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Keywords:

  • dynamic optimization;
  • partial shutdowns;
  • model predictive control;
  • multi-unit systems;
  • abnormal situation management

A systematic strategy for optimal plant operation during partial shutdowns is proposed. We consider the situation where one or more process units are shut down due to failure or maintenance but where the remaining units are able to continue operation to some degree. The goal of the strategy is to manipulate the plant degrees-of-freedom—during and after the shutdown—such that production is restored in a cost-optimal fashion while meeting safety and operational constraints. Optimal control trajectories are obtained through the solution of a dynamic optimization problem. A novel multitiered optimization approach allows the prioritization of multiple competing objectives and the specification of trade-offs between them. Uncertainty in the downtime estimate, a crucial parameter in shutdown optimization, is addressed through reoptimization. We employ a transient predictive control algorithm for implementing the computed control policy under feedback. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 4151–4168, 2013