

Steam valve demand

101
1

100.5

0.8
0.6

lO0

0.4
@ 99.5

0.2
0 i

99
50

100

150 200 250 300
Time (s)

0

50

100

d

Level response

150 200 250 300
Time (s)

Feedwater valve demand

20
1

10

0.81

E

E

0

~, 0.6

k

0.4
-10

0.2
o!

-20
50

Figure 8. 7

100 150 200 250 300
Time (s)

50
f

100

150 200 250 300
Time (s)

Response to step in power set-point with ramp-tuned parameters

disturbances can be effectively compensated by feedforward actions. Nevertheless,
since the major interest of this chapter is on load-following e n h a n c e m e n t through
wide-range unit load d e m a n d tracking, only open-loop reference feedforward control
actions will be considered. The compensation of control loop interaction as measurable disturbances is out of the scope of the work reported here, but can be found in
Garduno-Ramirez and Lee (2002).

216

,j

Thermal power plant simulation and control
Power response

300
200
~" 100

~

o

Fuel valve demand

0.8.
~

0.6

~

0.4.

~-100
0.2-200
0.

-300
0

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

0

300

50 l;O 1;0 2;0 2;0 300

b

Time (s)

Pressure response

Steam valve demand

ll0
1

i

105

0.8
~- 0.6

lOO

"-~ 0.4
~

95

0.2

90
0

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

5'0 l;O l;O 2;0 250 300

300

Time (s)
Feedwater valve demand

Level response
1000
1

500

0.8

o

~, 0.6
e~

-500

0.4

-1000

0.2
0

-1500
0
e

Figure 8.8
8.4.1

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

50

300
f

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

Response to step in pressure set-point with ramp-tuned parameters

Motivation for feedforward/feedback control

The initial idea for the proposed FF/FB scheme comes from the two degrees of
freedom single-input-single-output linear control system shown in Figure 8.10, where
the output to set-point transfer function is given by:

Y (s) = [I + Gp(s)Gfb(S)] -1 [Vp(s)Gff(s) + Gp(s)Gfb(S)] Yd(s).

(8.2)

Perfect reference tracking, Y(s) = Yd(s), may be achieved if Gff(s) = [Gp(s)] -1,
that is, if the transfer function in the feedforward control path is equal to the inverse
process transfer function. Hence, in the absence of uncertainty and disturbances,

Extending plant load-following capabilities 217
Power response

Fuel valve demand

81
1

80.5

0.8
~,

0.6

80
0.4

~2

79.5

0.2

79
50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

0

50

Pressure response

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

250

300

Steam valve demand

101
l

100.5

0.8
~,

100

0.6

e~

~, 0.4
~

99.5

0.2

99
50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

0

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

Feedwater valve demand

Level response
8
1

6
E

0.8

4

~&

2

i

0.6
0.4 !
0.2

0
-2
0

50

e

Figure 8.9

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

50
f

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

Response to step in level set-point with ramp-tuned parameters

t Gff(s)
rd(s)

300

+,~

Gfo(s)

[
Ue(s)
Urd~) +
Gp(s)

Figure8.10 Referencefeedforward/feedbackcontrolconfiguration

--~

300

218

Thermal power plant simulation and control

perfect tracking may be attained without the feedback control path, Gfb(S). Perhaps
the greatest disadvantage of this approach for real implementation is its dependence
on the accuracy of the process model.
A FFPU is a large complex system for which Gp(s), if known, is only valid
around a single operating point, and its inverse cannot be guaranteed to exist, nor to
be causal should it exist. Hence, the ideal FF/FB strategy with Gff(s) = [Gp(s)] -1
is inadequate to attain wide-range operation. Nevertheless, the requirements on the
FF control Gff(s) can be lessened to only approximate the plant inverse dynamics,
and let the FB control path compensate for uncertainty when tracking any unit load
demand profile. However, there is still a need for a plant model valid throughout
the plant operation space, which is a particularly difficult issue for FFPUs (Ghezelayagh and Lee, 1999). To overcome this problem FF control is introduced as a
knowledge-based system that solves the inverse kinematics model of the FFPU as
determined by steady-state input-output data. The key advantage of this approach
is that the inverse steady-state model always exists, since it is based on inputoutput measurements. The measured data represents the actual plant characteristics,
and statistical data may be used to increase the accuracy of the approximation. In
addition, the design of the FF control may be automated using machine-learning
techniques.
In general, feedforward and feedback control complement each other. Feedforward actions are meant to perform fast corrections due to changes in the reference
value and known disturbances, while feedback provides corrective actions on a slower
time-scale to compensate for inaccuracies in the process model, measurement errors,
and unmeasured disturbances. Nevertheless, in any application the drawbacks and
advantages of both feedforward and feedback must be taken into account.
Limitations of feedback include:


Corrective actions are not issued until after a deviation in the measured variable
is detected.
Feedback cannot compensate for known disturbances in a predictive way.
Feedback may not be satisfactory in systems with long time constants or long
time delays.

Difficulties with feedforward include:


Compensation of load disturbances requires on-line measurements, which are not
always feasible.
A model of the process is required and the quality of the feedforward action
depends on the accuracy obtained.
The inverse model often contains pure derivatives that cannot be realised in
practice in a feedforward controller.

Advantages of feedback include:

Regardless of the source and type of disturbance, corrective action occurs as soon
as the plant output deviates from the set-point.

Extending plant load-following capabilities 219

A model of the process does not need to be perfectly known; compensation can
be made for model inaccuracies and dynamics not modelled.

Advantages of feedforward include:

A fast corrective action can be made in a predictive way if the disturbance can be
measured.
Approximations to ideal pure derivatives often provide effective control.

Applied in a control system for a power plant, feedforward may help to:




Deal with time delays mainly encountered in temperature control loops.
Achieve wide-range process optimisation along optimal static operating points.
Avoid plant trips and shutdowns due to faulty measurements that will disable a
feedback control loop.
Replace faulty sensors on-line without stopping the plant or switching to manual
operation, since the process can be sustained by the feedforward control action.
Facilitate manual to automatic mode transfers since the feedback controllers
should be initialised while the feedforward action controls the process.

8.4.2

Feedforward/feedback control scheme

As mentioned before, the purpose of the feedforward controller is to facilitate widerange set-point driven operation, that is to improve manoeuvrability for load-following
tasks. For the reasons stated in the previous section, the feedforward controller
is proposed as an open-loop non-linear MIMO compensator in the form of a nonlinear multivariable mapping that implements the inverse static model of the FFPU,
with set-points, Yd, as inputs, and the feedforward control signals, uff, as outputs (Figure 8.11). The design of the feedforward controller is obtained off-line
by fitting a set of input-output data patterns measured directly at the plant. In this
way, the feedforward controller is built on knowledge about the actual operation of
the FFPU.
To achieve an open design, a structure is proposed for the feedforward controller
which can be easily and systematically expanded or contracted, as required by the
scope of the control actions that need to be coordinated to achieve wide-range operation. To do so, a multivariable feedforward controller is proposed which consists of
several independent multiple-input single-output (MISO) mapping subsystems, one
for each feedforward control signal being generated. Thus, each subsystem implements a non-linear MISO mapping, valid across the whole operating range of the
FFPU, supplied with the set-point signals of all the control loops considered for coordination to provide a single feedforward control signal. For the case study in this
chapter, the feedforward controller consists of three MISO subsystems, which provide the feedforward control signals for the fuel, ulff, steam, u2ff, and feedwater,
u3ff, control valves, in terms of the power, Ed, pressure, Pd, and drum level, Ld, setpoints (Figure 8.12). Note that compared to a typical coordinated control system, the
inclusion of the drum water level control loop enables unit internal balance required

220 Thermalpower plant simulation and control
_ ..................................

,,

Feedforward .~.....................................................
................... controller i
designer ~--,
/

/

,. .................................

.:

i

YO

I Multivariable
inversestatic
v l FFPUmodel

+u

U

_I
rl

Fossil-fuel
powerunit

Y

fb

I

Feedback
control

Figure 8.11 Feedforwardcontroller design

Poweroutput (Ed)

Wide-range
MISO
\ mapping J

Wide-range
MISO
mapping

Pressure

(uiff) Fuelvalve

(u2ff) Steamvalve

# Wide-range ~]
MISO

Drum level
Figure 8.12

(Ld)

\, mapping )

(u3ff) Feedwatervalve

Feedforward controller MISO submodules

for wide-range operation, in accordance with the process behaviour explained in
section 8.2. The main steam temperature control loop could also be embraced, but its
use is preferred for overall process optimisation purposes rather than for extending
the load-following capabilities of a FFPU.

Extending plant load-following capabilities

8.5
8.5.1

221

Knowledge-based feedforward control
Neurofuzzy paradigm

Each MISO subsystem of the feedforward controller is a knowledge-based fuzzy
system that is designed as an artificial neural network through a neural learning procedure, thus being equivalently called a neurofuzzy system to reflect its dual nature.
The neurofuzzy paradigm is intended to synthesise the advantages of both fuzzy
systems and neural networks in a complementary way that overcomes their disadvantages, facilitating subsequent application. First, a neural network is used to represent
the parallel-processing nature of a fuzzy system. Then, the components of the fuzzy
system are determined using a neural-network learning algorithm. The resulting neurofuzzy system may approximate a usually unknown function that is partially defined
by a set of input-output data. The knowledge rules of the neurofuzzy system represent the relationships within the given data in a high-level abstract way. The learning
procedure is a data-driven process that operates on local information, causing only
local modifications in the underlying fuzzy system. In addition, the learning procedure takes into account the properties of the associated fuzzy system, constraining
the possible modifications to the system parameters. Since the neurofuzzy structure
is always a fuzzy system at each stage of the learning process, the learning procedure can be initialised by specifying the components of a fuzzy system that are to be
enhanced based on the provided data.
There are currently several methods available to synthesise a neurofuzzy system, including GARIC (Berenji and Khedkar, 1992), NEFCON (Nauck and Kruse,
1994), FuNe (Halgamuge and Glesner, 1994), ANFIS (Jang, 1993), and Neurofuzzy
(Ghezelayagh and Lee, 1999). In this work, the neurofuzzy MISO subsystems for the
feedforward controller are fuzzy systems of the Takagi-Sugeno-Kang (TSK) type
(Takagi and Sugeno, 1985), which are individually synthesised, in a systematic and
automated way, through the general-purpose adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system
(ANFIS) technique (Jang, 1993) using steady-state input-output process data.
8.5.2

TSK-type f u z z y systems

In essence, a fuzzy system establishes an input-output non-linear mapping, determined by a series of procedural statements and an inference mechanism that mimics
the human knowledge processing capabilities during reasoning. Regarding the format of the procedural knowledge rules, the fuzzy systems may be classified into
two types: Mamdani fuzzy systems and Takagi-Sugeno-Kang (TSK) fuzzy systems
(Wang, 1997).
In Mamdani fuzzy systems, the knowledge rules are of the form:
IF xl is X~ and ... and Xn is X~,

THEN u r is U r

(8.3)

where the xi, for i = 1, 2 . . . . . n, are the system inputs, and X r are fuzzy sets, u r is the
rule output, U r is an output fuzzy set, and r = 1, 2 . . . . . R, is the rule number index.
In Mamdani type systems both the antecedent and the consequent of the knowledge
rules are fuzzy propositions.

222

Thermal power plant simulation and control

In TSK fuzzy systems, the antecedent of the knowledge rules is a fuzzy proposition, and the consequent is a crisp relation. For first-order systems, the rule output is
calculated as a linear function of the inputs:
THEN u ~ = c~ + crlxl + ' " + crxn

IF Xl is X~ and ... and x, is Xr,

(8.4)

where crare constants. Given input values xl, • • •, Xn, the total output, u, of the TSK
fuzzy system is a weighted average of the individual rule outputs:
U

Zr wrur
_

-

-

Zr

(8.5)

1Or

where each weight w r, called the degree of fulfilment of the r-th rule, is calculated as
the product of the input membership values:
n

11)r = H # x r (Xi).

(8.6)

i=1

In general, the TSK fuzzy systems are a combination of fuzzy and non-fuzzy models
that integrate qualitative knowledge representations with precise quantitative data
expressions. The major advantage of TSK fuzzy systems is their ability to act as universal approximators. They allow the representation of complex non-linear mappings
through simple linear relations. The knowledge rules establish an approximation of a
non-linear input-output mapping, X 1 X X 2 x • "" × X n ~ R, by a piecewise linear
function. The rule antecedents define a decomposition of the input space into a set
of overlapping partitions, and implement a switching function that selects, given the
actual input values, the appropriate linear functions needed for the approximation.
Then, the approximated output value is obtained by interpolating the combination of
two or more relations in the rule consequents, as defined by the inference mechanism
of the TSK system.
The ANFIS method allows the design of TSK-type fuzzy systems. Given arbitrary
initial knowledge rules, the ANFIS method adjusts the membership functions, LX{,
and the coefficients, c~, in the consequents of all the rules. To do so, the TSK fuzzy
system must be represented as a feedforward neural network, with its components
refined through a neural learning procedure to fit the input-output behaviour of the
fuzzy system.

8.5.3

Fuzzy feedforward controller

So far, the feedforward controller consists of three MISO neurofuzzy systems: FISU I,
FISU2, and FISU3, which provide respectively the feedforward control signals for
the fuel, ulff, steam, u2ff, and feedwater, u3ff, control valves, in terms of the power,
Ed, pressure, Pd, and level, Ld, set-points, as shown in Figure 8.12. The feedforward
controller design problem may be stated as: given a set of steady-state input-output
patterns, [Ul u2 u3, E P L], determine the MISO neurofuzzy systems FISU1, FISU2,

Extending plant load-following capabilities 223
and FISU3. More specifically, the problem consists of finding out the values of the
parameters of the membership functions in the rule antecedents and the coefficients in
the rule consequents of the three TSK-type fuzzy systems. Note that FISU1, FISU2,
and FISU3 should reproduce the sets of patterns: [E P L, ul], [E P L, u2], and
[E P L, u3] as [Ea PaLd, Ulff], [Ed Pd Ld, U 2 f f ] , and [Ed Pd La, u3ff], respectively,
once embedded in the feedforward control path. The feedforward controller design
problem is solved independently for each fuzzy system using the necessary data from
the complete set of steady-state input--output patterns, [ul u2 u3, E P L].
All three fuzzy systems in the feedforward controller are of the TSK-type and
have similar structures, so without loss of generality and to simplify the presentation,
hereafter all explanations refer to FISU1, the fuzzy system that generates u lff.
The knowledge rules of the fuzzy system have the form:
IF: Ed is LErd and Pd is LP[j and Ld is LLrd
THEN: u~ff = c6 + CrEEd+ Crppd + C[Ld

(8.7)

where r = 1,2 . . . . . R is the rule number, LE o,
r LP~,
r and LL~ are the linguistic
terms of the input signals Ed, Pd, and Ld, respectively, in the r-th rule, u~ff is the
contribution of the r-th rule to the total output of the fuzzy system, and c6, c~, c~,,
and c~ are the consequent coefficients. For a given input pattern [Ed Pd Ld], the
output of the fuzzy system is given by (8.5) as:
Z r =Rl //3r Ulff
r
Ulff -R
E r = l tOr

(8.8)

where 1/dr, for r = 1, 2 . . . . . R, are the rule fulfilment degrees or weights. For
each rule, its fulfilment degree is calculated from (8.6) as the product of the input
membership values as:

w r = IZLE~(Ed) × lZLPS(Pd) × lZLLrd(Ld)

(8.9)

where #LE~,('),/*LPS ('), and IZLL~(') are the membership functions corresponding
to the linguistic terms LE~, LPS, and LLrd, respectively, in the r-th rule. In addition,
note that (8.8) can be written as:

Ulff =

U r

~
r=l

-r

lff =

r=l wr

r

-r

//) Ulff =
r----I

Ulff

(8.10)

r=l

where tbr, for r = 1, 2 . . . . . R, are the so-called (normalised) relative rule fulfilment
weights:
(
wr
)
/~r ~_
~
(8.11)
Z r = l //)r

224

Thermal power plant simulation and control

and fi~ff, for r =
consequents:

1, 2 . . . . . R, can be equivalently called the normalised rule
-r ~//3-r Ulff.
r
Ulff

8.6
8.6.1

(8.12)

Design of neurofuzzy controllers
Neural representation of fuzzy controller

Each fuzzy system in the feedforward controller is designed using the ANFIS technique. To this aim, the fuzzy system is represented as a three-input, one-output,
five-layer feedforward neural network, as shown in Figure 8.13 where, without lose
of generality, each input signal spans its whole operating range with three overlapping
fuzzy regions, i.e. fuzzy sets with bell-shaped membership functions and linguistic
terms: low, medium, and high. Therefore, for this case a complete knowledge base
will have 3 × 3 × 3 = 27 rules of the form given in (8.7). Also, the neural network will have three distribution units in layer L0, nine neurons in L1, 27 neurons
in L2, L3, and L4, and one neuron in Ls. With these dimensions, the number of

EaPd La

!ifl

Lo
Figure 8.13

LI

L2

L3

L4

Neural network structure of feedforward fuzzy controller

Ls[

Extending plant load-following capabilities

225

parameters to determine is calculated as follows: 27 rules × 4 consequent parameters
per rule ---- 108 consequent parameters, and 3 inputs x 3 membership functions per
input x 3 parameters per membership function = 27 membership function parameters. Then, the total number of parameters to be determined is 108 + 27 = 135 per
fuzzy system. This number clearly illustrates the difficulty of tuning a fuzzy system
following a trial and error approach, which simply gets worse as the number of input
linguistic terms increases. Fortunately, this process can be fully automated using the
neurofuzzy paradigm and a low-dimensional fuzzy system will do the job perfectly,
as will be shown shortly.
The distribution units in layer L0 route the crisp input signals of the fuzzy system
to the neurons in layer L1. Each neuron in layer L1 fuzzifies the incoming input signal
using a bell-shaped membership function. In this layer, the neuron's input and output
processing functions are of the form:

1Yi =lgi (x)

=

1

1 + ((x - ci)/ai) 2bi

(8.13)

where i = 1,2 . . . . . 9 is the neuron number, ai, bi, and ci are the parameters of the
bell-shaped output function that define the membership function of a fuzzy set or
linguistic term and lyi is the output that corresponds to the degree of membership of
the input to the fuzzy set defined in the i-th neuron in L 1.
Neurons in layer L2 calculate the rule fulfilment weight for each rule (8.9).
Neurons in layer L3 calculate the relative rule fulfilment weight for each rule
(8.11). Neurons in layer L4 calculate the normalised output for each rule from
(8.12) and (8.7). The unique neuron in layer L5 calculates the total system
output in (8.10).

8.6.2

Neurofuzzy controller design

Given a set of M steady-state input-output patterns {[u I 1 u21,1/31, E1 P1 L l ] . . . . .
[ulg u2M UaM, EM PM LM]}, and an initial MISO TSK fuzzy system defined
as in (8.7)-(8.12) and specified by arbitrary sets of parameters {[al bl Cl] . . . . .
[a9 b9 c9]} and [ [c~ c 1 c 1 c 1 ] . . . . . [c27 c 27 c 27 c 27] ] corresponding to the membership functions and the consequent coefficients, respectively; the design process adjusts the parameters of FISU1 so that it reproduces the set of patterns
{[El Pl L1, Ull] . . . . . [EM PM LM, ul~t]} corresponding to the inverse static model
generating u lff. The learning process is achieved iteratively, with two phases per
iteration. First, the input patterns are propagated keeping the antecedent parameters
constant, and then the optimal consequent parameters are estimated using a least
squares (LS) estimation procedure. Secondly, the input patterns are propagated again
with the antecedent parameters modified by back-propagation.

226

Thermal power plant simulation and control

As briefly outlined, the consequent parameters are to be estimated using a least
squares procedure• Each input-output pattern is related by:

27
Ulffm = Z ~Or(C~ -}-CrEEm -}-crppm +CrLLm)

(8.14)

r=l
where m = 1, 2 . . . . . M is the input--output pattern index. Using a vector
representation and considering all M input-output training patterns:

-4
4
Ulffl]
i_UlffM..l

F /~1 tblE1 /hip1 ~ILI
~1 ColEM ffjlpM (olLM

...

/b27 tb27E1 tb27p1 tb27L1

4

...

tb27 Co27EM Co27pM Co27LM

c~z

_

c 2~
L

(8.15)
which adopting appropriate definitions can be written as:
u = xc

(8.16)

where U is M x 1, X is M x (4)(27) = M x 108, and C is 108 x 1. In general
the problem of calculating the coefficients in C is overdetermined, that is M > 108.
A least squares solution for C can be computed recursively using:

T -- Xl+lCi)
Ci+l = Ci -~ tlli+lXi+l(Ui+l

d2i+1 = tl/i --

tllixi+lXl+ 1tll i

1 + xiT+lOttiXi+l

(8.17)
(8.18)

where xi is the i-th row vector of matrix X and u i is the i-th element of vector
U, for i = 0, 1,2 . . . . . M - 1 , and • is called the covariance matrix. The initial
conditions are Co = 0 and ~0 = Y I, where y is a large positive number. At the end
of iterations, C = CM may have been calculated using all available information in
the M input-output patterns.
The adjustments in the membership function parameters are determined by backpropagation. Let z be any of the a, b or c parameters of any membership function
#, and Eio be the usual error measure given by the sum of the squared difference

Extending plant load-following capabilities 227
between the target output, uTff, and the actual output, u lff:
(8.19)

Eio = 1 (U~ff -- U l f f ) 2

Then, the change in parameter z, Az, for a single rule after a pattern has been
propagated is given by:
0Eio
Az = - ~
(8.20)

Oz

where tr is an arbitrary learning rate factor. Successive application of the chain rule
to (8.20) through the layers of the neural network yields:

OEio OUlff Ow r 0113r O~
OUlff O~ r qoVdr qo~ qoz

AZ : -or

, r
= ~r(uTf f -

ulujulf

l b r ( 1 -- t ° r ) tOr 0 #
f

wr

o r
= --Ulff(Ulff _ Ulff)tbr(1

Iz

Iz OZ

_ ~r).~

(8.21)

OZ

where the final term, Olz/Oz, depends on the specific parameter of the membership
function being considered:

OIZ
-

-

0a
0#

Iz(X)2 ( ( X - c ) 2 )
=
_

a

-~-~---b.(X)

Olz
ac

-

-

b
(8.22)

a
2

( ( X a c)2 )

2blz(X)2 ( ( X - c ) 2 )
~77
a

b-1

(8.23)

b

(8.24)

where X = E, P or L depends on the membership function being considered. Thus,
the parameter changes for a single rule, after a pattern has been propagated, can be
calculated as:
z * f -- Ulff ) tO r (1 -- tO r )
AO = -O"
- U lrf f ~Ulf

/_t

o

r

#2 ( ( X - ¢ ) 2 )

_a_

b

i ,

Ab = - - - U l f f [Ulff - U l f f ) to r (1 -- to r ) b u Z ( x )
/z
Ac = - - u l f f tUlff -- ulff) t? r (1 - t~ ~) 2 b # z ( x )
/z
X-~c

(8.25)

a

(8.26)

(X - c) 2
a

Thermalpower plant simulation and control

228

8.6.3

Learning procedure

As previously mentioned the learning process is carried out iteratively, consisting of
the following steps:
(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Propagate all patterns from the training set and determine the consequent parameters using the least squares method in (8.17) and (8.18). During this step, the
antecedent parameters remain fixed.
Propagate all patterns again and update the antecedent parameters by backpropagation using (8.25)-(8.27). During this step, the consequent parameters
remain fixed.
If the error is reduced in four consecutive steps then increase the learning rate
by 10 per cent. If the direction of error change is unpredictable, then decrease
the learning rate by 10 per cent.
Stop if the error is small enough, otherwise repeat from step 1.

For practical application, the learning process is incorporated in a three-stage design
process. First, a set of input-output data, to be used as training data, needs to be
generated or obtained from the process. Another optional data set can be used as
test data after training to evaluate the performance of the learning process. Second,
initial structures for the fuzzy system need to be created. For each input, the range of
operation, number of membership functions, as well as their shape, must be defined.
Finally, the learning process is carried out using the training data set to adjust the
membership functions, and to determine the consequent parameters, with the resultant
fuzzy system verified using the test data set.

8.7 Wide-range load-following
In this section, neurofuzzy controllers are implemented and applied to enhance the
load-following capabilities of the FFPU, subject to a given power-pressure operating
policy. First, the input-output process information to be used to design the knowledgebased feedforward controllers is presented. The information corresponds to a typical
sliding-pressure operating policy. Next, the effect of the number of membership
functions and the number of training epochs on the approximation accuracy of the
feedforward controller to the inverse static model of the FFPU is illustrated. Finally,
the resultant MISO neurofuzzy controllers are presented.

8.7.1

Realisation of wide-range neurofuzzy controllers

The present application requires the realisation of a neurofnzzy feedforward controller
under a sliding-pressure operating policy. Recalling that since the control objective
is to approximate the inverse static behaviour of the FFPU, the control signals will
be considered as outputs and the power, pressure and drum water level deviation will
provide the inputs. Figure 8.14 shows the data for the pressure, P, and the control

Extending plant load-following capabilities 229
250
~E 200
150
100
E

50

!

210

4'0

60

8'0

i

i

i

i

100
120
Power (MW)
i

i

1'~0

140

180

i

i

i

~'
& 0.8
0.6
.~ 0.4
0.2

200

/d 1
o

o

U2
U3

I

20

I

40

I

60

I

80

I

I

1O0
120
Power (MW)

I

140

I

160

I

180

200

Figure 8.14 Input-output steady-state datafor the sliding-pressure operatingpolicy
signals ut, u2, and u3, for the sliding-pressure operating policy with power, E, as an
independent variable. Note that the drum water level deviation L is not shown since,
at steady-state, it is always zero.

8. 7.2 Effect of number of membership functions and training epochs
Once the data required to design the neurofuzzy controllers are available, two major
decisions have to be made in order to obtain controllers with satisfactory performance.
First, the number of linguistic terms (or equivalently, the number of membership
functions) to be used to fuzzify the input signals has to be decided. The number of
linguistic terms per input not only determines the size of the knowledge base, that
is, the number of knowledge rules, but will also affect the number of parameters to
be calculated, and the number of input-output data patterns required for the learning
process. Second, it must be decided how to stop the learning process. The stopping
condition may be set in terms of reaching a predefined approximation accuracy, or
in terms of the execution of a predefined number of training iterations (epochs).
Whatever is decided, the issue of major interest is the impact on the accuracy of the
resulting fuzzy system and its ability to provide an inverse steady-state model of the
power unit. In what follows the effect of both the number of linguistic terms and
the number of learning iterations on the approximation accuracy is shown. Note that
since all three neurofuzzy controllers exhibit similar characteristics, only the results
for FISU 1 are provided.

230

Thermalpower plant simulation and control

...........j- ''/s'/
20

40

60

70

80

90

80
100
Power (MW)

100

110

120

120

140

130

160

140

180

150

Pressure (kg/cm 2)

Figure 8.15 FISU1membershipfunctions, sliding-pressure operation

First, typical membership functions for the sliding-pressure operating policy using
three membership functions are plotted in Figure 8.15. Note that the same number
of linguistic terms is used for all inputs of the neurofuzzy controller. Also, only
the membership functions for the power and pressure inputs are provided since the
membership functions of the drum water level deviation are singletons at L = 0.
The importance of the number of training epochs is illustrated for three, five, and
seven input membership functions. For each case, the root squared mean error
(RSME) of the output approximation is plotted for training during 20 epochs in
Figure 8.16. By inspection of these results, it can be seen that very good approximations of the inverse steady-state model of the plant can be obtained with a
low-dimensional system (three membership functions) and a small number of training epochs (10 epochs). This is because the non-linear steady-state behaviour of
the plant is benign, that is, the non-linearities are quite smooth and continuous.
Ideally, it will always be preferred to use a low-dimensional system requiring
a small number of training iterations if the obtained approximation accuracy is
acceptable.

8.7.3

Neurofuzzy feedforward controllers

Following the same procedure for FISU 1, fuzzy representations were also created for
FISU2 and FISU3. In each case three membership functions and I0 training epochs
were considered appropriate. Table 8.1 summarises the approximation performance

Extending plant load-following capabilities 231
o 3rnf
o
o 5mf
~ - ~ 7rnf

2.5
2
X

1.5
1

0.5 i

C2

I

J

I

h

2

4

6

8

I

10
Epochs

l~

13

~

I

I

I

12

14

16

18

O

20

Figure 8.16 RSME for sliding-pressure operation

Table 8.1 Approximation accuracy
of neurofuzzy controllers
(RSME × 106)
Output

RSME ×106

ulff
u2ff
u3ff

8.5579
265.2692
24.6003

of each fuzzy system in generating the corresponding steady-state feedforward control signals throughout the FFPU operating range. The resultant power and pressure
membership functions for FISU2 and FISU3 are very similar to the membership
functions for FISU1 presented in Figure 8.15, while the membership functions for
the drum water level deviation input are singletons at L = 0. Then, Figures 8.17-8.19
show the fuzzy inference surfaces over the power-pressure plane for FISU1, FISU2
and FISU3, respectively, where Ed and Pd are the power output and pressure demand
set-points. Note that each fuzzy system is graphically represented by a fuzzy inference
surface, which is a more intuitive representation than the corresponding knowledge
base. A graphical representation has the advantage that the contours change very little
with an increasing number of membership functions.

232

Thermal power plant simulation and control

0.8

0.6
0.4.
0.2
14q

Pressure demand (Pd)

Figure 8.17

(Ed) Power demand

FISU1 fuzzy inference surface, fuel valve control

0.8
~

0.6
0.4
14~

Pressure demand (Pd)

Figure 8.18

8. 7.4

(Ed) Power demand

FISU2 fuzzy inference surface, steam valve control

Wide-range load-following simulation results

Incorporation of the three MISO neurofuzzy controllers described in the previous
section within the existing decentralised feedback control system of a FFPU creates
a multivariable two-degrees-of-freedom control scheme (Figure 8.20). As presented
in section 8.4, the main purpose of the resultant hybrid feedforward-feedback control scheme is to provide a better distribution of the control actions to enhance the
load-following capabilities of a FFPU. It was suggested that the feedforward control
components provide the main contribution to the control signals and thus support the
wide-range set-point tracking duties of the FFPU. Meanwhile, the feedback control

Extending plant load-following capabilities 233

0.8
0.6
0.4

0.2
14~

Pressure demand(Pd)

Figure 8.19

(Ed) Powerdemand

FISU3 fuzzy inference surface, feedwater control value

Ed

Pa
Ld

~' ~

U2ff ¢
U3ff

+~(

u3

£

)~-

Figure 8.20

Hybrid feedforward/feedback control scheme

components, which used to carry all the control weight, will now provide a smaller
contribution to the control signals, which is necessary to compensate for uncertainties
and disturbances in the vicinity of the commanded set-point trajectories.
Demonstration of the benefits of the proposed feedforward-feedback control
scheme is carried out through simulation experiments. First, it is shown that solely
with the introduction of the feedforward control, the response of the FFPU may
improve significantly. Figure 8.21 shows the ramp response of the FFPU with the
addition of the feedforward control, keeping the feedback settings. Performance is

234

Thermal power plant simulation and control
Fuel valve demand

Power response

92

1

9O

0.8

84

0.6 f
ff 0.4

82

0.2

86

~

0

8O
50

100

150 200
Time(s)

250

300

0

50

100

b

Pressure response

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

250

300

Steam valve demand
1

106

0.8
~

104

0.6
~' 0.4

~ 102

0.2
100

0
50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

0

50

100

d

150 200
Time (s)

Feedwater valve demand

Level deviationresponse
20
1

10
0

0.8
0.6
...............................~ 7

.............

0.4

-b

020

-10
-2O
0
e

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

0
f

50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

Figure 8.21 Ramp response with feedforward/feedback control

better than that shown in Figure 8.5 in section 8.3.2, where power is required to
ramp from 80 to 90 M W at 4 MW/min under a sliding-pressure operating policy.
Tracking performance of the power and pressure set-points is as good as previously
obtained with the ramp-tuned parameters in Figure 8.6, but without the disadvantage
of possibly becoming unstable for steps in the pressure set-point (Figure 8.8).
The improved performance of the above extends through the entire FFPU operating region, even under more demanding operating requirements. Figure 8.22

Extending plant load-following capabilities
Power response

235

Fuel valve demand
1

150

0.8
0.6

100

e~

0.4

0.2i

50

0
0

500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

500

Pressure response

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Steam valve demand

140
0.8

120

0.6

100

0.4

80

0.2
0

60
0

500

c

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

500
d

Level deviationresponse

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Feedwater valve demand

20
1

"

0

0.8

.........................................

-ff 0.6

.~ -10

0.4

-20

0.2

313
0
e

Figure 8.22

0
500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

0
f

500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Wide-rangecyclic response with feedforward/feedback control

shows the response of the FFPU, using the hybrid feedforward-feedback control
scheme, for wide-range cyclic operation under a sliding-pressure operating policy.
The power output is required to ramp from half-load (80 MW) to base load (160 MW)
at 8 M W / m i n (5 per cent base load/min, the maximum allowed by American
standards), then from base load to 20 M W at the same rate, and finally back to
half-load. Again, the tracking performance of the power and pressure set-points is
very good throughout, while the oscillations in the drum water level deviation are
within very small bounds. The control activity of all control signals is excellent.

236

Thermalpower plant simulation and control

These results demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed control scheme to enhance
the load-following capability of a FFPU in a practical and cost-effective way.
Certainly, the improved manoeuvrability of the FFPU is mainly due to the feedforward control action, with a collaboration of the feedback control to compensate for
the inaccuracies in the inverse static model implemented by the feedforward control.
Figure 8.23 shows the contributions of both the feedforward (u lff, u2ff and u3ff) and

Feedforward and feedback components
of fuel valve demand
1

0.8
0.6
5"

0.4
0.2
0
-0.2

500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Feedforward and feedback components
of steam valve demand
1

0.8
& 0.6
0.4
0.2
0
-0.2

500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Feedforward and feedback components
of feedwater valvedemand
1

,-ff 0.8
& 0.6
0.4
0.2

o
-0.2

500

1000 1500 2000 2500
Time (s)

Figure 8.23 Feedforward andfeedback contributions to control signalsfor set-point
tracking

Extending plant load-following capabilities
Table 8.2

237

Control effort of feedforward and
feedback controls

Control signal

Puff

Pulb

Pufb/ Puff

Fuel valve
779.9 11.662 1.50 x 10-2
Steam valve
1263.2 0.0416 3.29 x 10-5
Feedwater valve 695.1 16.307 2.35 x 10 - 2

the feedback (u lfb, U2fb and U3fb) controls to form the final control signals to the fuel,
steam and feedwater valves (u l, u2 and u3). To have a better appreciation of this
situation, the control effort of both feedforward and feedback controls is quantified
by an approximate measure of the control signal power during the cyclic test of the
previous paragraph:

Puiff -~ Z (uiff(k))2
k

(8.28)

Puifb = Z (Uifb(k))2
k

(8.29)

where i = 1,2, 3, and k is the sampling number during all the simulation
tests. Results are given in Table 8.2, where the ratio of the feedback to the
feedforward control effort is also provided. Clearly, in all cases the feedforward
contribution is larger than the feedback contribution, that is, the feedforward control actions carry out the set-point tracking duties across the FFPU operating
range.
The new role played by the feedback controls is to compensate for the
inaccuracies in the inverse model implemented by the MIMO feedforward
controller, as well as for the effects of external disturbances. Figure 8.24 shows
the response of the hybrid feedforward/feedback control scheme when an external
disturbance affects the pressure control loop. A variation in pressure with the form
of a pulse of 0.5 kg/cm 2 magnitude and 5 s duration is imposed on the pressure measurement. The power and level responses are affected due to the process interactive
dynamics. Regarding the control system, only the feedback controls try to compensate for the disturbance, with the pressure feedback control being the most aggressive.
These and the previous results demonstrate that the proposed feedforward/feedback
control scheme provides a very convenient distribution of the control tasks for setpoint tracking and disturbance rejection, which in turn enhances the load-following
capabilities of the FFPU.

238

Thermal power plant simulation and control
Feedforward and feedback components
of fuel valve demand

Power response
92
1

90

f

88
86
84
82
80

50

0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

~).2

300

0

50

100

b

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

Feedforward and feedback components
of steam valve demand

Pressure response
106

E

__.............._,'.......................................
\

0

1

0.8
104

,~ 0.6
o.4

102

0.2

I

i

o

100
50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

~0.2

300

|

i
0

5'0

100

200

300

Time (s)
Feedforward and feedback components
of feedwater valve demand

Level deviation response
20
1

0.8

I0

0.6
0

0.4-0.2

-10

0

.....

.........
....

-20
0
e

.,, t ...............
,3

/" ..........................

~).2
50

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

50
f

100

150 200
Time (s)

250

300

Figure 8.24 Feedforwardand feedback contributions to control signals for disturbance rejection

8.8

Summary and conclusions

This c h a p t e r p r e s e n t e d the d e s i g n o f a k n o w l e d g e - b a s e d f e e d f o r w a r d controller
that e x t e n d s the existing f e e d b a c k control s y s t e m o f a fossil fuel p o w e r unit to
e n h a n c e its l o a d - f o l l o w i n g capabilities. T h e resulting f e e d f o r w a r d / f e e d b a c k control

Extending plant load-following capabilities

239

scheme allows a better distribution of the control tasks. The reference feedforward
control improves the manoeuvrability of the power unit throughout the range of
operation, while the existing feedback control compensates for uncertainties and
unknown disturbances around the commanded trajectories. The feasibility of the
proposed knowledge-based feedforward controller to effectively enhance the loadfollowing capabilities of a fossil fuel power unit was demonstrated through simulation
experiments.
The MIMO feedforward controller was designed as a set of MISO fuzzy inference
systems that approximate the inverse steady-state behaviour of the power unit across
the entire operating range. The fuzzy inference systems are implemented as TSK
fuzzy systems, which may be represented by a feedforward neural network. Tuning
of the fuzzy systems is carried out through a supervised neural learning procedure
based on a set of input-output data patterns that can be directly measured at the power
plant. This approach makes it feasible to apply the feedforward controller in an actual
plant. Furthermore, the proposed design procedure can be fully automated for on-site
design, and any of the TSK fuzzy systems can be easily programmed into the FFPU
control system software as a function that evaluates the fuzzy system output formula
(8.8). These features make the proposed feedforward/feedback control approach an
economically competitive option to enhance the load-following capabilities of any
computer-controlled power plant.

8.9

Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by NSF under grants INT-9605028 and ECS9705105, The Pennsylvania State University, the Electrical Research Institute
(liE-Mexico), and the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt Mexico). Thanks to Mr Rafael Chfivez and Dr Salvador Gonz~ilez for promoting
innovative research and development at liE.

8.10

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