State estimator design for multicomponent batch distillation columns

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Yildiz U., Gurkan U., Ozgen C., Leblebicioglu K.

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH & DESIGN, vol.83, pp.433-444, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 83
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1205/cherd.03318
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.433-444
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In the control of batch distillation columns, one of the problems is the difficulty in monitoring the compositions. This problem can be handled by estimating the compositions from readily available online temperature measurements using a state estimator. In this study, a state estimator that infers the product composition in a multicomponent batch distillation column (MBDC) from the temperature measurements is designed and tested using a batch column simulation. An extended Kalman filter (EKF) is designed as the state estimator and is implemented for performance investigation on the case column with eight trays separating the mixture of cyclo-hexane, n-heptane and toluene. EKF parameters of the diagonal terms of process noise covariance matrix and those of measurement model noise covariance matrix are tuned in the range where the estimator is stable and selected basing on the least IAE score. Although NC-1 temperature measurements is sufficient considering observability criteria, using NC measurements spread through out the column homogeneously improves the performance of EKF estimator. The designed EKF estimator is successfully used in the composition-feedback inferential control of MBDC operated under variable reflux-ratio policy with an acceptable deviation of 0.5-3% from the desired purity level of the products.