www.elsevier.com/locate/sysconle
Robust PI stabilization of a class of chemical reactors
Jose AlvarezRamirez
a,
, Ricardo Femat
b
a
Departamento de Ingenieria de Procesos e Hidraulica, Universidad Autonoma MetropolitanaIztapalapa, Apartado Postal 55534,
09340 Mexico D.F., Mexico
b
Facultad de Ciencias Quimicas, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Received 22 September 1998; received in revised form 31 May 1999; accepted 1 July 1999
Abstract
The aim of this letter is to study the stabilization of a class of continuousstirred tank reactors in the face of control input
saturations and uncertain chemical kinetics. A rstorder compensator with modeling error compensation is designed, and
its ability to stabilize the reactor temperature at an arbitrary setpoint is proven. It is shown that the resulting controller is
equivalent to a standard PI compensator with antireset windup scheme. c 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Process control; Chemical reactors; Robust stabilization; Integral action; Antireset windup
1. Introduction
Chemical reactors are the most important opera
tion units in the chemical industry. The stabilization
of the operation of chemical reactors has attracted
the attention of researchers for a long time. The
underlying motivation relies on the fact that industrial
chemical reactors are frequently operated at unstable
operating conditions, which often corresponds to op
timal process performance. Polymerization processes
[3,18] and uidized catalyst cracking units [11] are
important examples of largescale chemical reactors
operated at unstable conditions.
In virtually all presentday industrial applications,
the basic reactor temperature regulation problem is
eciently solved using proportional plus integral
(PI) controllers. On the other hand, important factors
such as (i) uncertain nonlinearities induced by chem
ical kinetics, (ii) exothermicity due to the chemical
1 = 0(1
in
1) + H
T
r(c, 1) + (u 1),
(1)
where c R
n
is the vector of reactor concentrations
of the chemical species, c
in
R
n
is the vector of non
negative and constant inlet concentrations, 1 R is
the reactor temperature, 1
in
R is the inlet tempera
ture, r(c, 1) R
m
is the vector of nonnegative reac
tion kinetics, E R
nm
is the stoichiometric matrix,
H R
m
is the vector of reaction heats, 0 is the dilu
tion rate, is a heat transfer coecient and u is the
jacket temperature, which is taken as the control input.
In order to ensure wellposedness of the CSTR
model with respect to mass conservation, the follow
ing assumptions are made [7,10,19]:
Assumption 1 (Principle of mass conservation).
There exists a positive vector c R
n
, such that
c
T
E = 0.
The equality c
T
E = 0 states that what is produced
by the reaction system is not larger than what is con
sumed [10,19]. As a consequence of Assumption 1, it
can be shown that the polyhedral compact set C
p
=
{c R
n
: c
T
(c
in
c)60, c
i
0, 16i6n} is posi
tively invariant under the dynamics of the CSTR [19,
Proposition 1].
Assumption 2. (i) r(c, 0)=0, which implies that there
is no reaction activity at the absolute zero (Kelvin)
temperature, and (ii) r(c, 1) j, for all c C
p
and
1 R
+
.
The rst part of the above assumption is related to
the thermodynamic consistency of the chemical kinet
ics model [9].
Proposition 1. Assume that the jacket temperature
u(t) is positive and bounded, for all t 0. Under
Assumption 1, there exists a temperature 1
1
0 such
that the interval of temperatures (0, 1
1
) is a positively
invariant domain.
Proof. From Assumption 2(i), we have that
1 =
01
in
+ u 0, for 1 = 0 and all c C
p
. On
the other hand, Assumption 2(ii) implies that
1 0(1
in
1) + j + (u
m
1) for all c C
p
,
where u
m
=max
t0
u(t) . Take 1
1
def
=(01
in
+j+
u
m
)}(0+j). Then
1 0, for all c C
p
and 1 1
1
.
These arguments prove that the domain is positively
invariant.
The compact set D
p
= C
p
[0, 1
1
] can be taken
as the physical domain of existence of the CSTR. In
J. AlvarezRamirez, R. Femat / Systems & Control Letters 38 (1999) 219225 221
actual industrial applications, initial conditions to be
stabilized are contained in a neighborhood W D
p
of
the operating point. In this way, and from a practical
viewpoint, temperature stabilization of chemical reac
tors is actually a problem of robust stabilization on
compacta.
3. Control problem statement
The control problem under consideration is to sta
bilize the reactor temperature at an arbitrary set point
1
r
0, with respect to a given compact set of ini
tial conditions W D
p
. The control problem will be
studied under the following additional assumptions.
Assumption 3 (Minimumphase assumption). The
isothermal dynamics c = 0(c
in
c) + Er(c, 1
r
) are
globally asymptotically stable at the single equilib
rium point c C
p
.
Assumption 4. Only uid owrates (0) and tempera
tures (1, 1
in
and u) are measured.
Assumption 5. The vector of reaction kinetics r(c, 1)
is an unknown function and C
2
with respect to its
arguments.
Assumption 6. The jacket temperature is restricted
to take values into the domain [u
min
, u
max
], where
0 u
min
u u
max
and the nominal input u is given
by u = [0(1
in
1
r
) + H
T
r( c, 1
r
) 1
r
]}.
Remark 1. Some comments regarding the above as
sumptions are in order. (i) Several industrial chemi
cal reaction systems are minimumphase in the sense
of the Assumption 3 [7], including catalytic reactions
of the petrochemical industry. (ii) Temperatures are
routinely measured in the industry; temperature mea
surement devices are inexpensive and highly accurate.
Concentrations are rarely measured because measure
ment devices (chromatographs, etc.) are quite expen
sive and in most cases, the measurements require an
unacceptable long period, which can be unsuitable for
reactor stabilization. (iii) Although modeling of reac
tion kinetics is a very active research area [9], the com
puted models are often highly uncertain. Assumption
5 considers the worst case where a reaction kinetics
model is unavailable. (iv) Finally, due to limitations
in cooling}heating equipment, the jacket temperature
is subjected to saturation constraints. In actual indus
trial applications, the operation margin u
max
u
min
is
of the order of 80 K.
4. Design of a state feedback
Let us introduce the change of coordinates x =c c
and , = 1
1. In this coordinate frame, system (1)
can be written as follows:
x = 0(x
in
x) + ER(x, ,),
, =t
1
n
, + H
T
R(x, ,) + [(1
r
) + u,
(2)
where x
in
=c
in
c, R(x, ,) =r(x + c, , +1
r
), t
1
n
=
0 + 0 and [(1
r
) =0(1
in
1
r
) +1
r
. The physical
domain D
p
=C
p
[0, 1
1
] is consequently mapped into
the translated physical domain D
p
=C
p
[1
r
, 1
1
1
r
],
where C
p
={x R
n
: x = c c, c C
p
}.
It is noted that the I}O map u , has relative de
gree one. Consider that the desired closedloop per
formance is specied through the reference model
, =t
1
c
,, where t
c
0 is a prescribed closedloop
time constant. This closedloop behavior can be at
tained by linearizing the input}output map u , via
the following state feedback function:
u = [(x, ,), (3)
where
[(x, ,) = [ H
T
R(x, ,) [(1
r
) + (t
1
n
t
1
c
),]}.
(4)
Proposition 2. The closedloop systemformed by the
CSTR (2) and the feedback function (3), (4) is glob
ally asymptotically stable about the origin with re
spect to the physical domain D
p
.
Proof. The controlled temperature dynamics , =
t
1
c
, are globally asymptotically stable. The result
can be easily established by using Assumption 3 and
Lemma A.1 in [19].
To accomplish for bounded input constraint
(Assumption 6), a saturated version of the control
law (3) will be considered [1]:
u = Sat([(x, ,)), (5)
where the saturation function is given by
Sat(t) =
u
max
if tu
max
,
t if u
min
t u
max
,
u
min
if t6u
min
.
(6)
222 J. AlvarezRamirez, R. Femat / Systems & Control Letters 38 (1999) 219225
The resulting closedloop system is
: = [
0
(:), (7)
where : = (x
T
, ,)
T
R
n+1
and
[
0
(:)
=
0(x
in
x) + ER(x, ,)
t
1
n
,+H
T
R(x, ,)+[(1
r
)+Sat([(x, ,))
.
It is likely that in some cases, control input satura
tions might defeat the global stabilization property [1].
However, preservation of the asymptotic stability of
the origin under the saturated feedback (5) is ensured
by the assumption that u
min
u u
max
[1]. In fact,
Sat([(x, ,))=[(x, ,) is satised in a neighborhood of
the origin. Let O
0
R
n+1
be the region of attraction of
the origin for the system (7). The set O
0
is positively
invariant and all trajectories of the closedloop system
(7) starting into O
0
converge asymptotically to the
origin. If D
p
O
0
, we will say that the closedloop
system (7) is GAS with respect to the physical
domain D
p
.
Fact 1. By applying a converse Lyapunov theorem
(see [16] for example), we know the existence of a
C
1
function J : O
0
R
+
which is positivedenite
on O
0
\ {0}, proper on O
0
and satises
:
1
(:)6J(:),
J
(7)
Q(:),
where the function :
1
: R
+
R
+
is strictly increasing
and onto and the function Q: O
0
R
+
is continuous
and positivedenite on O
0
\ {0}.
In the next section, we will show that any compact
set of initial conditions contained in O
0
can be driven
to the origin by means of an erroractuated rstorder
compensator.
5. Design of a dynamic output feedback
Let p(t) be an estimate of the modeling error. Then,
the certainty equivalence control law becomes
u = Sat((,, p)), (8)
where
(x, p) = [ p [(1
r
) + (t
1
n
t
1
c
),]}. (9)
To construct an estimator for the modeling error
signal p(t), let us represent the system (5) as an
extendedstate system in the following form:
x = 0(x
in
x) + ER(x, ,),
, =t
1
n
, + p + [(1
r
) + u,
p = I(x, ,, u),
(10)
where I(x, ,, u) is the time derivative of the modeling
error signal p(t) = H
T
R(x(t), ,(t)) and is given by
I(x, ,, u) = H
T
[(c
x
R)[
1
(x, ,) + (c
,
R)[
2
(x, ,, u)],
(11)
where [
1
(x, ,)=0(x
in
x)+ER(x, ,) and [
2
(x, ,, u)=
t
1
n
, + H
T
R(x, ,) + [(1
r
) + u. It is noted that,
since the modeling error signal p(t) is unknown, its
time derivative I(x(t), ,(t), u(t)) is correspondingly
unknown. In the statespace representation (10), the
modeling error is seen as a new state whose dynamics
can be reconstructed from measurements of the sys
tem temperatures 1, 1
in
and u. In fact, we have that
p(t)= ,(t)+t
1
n
,(t)[(1
r
)u(t), which evidences
a kind of strong observability [5] of the modeling error
signal p(t). We can take advantage of this observabil
ity property to propose an observerbased estimator
for the modeling error signal p(t).
Let o
m
= , + t
1
n
, [(1
r
) u be an equiva
lent measured output. Note that o
m
depends only on
measured signals and the output time derivative.
Moreover, o
m
(t) = p(t), for all t0. To estimate the
modeling error signal p(t), the following reducedorder
observer is proposed:
p = t
1
e
(o
m
p) (12)
where t
e
0 is the estimation time constant. Since
o
m
(t) = ,(t) +t
1
n
,(t) [(1
r
) u(t), we have that
p = t
1
e
( , + t
1
n
, [(1
r
) u p). (13)
Introduce the variable w=t
e
p,. Then, the estimator
(13) is implemented as
w = t
1
n
, [(1
r
) u t
1
e
(w + ,),
p = t
1
e
(w + ,).
(14)
This estimator can be initialized as follows. Since the
signal p(t) is unknown, the initial estimate p(0) = 0
can be taken, so that w(0) =,(0).
Proposition 3. The control lawgiven by the feedback
function (8) and the modeling error estimator (14)
is equivalent to a PI controller with antireset wind
(ARW) scheme.
J. AlvarezRamirez, R. Femat / Systems & Control Letters 38 (1999) 219225 223
Proof. Take
u
c
def
= (x, p) = [ p [(1
r
) + (t
1
n
t
1
c
),]}
(15)
as the computed control input and u = Sat(u
c
) as the
actual control input. From (9) and (13), we obtain that
the computed control input is given by
u
c
=
1
t
e
s + 1
u
t
e
s
(t
e
s + 1)
[(1
r
)
+
t
e
(t
1
n
t
1
c
t
1
e
)s t
1
c
(t
e
s + 1)
,, (16)
where s denotes the Laplace variable. If the control
input is not subjected to saturations, then u = u
c
. In
this case, the computed control input becomes
u
c
=[(1
r
)} + K
c
1 +
1
t
I
s
, (17)
which is a control law composed by the precompen
sator [(1
r
)} and by a standard PI compensator with
control gain K
c
and integral time t
I
0 given by
K
c
= (t
1
e
+ t
1
c
t
1
n
)},
t
I
= t
e
t
c
(t
1
e
+ t
1
c
t
1
n
).
(18)
In the general case where the computed control input is
subjected to saturations, the corresponding controller
equations can be written as follows:
u
c
=[(1
r
)}
+K
c
, + t
1
I
t
0
, +
t
I
K
c
t
e
[u
c
u]
do
(19)
which shows that the proposed control law contains
an ARW scheme of feedback nature [14] given by
t
I
K
c
t
e
[u
c
u]. (20)
In this way, when the control input is saturated, the
above feedback signal drives the error u
c
u to zero by
recomputing the integral such that the controller output
u
c
is exactly at the saturation limit. This prevents the
controller from winding up [14].
We conclude that the modeling error estimation
scheme (14) endows the proposed controller with a
natural ARW structure. By virtue of this structure, the
rstorder lter (14) is able to provide an asymptotic
estimate of the modeling error signal p(t) in spite of
control input saturations.
Remark 2. If and t
n
are interpreted respectively as
the identied highfrequency gain and openloop time
constant of a given plant, the equations in (18) provide
an interesting (t
c
, t
e
)parameterization of the control
gain and integral time for standard PI control. Such
parameterization is quite interesting because it pro
vides a conguration for the design of better, faster
and more ecient tuning procedures. In fact, the tun
ing of t
c
and t
e
is particularly easy to carry out in view
of the fact that, up to the point where the inuence
of nonmodeled plant behavior is no longer negligible,
the velocity of response of the closedloop system in
creases monotonically with t
c
and the sensitivity of
the closedloop systemin the face of loaddisturbances
and uncertainties increases monotonically with t
e
.
5.1. Stability analysis
To study the stability properties of the controlled
CSTR, let us compute the closedloop equations. To
this end, introduce the estimation error ,
def
= p p. Then
u=Sat((,, p,))=Sat((,, H
T
R(x, ,),)), which
together with (11) give
E(x, ,, ,)
def
= I(x, ,, Sat((,, H
T
R(x, ,) ,)))
= H
T
[(c
x
R)[
1
(x, ,) + (c
,
R)
[
2
(x, ,, Sat((,, H
T
R(x, ,) ,)))].
(21)
Note that (,, H
T
R(x, ,))) [(x, ,) (see Eq. (4)).
Thus, the certainty equivalence control law (8) be
comes the ideal control law (5) as , 0. In this way,
from Eqs. (5), (7) and (10) and using the fact that
p(t) o
m
(t), the resulting closedloop equations can
be written as follows:
: = [
0
(:) + b
1
[Sat((,, H
T
R(x, ,) ,))
Sat([(x, ,))],
t
e
, =, + t
e
E(x, ,, ,),
(22)
where b
1
=[0, 0, . . . , 0, 1]
T
R
n+1
. For small values of
the estimation time constant t
e
0, the closedloop
system (22) is a singularly perturbed system with
: R
n+1
and , R as the fast and the slow vari
ables, respectively. Furthermore, as a consequence
of the global boundedness of the control input func
tion Sat((,, p)), the righthand side of the slow
variable equation is a bounded function of the fast
224 J. AlvarezRamirez, R. Femat / Systems & Control Letters 38 (1999) 219225
variable , R. The stability of this special structure of
singularly perturbed nonlinear system was studied by
Esfandiari and Khalil [6,13] in a work dealing with
the output stabilization problem of nonlinear systems
via highgain observers (see also [17]).
Our main result can be described in the following
theorem.
Theorem 4. Consider the CSTR described as in (1)
and suppose that the Assumptions 16 are satised.
Given any compact set W contained in the interior of
O
0
R
n+1
and a prescribed closedloop time constant
t
c
0, there exists a maximum estimation time con
stant t
e
for the PI controller with antireset windup
scheme (8), (14) such that, for all 0 t
e
t
e
, the
equilibrium point ( c, 1
r
) R
n+1
of the closedloop
system is asymptotically stable and the set W is in
cluded in the region of attraction.
Proof. Since the Lyapunov function J(:) is proper on
O
0
R
n+1
, there exists a positive constant :
2
such that
W H
def
={:: J(:)6:
2
+1}. Introduce the following
functions:
[(:, ,) = b
1
[Sat((,, H
T
R(x, ,) ,))
Sat([(x, ,))],
(:, ,) = E(x, ,, ,).
Note that
[(:, 0)=0 and (0, 0)=0. It can be veried
that there exists a positive number v
1
and a bounded
continuous function 0 with 0(0) = 0 satisfying

[(:, ,)60(,)
 (:, ,)6v
1
,
for all (:, ,) HR.
On the other hand, since p(0) = 0, we have that the
initial condition ,(0) satises ,(0)6v
2
, where v
2
=
max
:W
H
T
R(x, ,) and independent of t
e
. It
follows from the robust observer lemma ([17, Lemma
2.4]; see also [13, Theorem 1]) that there exists a max
imum estimation time constant t
e
0 such that, for
all 0 t
e
t
e
, the origin of the closedloop system
(22) is asymptotically stable and all trajectories start
ing in W converge to the origin as t . Moreover,
:(t) :(t; t
e
) uniformly as t
e
0, for t t
1
0,
where :(t) and :(t; t
e
) are respectively the trajecto
ries of the closedloop system under state and output
feedback, and initial condition :(0) = :
0
W.
Remark 3. The above result gives a regional
(semiglobal) stabilization result with respect to the
region of attraction O
0
, under state feedback and
known chemical kinetics. The result shows that all
trajectories starting in any compact set W contained
in O
0
can be stabilized via output feedback despite
the fact that the reaction kinetics are unknown. In
other words, almost any initial condition stabilized
via state feedback control with perfect knowledge can
be stabilized via a PI control with ARW scheme.
Remark 4. In our control problem framework, sev
eral theoretical questions are still open. In this work,
the uncertainties were related to the chemical kinetics.
In actual industrial applications, uncertainties due to
the heat transfer coecient must be also considered.
In fact, the heat transfer coecient is a complicated
function of heat transfer surface conditions, physical
properties of the uids (density, viscosity, etc.) and
temperature [2]. The ideas presented in this work can
also be used to handle uncertainties in the heat trans
fer coecient by taking the modeling error signal as
p(t)
def
= H
T
R(x(t), ,(t)) + ( )u(t), where 0 is
an estimate of the real heat transfer coecient . In
this case, the resulting output feedback controller is
given as above (Eqs. (8), (9) and (14)) with instead
the real parameter . The PI feedback control structure
with ARW presented in this work is also capable to
deal with uncertainties in the heat transfer coecient
. The proof of this result can be made along the lines
the proof of the Theorem 1.
6. Conclusions
In this work, we studied the stabilization of a class
continuousstirred tank reactors (CSTR) under the as
sumption of unknown chemical kinetics and control
input saturations. The newidea we proposed for robust
stabilization is based on modeling error compensation
techniques and consists of interpreting the modeling
error signal as a new state, whose dynamics are ob
servable from temperature measurements. In this way,
we used a reducedorder observer to estimate the mod
eling error signal, which is subsequently used in the
saturated version of an I}O feedback linearizing feed
back. The resulting controller is shown to be equiva
lent to a standard PI controller with antireset windup
scheme. Our stability analysis showed that, in the limit
as the estimation time constant t
e
0, such a stan
dard PI controller is able to recover the closedloop
performance under state feedback and perfect knowl
edge of the chemical kinetics.
J. AlvarezRamirez, R. Femat / Systems & Control Letters 38 (1999) 219225 225
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