Trajectory Following for the Optimization of a Batch Polymerization Reactor
This paper considers the minimization of batch time for an industrial inverse-emulsion polymerization reactor in the presence of uncertainty. A first optimization study resulted in the current industrial practice of a semi-adiabatic profile (isothermal operation followed by an adiabatic one), where the switching time between the two modes of operation is updated to meet the terminal constraint on reactor temperature, as well as a constraint on residual raw material levels. However, such a procedure requires several batches for convergence and, in addition, cannot compensate the effect of the within-run disturbances. As an alternative, we propose following a temperature trajectory with respect to conversion, for which the conversion is estimated on-line based on temperature measurements. Simulation results show an improved performance compared to the run-to-run strategy, with the additional advantage that this reduction is obtained immediately, i.e. without having to wait for run-to-run convergence.