Processes2016, 4(3), 20; doi:10.3390/pr4030020 (registering DOI) - published 30 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Representing the uncertainties with a set of scenarios, the optimization problem resulting from a robust nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) strategy at each sampling instance can be viewed as a large-scale stochastic program. This paper solves these optimization problems using the parallel Schur complement method developed to solve stochastic programs on distributed and shared memory machines. The control strategy is illustrated with a case study of a multidimensional unseeded batch crystallization process. For this application, a robust NMPC based on min–max optimization guarantees satisfaction of all state and input constraints for a set of uncertainty realizations, and also provides better robust performance compared with open-loop optimal control, nominal NMPC, and robust NMPC minimizing the expected performance at each sampling instance. The performance of robust NMPC can be improved by generating optimization scenarios using Bayesian inference. With the efficient parallel solver, the solution time of one optimization problem is reduced from 6.7 min to 0.5 min, allowing for real-time application.
Processes2016, 4(2), 19; doi:10.3390/pr4020019 - published 6 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hot-melt extrusion is commonly applied for forming products, ranging from metals to plastics, rubber and clay composites. It is also increasingly used for the production of pharmaceuticals, such as granules, pellets and tablets. In this context, mathematical modeling plays an important role to determine the best process operating conditions, but also to possibly develop software sensors or controllers. The early models were essentially black-box and relied on the measurement of the residence time distribution. Current models involve mass, energy and momentum balances and consists of (partial) differential equations. This paper presents a literature review of a range of existing models. A common case study is considered to illustrate the predictive capability of the main candidate models, programmed in a simulation environment (e.g., MATLAB). Finally, a comprehensive distributed parameter model capturing the main phenomena is proposed.
Processes2016, 4(2), 18; doi:10.3390/pr4020018 - published 3 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Steam reforming of ethanol in the membrane reactor using the Pd77Ag23 membrane was evaluated in Ni/CeO2 and Co/CeO2 at atmospheric pressure. At 673 K, the H2 yield in the Pd77Ag23 membrane reactor over Co/CeO2 was found to be higher than that over Ni/CeO2, although the H2 yield over Ni/CeO2 exceeded that over Co/CeO2 at 773 K. This difference was owing to their reaction mechanism. At 773 K, the effect of H2 removal could be understood as the equilibrium shift. In contrast, the H2 removal kinetically inhibited the reverse methane steam reforming at low temperature. Thus, the low methane-forming reaction rate of Co/CeO2 was favorable at 673 K. The addition of a trace amount of Ru increased the H2 yield effectively in the membrane reactor, indicating that a reverse H2 spill over mechanism of Ru would enhance the kinetical effect of H2 separation. Finally, the effect of membrane performance on the reactor performance by using amorphous alloy membranes with different compositions was evaluated. The H2 yield was set in the order of H2 permeation flux regardless of the membrane composition.
Processes2016, 4(2), 17; doi:10.3390/pr4020017 - published 17 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Homogenizers are commonly used to produce oil-in-water emulsions that consist of emulsifier-coated oil droplets suspended within an aqueous phase. The functional attributes of emulsions are usually controlled by selecting appropriate ingredients (e.g., surfactants, co-surfactants, oils, solvents, and co-solvents) and processing conditions (e.g., homogenizer type and operating conditions). However, the functional attributes of emulsions can also be tailored after homogenization by manipulating their composition, structure, or physical state. The interfacial properties of lipid droplets can be altered using competitive adsorption or coating methods (such as electrostatic deposition). The physical state of oil droplets can be altered by selecting an oil phase that crystallizes after the emulsion has been formed. The composition of the disperse phase can be altered by mixing different kinds of oil droplets together to induce inter-droplet exchange of oil molecules. The local environment of oil droplets can be altered by embedding them within hydrogel beads. The aggregation state of oil droplets can be controlled by promoting flocculation. These post-homogenization methods can be used to alter functional attributes such as physical stability, rheology, optical properties, chemical degradation, retention/release properties, and/or gastrointestinal fate.
Processes2016, 4(2), 16; doi:10.3390/pr4020016 - published 11 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a FP7 project (DEMCAMER) that developed materials (catalysts and membranes) and new processes for four industrially relevant reaction processes. In this project, active, stable, and selective catalysts were developed for the reaction systems of interest and their production scaled up to kg scale (TRL5 (TRL: Technology Readiness Level)). Simultaneously, new membranes for gas separation were developed; in particular, dense supported thin palladium-based membranes for hydrogen separation from reactive mixtures. These membranes were successfully scaled up to TRL4 and used in various lab-scale reactors for water gas shift (WGS), using both packed bed and fluidized bed reactors, and Fischer-Tropsch (FTS) using packed bed reactors and in prototype reactors for WGS and FTS. Mixed ionic-electronic conducting membranes in capillary form were also developed for high temperature oxygen separation from air. These membranes can be used for both Autothermal Reforming (ATR) and Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) reaction systems to increase the efficiency and the yield of the processes. The production of these membranes was scaled up to TRL3–4. The project also developed adequate sealing techniques to be able to integrate the different membranes in lab-scale and prototype reactors.
Processes2016, 4(2), 15; doi:10.3390/pr4020015 - published 23 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper presents an experimental study of the self-initiation reaction of n-butyl acrylate (n-BA) in free-radical polymerization. For the first time, the frequency factor and activation energy of the monomer self-initiation reaction are estimated from measurements of n-BA conversion in free-radical homo-polymerization initiated only by the monomer. The estimation was carried out using a macroscopic mechanistic mathematical model of the reactor. In addition to already-known reactions that contribute to the polymerization, the model considers a n-BA self-initiation reaction mechanism that is based on our previous electronic-level first-principles theoretical study of the self-initiation reaction. Reaction rate equations are derived using the method of moments. The reaction-rate parameter estimates obtained from conversion measurements agree well with estimates obtained via our purely-theoretical quantum chemical calculations.