• A robust sustainable optimization & control strategy (RSOCS) for (fed-)batch processes towards the low-cost reduction of utilities consumption

      Rossi, F.; Manenti, F.; Pirola, C.; Mujtaba, Iqbal M. (2016-01-01)
      The need for the development of clean but still profitable processes and the study of low environmental impact and economically convenient management policies for them are two challenges for the years to come. This paper tries to give a first answer to the second of these needs, limited to the area of discontinuous productions. It deals with the development of a robust methodology for the profitable and clean management of (fed-)batch units under uncertainty, which can be referred to as a robust sustainability-oriented model-based optimization & control strategy. This procedure is specifically designed to ensure elevated process performances along with low-cost utilities usage reduction in real-time, simultaneously allowing for the effect of any external perturbation. In this way, conventional offline methods for process sustainable optimization can be easily overcome since the most suitable management policy, aimed at process sustainability, can be dynamically determined and applied in any operating condition. This leads to a significant step forward with respect to the nowadays options in terms of sustainable process management, that drives towards a cleaner and more energy-efficient future. The proposed theoretical framework is validated and tested on a case study based on the well-known fed-batch version of the Williams-Otto process to demonstrate its tangible benefits. The results achieved in this case study are promising and show that the framework is very effective in case of typical process operation while it is partially effective in case of unusual/unlikely critical process disturbances. Future works will go towards the removal of this weakness and further improvement in the algorithm robustness.