The reactor modeling and recipe optimization of conventional semibatch polyether polyol processes, in particular for the polymerization of propylene oxide to make polypropylene glycol, is addressed. A rigorous mathematical reactor model is first developed to describe the dynamic behavior of the polymerization process based on first-principles including the mass and population balances, reaction kinetics, and vapor-liquid equilibria. Next, the obtained differential algebraic model is reformulated by applying a nullspace projection method that results in an equivalent dynamic system with better computational performance. The reactor model is validated against plant data by adjusting model parameters. A dynamic optimization problem is then formulated to optimize the process recipe, where the batch processing time is minimized, given a target product molecular weight as well as other requirements on product quality and process safety. The dynamic optimization problem is translated into a nonlinear program using the simultaneous collocation strategy and further solved with the interior point method to obtain the optimal control profiles. The case study result shows a good match between the model prediction and real plant data, and the optimization approach is able to significantly reduce the batch time by 47%, which indicates great potential for industrial applications. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 2515–2529, 2013
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.