Demonstration of applied linear model predictive control for an enzymatic reactive dividing wall column

Hamburg University of Technology
  • Dividing wall column
  • Enzymatic reactive distillation
  • Model predictive control
  • Reactive distillation
  • Reactive dividing wall column
  • Transesterification
  • The synergistic integration of different processing steps in multifunctional units offers huge potential for bioprocess intensification. Especially reactive separation technologies have been widely applied in chemical processes, with reactive distillation being termed the front-runner of industrial process intensification. The concept can be transferred to bioprocesses in terms of enzymatic reactive distillation, which can further be intensified through thermal coupling with a subsequent distillation column into an enzymatic reactive dividing wall column. While such a highly integrated process offers considerable potential for operational and investment cost savings, it also faces operational challenges and limitations caused by the strong degree of integration and the temperature sensitivity of the biocatalyst, that need to be addressed by a sophisticated process control system. The current study demonstrates the applicability and efficiency of a linear model predictive control approach for the enzymatic reactive dividing wall column in a pilot plant application. The transesterification of butanol and hexyl acetate to hexanol and butyl acetate, catalyzed by the enzyme CalB (Novozym 435), serves as a model reaction. The control performance is illustrated for a setpoint adjustment and a feed disturbance, for which a comparative evaluation with an established PI-control approach is conducted.
DOI 10.1016/j.cherd.2021.12.008
TUHH Open Research

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