Get access

Averting extinction in autothermal catalytic reactor operations

Authors

  • S. G. Metchis,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
    Current affiliation:
    1. Shell Development Co., Westhollow Research Center, Houston, TX
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. S. Foss

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

A multiloop control system and an on-line reactor operability analysis were developed for the purpose of detecting and averting extinction of the autothermal state of a laboratory catalytic reactor. The reactor system consisted of a feed-effluent heat exchanger and two packed beds in which the exothermic reaction between hydrogen and oxygen occurred.

The strategy of control was based on the preservation of the relative stability of the autothermal steady state when the reactor experienced large changes in feed concentration and flow rate. Such a strategy involved a model-based prediction of reactor conditions that so preserved stability, and a procedure to guide the process rapidly and smoothly to those new conditions. Experiments demonstrated the successful avoidance of extinction and the orderly attainment of new operating conditions in about three reactor-system time constants. The procedures developed could serve as a component of an on-line expert system for safe reactor operations.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary