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Copyright © IFAC Control Science a nd Technology

(8th Triennial World Congress) Kyoto . J apa n . 1981

A DYNAMIC COMPARISON OF MATERIAL


BALANCE VERSUS CONVENTIONAL CONTROL
OF DISTILLATION COLUMNS

T. J. MeA voy* and K. Weisehedel**


*Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of Maryland,
College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
**Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
Massachusetts 01003, USA
Abstract . Material balance con trol is compared to conventional control via
the use of dynamic distillation co lumn simulations . The obj ective is to
achieve d ual compos ition con trol. Three t ower s rang ing in purity and r ef l ux
ratio are considered . It i s shown that mater i al balance control i s bes t for
tower s with the highest puriti es and refl ux ratios . For towers with l ower
product puri ties and more mode rat e reflux ratios conventional control is
better. The e f fec t of the s ize of the analyser dead -time in determining
which con trol strategy works best i s also s tudi ed . The ques t ion of how to
tune a material balance scheme as well as po te ntia l prob l ems with the non -
material balance loop in such a scheme are tre ated .

Keywords. P r ocess control; d ist illation contro l; dynamic response; dua l


composi t ion contro l; material balance control ; conventiona l contro l.

INTRODUCTI ON

This pape r treats dual compos ition con trol of dicated that ability to dec o upl e d i stil lation
distillation towers. Perfect con trol of composition loops varies from t owe r to tower
column pressure and the base and reflux and it is a s tron g function of A. Indeed,
accumulator levels is assumed . The remaining Weischedel and McAvoy found that the con -
manipulative variables are chosen to control ventional composition loops for towers Band
both x and x. One cho ic e , called conven- C coul d not be decoupled while thos e for
D
tional contro~ , involves pairing L with x co lumn A could be decoupl ed .
and V with x ' Seve ral dynamic s t udies b&th
B
experimental and s imulationa l (Luyben (1970) ; TABLE 1 Parameters for Distillation
Luy ben and Vinante (1972) ; Toijala and Columns Studied (q = 1, x = .5)
F
Fagervik (1972); Wood and Berry (1973); and
Schwanke, Edgar, and Hougen (1977» of this Co l umn Approx. et Product Reflux
pairing have b een presented . A second choice , Sp lit Ratio
ca lled material balance control (Shinskey
A 2.4 .07 -. 93 1. 30
(1969) , (1 977» involves pairing D with x
D B 2. 4 . 02 -. 98 1.71
and V wi t h x or L wi t h x and B with x .
C 1. 65 . 01 -.9 9 4 . 51
Material bal~nce control ~s a common an~
particularly important industrial con trol
technique . However , to date no dynamic si m- It is shown here that conventional con -
ulations or dynamic experimental results for trol works bes t for co l umn A and is poorest
t h is me thod have been presen t ed in t he lit er- for column C. Mat e rial balance contro l on
ature. The purpos e o f this paper i s t o the o t her hand works bes t for co lumn C and
presen t such dynamic simulat i ons . i s poores t for column A. Th ese results
further s trengt hen weischede l and Mc Avoy ' s
COLUMNS STUDIED conc lusio n that in s tudying the app l icability
of any control strategy to dis tillati on i t
The columns stud i es here, label ed A, B, and is impo rtant to conside r a spectr um o f
C, are the same three considered b y We i schedel columns . A technique that wo rk s we ll for one
and McAvoy (1980) in their wo rk on d eco up ling co lumn may fai l on another.
feasibility. The essen tial features of these
three towers are given in Table 1. The three weischedel (1 980) and Weischedel and
towers were selected t o ha ve a small, mode rate, McAvoy (19 80) have discussed t he dynamic
and large value for t he relati ve gain , A mode l s and simulation methods used t o s tudy
(Bristol 19 66) for conventional con trol. The co lumn s A to C. Thus, on l y a brief d i s -
conventional control A' S are 2.3 , 5 . 0 , and cussion is given here . Th e dynami c models
18.6 for col umn s A to C respectively. For are based on the s tandard assumptions: vapor
material balance control A is approximat ely ho ldup is ne g ligible in comparison wi th
constant at .60 for the three t owe rs. A l iquid ho ld up ; each p late acts as an ideal
steady state anal ysis (McAvoy (1979» had in- stage; perfect mixing on each p late and i n

2773
2774 T. J. McAvoy and K. Weischedel

the r ef lux accumulator and r e boiler; adia- TABLE 2 Transfer Function Models for
batic co lumn operation; perfect level control Conventional Control (i 1 (x ),
D
in the ac c umulator and reboiler; perfect
i = 2 (x ) , j = 1 (L), 2 (V))
pressure control and a co nstant pressure drop B
across the p lates ; and energy balance d y namics
Column A Column B Column C
are much faster than mat eri a l balance
dynamics . Dynamic material balances and a .580 .562 .471
steady state energy ba lan ce are written fo r
1. 0 1.0 1. 0
each s ta ge in the column and the resulting
equations are so lved numerically. In 6.3 7 . 74 30.7
Weischedel and McAvoy ' s (1980) simulations
1. 96 7.74 30.7
a 1 minute sampling dead-time was assumed
for t he composition loops . In this s tudy - . 45 0 - .51 6 - .4 95
both a 1 and a 5 minute sampling dead -time
1. 0 1. 5 2.0
are used . A 5 minute dead - time is more
realistic considering the speed of r esponse 5.68 7 .1 28 .5
of the composition measuring devices in
3.0 7.1 28 . 5
service today (Griffen, Parson , and Smith
(1979)) . Al so , t he results fo r th e 1 minute .35 0 .344 . 749
dead-t ime shou l d g ive an indication of t he
1. 28 1.5 1.7
results that can be expected if temperatures
rather than compositions are control l ed . 5.0 15. 8 57 .
.67 .5 57.
TRANSFER FUNCTION MODELS AND
CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN - .480 - . 394 - .832
1.0 1. 0 1. 0
Transfer function models for th e three
columns were developed by step forcing one 4. 7 13.8 50 .5
manipulative variable with the other he l d
. 36 0.4 50.5
constant in the non -l inea r column simulation .
Both positive and negative steps were made.
For columns A, B, and C step changes of 10%,
Tabl e 3 Transfer Function Mod e ls for
2% , and 1 % respectively were made in the
Material Balance Control (i = 1 (x ) ,
manipulative variables . Various transfer D
function models, e.g. first order with dead- i = 2 (x ) , j = 1 (D) , = 2 (V))
B
time , were then fitted using l eas t squares .
The gains of the transfer functions we r e not Co lumn A Co l umn B Column C
fitted but were determined from steady s tat e
- . 71 0 - . 805 - .685
differences . The gains of columns Band C
are high l y non-lin e ar and therefore d ifferent 1. 0 1. 0 1. 0
values were obtained depending on t he direc -
8. 5 18 . 3 11 2 . 4
tion of the forcing. In arriving at final
transfer functions average va l ues for the 1. 85 5.6 13 . 0
gains from the positive and negat i ve steps
were used . Th e F dis tr ibu t ion method d i s-
.14 0 . 055 . 0085 ***
cussed by Law and Bailey (1963) was used to 1. 0 1.0 1.0
discriminate betwe 2n the various dynamic
4 . 84 5.76 16.7
transfer function models which were fitted.
The level of significance for the F te s t .88 1. 25 0 . 30
was 99 . 5% . The final transfer functions
- .4 20 - . 465 - .505
for the three columns are given in Tables 2
and 3 for conventional and ma t erial ba lan ce 1. 0 1. 3 1. 5
contro l for a 1 minute dead -time. For a 5
7.40 28 . 3 1 28.7
minute dead-t ime 4 minutes shou ld be added
t o all of the dead- times in Tables 2 and 3. 0.38 0 . 62 7.5
Transfer functions for feed flow disturbances
were also obtained in th e same manner .
- .130 - . 0 55 - . 00 94 ***
1. 0 1. 0 1. 0
The most interesting aspect of t he
3 . 77 3.30 4.05
transfer function models involves the effect
of V on both x and x for material ba lan ce o o o
control . As cRn be s~en in Tab l e 3 the time
constants and dead -times for thi s r esponse
manipulative variable in a material balance
are fast and they do not change drastical l y
contro l scheme becomes less and l ess . In
from column A to co l umn C. The gains , how-
look in g at t he V - x l oop for columns Band
ever , show a drastic reduction from co l umn
partic ularl y C one c~n anticipate contro l
A to C. This reduction agrees with Jafarey
prob l ems because of the very s mall process
and McAvoy ' s (1 978) observations on material
ga in. The contro ll er simp l y has no process
ba l ance control. As the produc t pur it y and
gain t hro u gh which to work to effec t control.
ref lux ratio increase in a tower the steady
state effect of the non - material ba l ance The t ransfer functions shown in Tables
Material Balance Versus Conventional Control 2775

2 and 3 were implemented on an interactive same. Fig. 4 also shows that the conven-
hydrid computer. PI feedback controllers tional responses are sluggish as steady
were tuned visually and simultaneously for state is approached. This sluggish re-
feed flow changes. The controller settings sponse is characteristic of a control system
were further modified after implementation with a A greater than 1.0 (Shinskey (1979».
in the non-linear digital simulation. The Increasing the sampling dead-time tends to
resulting controller parameters are given in lower the speed of response of a control
Tables 4 and 5. system and to put more emphasis on the
steady state character of the control system
TABLE 4 Controller Settings Used in b ehavior. The relative gain, A, gives an
Digital Simulation (T = 1) accurate measure of this steady state
Conventional Control behavior. The sluggish nature of the con-
Column A Co lumn B Column C ventional responses shows up even more for
columns B and C with a 5 minute dead-time.
KCl 5.5 9.8 59.7
As can be seen in Fig. 5 the x response i s
D
TRl 5.2 5.8 20.5 very slow. Eventually x returns to steady
state, .98, but even aft~r 200 mins. x
KC2 - 7.2 - 12 . 0 - 55.7
only equals .97 for conventional contr&l.
TR2 5.5 5.6 26.2 By contrast, the material balance system
returns to steady state in about 15 0 mins.
Thus, Fig. 5 shows that for co lumn B even
Material Balance Control
though the conventional x response is
better than the material ~alance x
- 6.0 6.0 - 79.
KCl respons~ material balance control ~s superior
T~ 17. 30. 32. for this case because of the very sluggish
x respon se . For a 5 minute dead-time for
KC2 - 5. - 10. - 15. D
column C the digital results shown in Fig.
T~ 3.0 3.25 3.0 6 were generated only up to 200 mins. As
can be seen the material balance system
comes to steady state in about 160 mins.
Even after 200 mins. the conventional
TABLE 5 Controll er Settin2s Used in
respon se stil l shows a significan t deviation
Di2ital Simulation (T = 5)
from steady state. Th e results shown in
Conventional Control Figs. 1 to 6 indicate that for feed flow
Column A Column B Column C forcing mat eria l balance control is better
than conventional control for towers with
KCl 1.1 1.8 6.25
the highest purities, highest reflux ratios
TRl 8.0 12.5 52.0 and the largest sampling dead-times.

KC2 - 1.1 - 2.7 - 7.25


For feed compos ition changes the
T~ 8.0 12.5 50.0 results obtained were similar to those shown
in Figs. 1 to 6 with one exception. For
columns A and B conventional control was
Material Balance Control
superior to material balance contro l for
KCl - 1.9 - 2.5 - 14.0 both the 1 and 5 minute dead-times. For
column C, material balance control was again
T~ 13.0 20.0 62.0
superior. Results for a feed composition
KC2 - 1.25 - 5.0 - 15. 0 increases for columns Band C are shown in
Figs. 7 and 8. Feed composition changes are
T~ 3.7 10.0 12.0
probably more signifi cant in t erms of dual
composition control then feed flow changes
since the latter can be easily compensa ted
SIMULATION RESULTS through feedforward control.

To disturb a column feed flow and com- Since material balance control is
position step changes of + 1 0% were used. widely used in industry, the question of how
Although the shape of the-transient responses to tune such a scheme is important. In Fig.
for positive and negative forcing differed 9 results for three sets of controller
the conclusions drawn were the same in each parameters are shown for material balance
case. In Figs. 1 to 6 results are shown for control of column C. The controller para-
feed flow forcing. If one considers the meters are given in Table 6. For curve 1
ability of a scheme to control both x and the mat eri al balance loop (D-x ) was tightly
x then the following observations be caR tuned and the non-material bal~nce loop was
m~de. Figs. 1 and 2 show that for a 1 minute tuned very loosely. For curve 2 the tuning
dead-time conventional control is superior to of the V-x loop was made tighter. Thi s
B
material balance control for columns A and tightening r esulted in the fact that the
B. By contrast, Figs. 3 and 6 show that for D-x loop had to be detuned somewhat.
D
column C material balance control is superior Finally for curve 3 the gain of the V-x
regardless of the dead-time. For a 5 minute loop was increased even more and the D-~
dead-time for column A Fig. 4 shows that the loop had to be detuned further. If one Pries
response of both control schemes is about the to tune the V-x too tightl y then the steam
B
2776 T. J. McAvoy and K. Weischedel

Table 6 Controller Setting for Column C comes the problems inherent in material
for Material Balance Control (T 5) balance control.
Case 1 Case 2 Case 3
One should not conclude that no
KCl - 16.0 - 14.0 8.8 importance at all should be attached to the
non-material balance loop. For a D-x ,
TRl 57.0 62.0 76.0 D
V-x pairing, tight control of the D-x
B
KC2 5.0 - 15.0 - 30.0 loop will help keep x c l ose to its seg-
point. The s mall gai~ of the V-x loop
12.0 12.0 12.0
TR2 indicates than even sma ll x devi~tions
from setpoint require s igni~icant changes
Case numbers correspond to curves in Figure
in boil up. Thus, significant energy savings
9.
can potentially be achieved from the
operation of the V-x loo p or from feed-
valve will saturate because of the low forward adjustment o~ V to correct for feed
process gain for this loop. flow and/or feed compos ition disturbances.
Jafarey and McAvoy (1980) discuss this
AS can be seen in Fig. 9, tuning a latter case.
material balance scheme results in a trade-
off. Tight control of the D-X loop can be CONCLUSIONS
D
achieved but the V-x loop then exhibits its
poorest response. I~creasing the controller The question of d ual compos iti on con-
gain in the V-x loop imp rove s the perfor- trol of distillation columns has been ex-
mance of this l~op but due to interaction amined. Dynamic column simulations have
the performance of the D-x loop deteriorates. been used to compare conventiona l and material
The best settings found foP column C were balance control. The results of these
those used to generate curve 2. If one simulations have shown that material balance
examines these settings it can be seen that control is most suited for towers with the
the gain of the V-x loop, namely - 15.0, i s highest product purit i es and th e largest
substantially lowerBthan the single loop reflux ratios. Results have been p res ented
ultimate gain value for the V-x loop, namely for both a 1 and 5 minute s ampling dead-
- 210.0. On the other hand, th~ gain for time. The results for the 1 minute dead-
the material balance loop, - 14.0, is con- time can be used to infer results for tray
siderably larger relative to the single loop temperature con trol because of the faster
ultimate gain for the x -0 loop - 37.1. response of temperature mea s uring elements.
This result agrees withDJafarey and McAvoy's For low and moderate puri t y towers, con-
(1978) suggestion that in a material balance ventional control of tray temperatures should
system the material balance loop should be work well. It was shown that the process
tuned tightly and the non-material balance gain for th e non-material balance loop in a
loop should be tuned relatively loosely. material balance scheme is very small. This
small gain nece ssi tat es that the non-
Another interesting set of simulations mat eria l balance loop be put into manual
for material balance control involves the whenever the material balance l oop is off.
individual loop responses with the other It was further shown that the best tuning
loop off. These responses are given in Fig. of a mat e rial balance scheme results when
10. As can be seen turning the V-x loop the non-material balance loop is substan tiall y
off actually helps to improve the r~sponse detuned relative to its sing l e loop settings .
of the D-x loop. The D~xD loop also helps
D
to br~ng x back toward ~ts setpo~nt after a ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
disturbanc~. In effect the O-x is exerting
control over x directly and x Dindirectly. Thi s work was supported by the National
However, if th~ D-x loop is t~rned off the Science Foundation und e r Grant ENG-76-17382.
V-x loop cannot, b~ itself, handle a + 10% The authors wish t o acknowledge the fruitful
cha~ge in feed flow. For such a feed change discussions that they have had with Greg
the V-x loop saturates. Saturation was Shinskey , Ed Bristol and Ca rrol Ryskamp.
B
assumed to occur when the vapor boilup
reached twice its steady state value. The NOHENCLATURE
reason for this saturation is again the small
process gain shown in Table 3. Without the a Relative volatility
material balance loop being operational, the
vapor boilup simply doesn't have enough of an B Bottoms flowrate
effect on x to keep it under control when D Distillate flowrate
a disturban~e occurs. Thus, if the material
balance loop is turned off in a material K .. Process Ga in
J.]
balance scheme, the non-material balance Controller Gain (i = I, distillate,
loop probably will have to be put into KCi
i = 2, bottoms)
manual simultaneously. Otherwise the non-
material balance loop will windup. In a ,\ Relative gain element
recent paper (Tsogas (1981)) an alternate L Reflux flowrat e
dual composition strategy is discussed. This
strategy, proposed by Ryskamp (1980), over- q Feed quality
Material Balance Versus Conventional Control 2777

T .. Larger process time constant (mins.) weischedel, K. (1980). M.S. Dissertation.


LJ University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
TRi Reset Time (i = 1, disti llate; i = 2,
Mass.
bottoms)
Weischedel, K. and T.J. McAvoy (1980).
8 .. Smaller process time cons tant (mins . )
LJ Feasibility of decoupling in conven-
tionally controlled distillation co lumns.
T Anal yse r dead-time (mins.)
IEC Fund. 19, 379.
T .. Process p lus analyser dead -time (mins.) Wood, R. K. and M.N. Berry (1973). Terminal
LJ composition control of a binary dis-
V Vapor boilup
tillation column. Chem. Eng. Sci ., ~ ,
Bottoms composition 1707-1727.
,
Distillate composition .'" . ," ,
Feed compos ition 940 ~ / \

liD " \ I' "

REFERENCES
::~ LEGENO
Bristol , E.H . (1966). On a new measure of
- - - - Mol"taI Balon<.
interaction for multivar iab l e p r ocess - - CotIw..,"_1
control. IEEE Trans . Autom . Control, Fig . 1
AC-ll, 133 . X. 09O~
·r\ Column A
Gr i ffin , D., J . Par son , and D. Smith (1979) . 080 - \ M + 10%
The use of process ana l ysers for com-
.
.
010 -
\
\
\ I
-
/--
T = 1. 0
\ I ........
posit ion cont rol of frac tionator s . '.... ./
060 -
I SA Trans., 1 8( 1), 23 - 31. 20
Jafarey , A., and T.J. McAvoy (1 978) .
Degeneracy of decoupling in d istillation
co lumn s . IEC Process Design Deve l op ., ~,
485-4 90 .
Jafarey , A. , and T. J . McAvoy ( 1 980) . Steady
s tat e fc~dforward control algorithms for
reducin g energy costs in distillation.
,,-,,
ISA Tran s ., 1 9(4) , 89 - 100 . I '

Law, V. , an d Ba il ey , R. (1963) . A method f or


the determination of approximate system
transfer functions . Chem. Eng . Sci .,
1 8 , 1 89 - 202 .
Luyben, W.L. (197 0) . Di sti llation decoupling. Fig . 2
AIChE J. , 1 6 , 198. Oll :\
Column B
Luyben , W.L. , and C.D . Vinan t e (1972). !w + 10%
Experimental s tudies of distillation T = 1.0
decoupling. Kern Teollisuus, 28 , 499 - 514.
McAvoy , T.J. (1979). Steady state decoupling
of distillation columns . IEC Fund., 1 8 ,
269 -2 73 .
Ryskamp , C. (June, 1980). New strategy
improves dual composi tion co lumn con trol.
Hydrocarbon Proc , 59, 51- 59.
Schwanke , C. D., T.F., Edgar, and J . O. Hougen
(1977). Deve l opment of multivariable
cont r o l st rat eg i es for di s tillation
col umn s. ISA Trans., 1 6(4) , 69 - 81 .
Shinskey, F . G. (July 14, 1969). The ma terial
balance concept in distillation control. "
Oil and Gas J . , ~, 76- 83 .

Shinskey , F . G. (1977). Distillation Control


for Productivity and Energy Conservation. Fig . 3
McGraw-Hill , New York , Chap s . 1 and 2. Column C
Sh in skey , F.G. (1979). Process Control LlF + 10%
Sys tems , 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill, New
"
T = 1. 0
York, p . 2 1 0 .
Toijala, K. and K. Fagervik , (1972). A r _ ""'\-........
d i g ita l si mul ation study o f two - po int
0'0'
. -----
feedback con tro l of dis tillation co lumns.
Kern Teollisuus , 28 , 1-12.
Tsogas, A. and T.J. McAvoy ( 1 98 1 ) . Dynamic
simulation of a non -l inear dual com-
pos itio n control scheme. P r oc . 2nd World
Congress of Chem . En g ., Montreal, Oc t.
4 - 9 , 1 98 1.
2778 T. J. McAvoy and K. Weischedel

.99-4 - / ... - .... "

x'~~ _
Fig . 8
IJ O ~ i'\ Fi g . 4 Materi a! Bolorlce
Column C
__ CQnYlnl,Of1OI
, " Column A 022 -
f1xF + 10%

'.
::.,1 \
oeo ..,
I
\
,
f1F
T
+ 10%
5. 0
'.
0 18 "

"
T 5. 0
I .0 14 L / \
\

1 \
\
./ \
010
\ // 0 10 I \,
\
...... .:-
, ,.

'0 . 0 80 120 160 200


I,min

998

/"-- ........ ,

" 990 /::;~~"L~~:.'-~ _


__ _
Fig . 9
Mot"iQlBolonc,
Fig . 5 Column C

'\\ _c_~
."._.
Column B f1F + 10%
'. :::'/\\_ L'lF + 10% T 5.0
0300 ' \
T 5.0 '.
..
1 \\
020
"
"'---"
...... -
. 0

60

,
S94l " 99 .... ~ ~-------
~

"990~ - - Oi."lIat. LoopQU


- - - 801l0'Tl' Loop 011
986 I

030 1 I
LEGE NQ

--- - Mallr ool S.IIonc, Fig . 10


- CDlw""ional

'. Column C
Fig . 6 L'lF + 10%
Column C T = 5. 0
L'lF + 10%
T 5. 0

o' I
'0

.0 •

99 _ ,

" ,~
9.J
Fig. '7
LEGE NO
Column B
f1x + 10%
F
T 5.0

O' .

ZO 60 90

I, m,,,

For Discussion see page 2791