Heat integration is essential for reducing the energy consumption of process industries. However, it may render the dynamic operation more interactive and difficult to control. This paper assesses the implications of heat integration in controllability and performance in energy reduction. The assessment, both on open loop and closed loop, was carried out based on an industrial case study and compared to a modified case without heat integration. Although the heat integrated system displayed a certain deterioration of controllability, the control system made possible an efficient operation. To this goal, different control systems were tested, from a decentralized control system to a model predictive controller. The type of controller used in the process barely influenced the performance of the process since the aim was exclusively to ensure the regulation of the process to fixed setpoints. The reduction of energy consumption achieved thanks to heat integration was considerably larger than the losses due to poor control of the process, confirming the importance of heat integration in energy intensive processes.
Chemical Engineering and Processing, 2013, Vol 67
Heat integration; Distillation; Controllability; Decentralized control; Model predictive control