Use of Multivariate Statistical Methods for Control of Chemical Batch Processes

  • Eduardo Lopez Montero

Student thesis: Phd


In order to meet tight product quality specifications for chemical batch processes, it is vital to monitor and control product quality throughout the batch duration. However, the frequent lack of in situ sensors for continuous monitoring of batch product quality complicates the control problem and calls for novel control approaches. This thesis focuses on the study and application of multivariate statistical methods to control product quality in chemical batch processes. These multivariate statistical methods can be used to identify data-driven prediction models that can be integrated within a model predictive control (MPC) framework. The ideal MPC control strategy achieves end-product quality specifications by performing trajectory tracking during the batch operating time. However, due to the lack of in-situ sensors, measurements of product quality are usually obtained by laboratory assays and are, therefore, inherently intermittent. This thesis proposes a new approach to realise trajectory tracking control of batch product quality in those situations where only intermittent measurements are available. The scope of this methodology consists of: 1) the identification of a partial least squares (PLS) model that works as an estimator of product quality, 2) the transformation of the PLS model into a recursive formulation utilising a moving window technique, and 3) the incorporation of the recursive PLS model as a predictor into a standard MPC framework for tracking the desired trajectory of batch product quality. The structure of the recursive PLS model allows a straightforward incorporation of process constraints in the optimisation process. Additionally, a method to incorporate a nonlinear inner relation within the proposed PLS recursive model is introduced. This nonlinear inner relation is a combination of feedforward artificial neural networks (ANNs) and linear regression. Nonlinear models based on this method can predict product quality of highly nonlinear batch processes and can, therefore, be used within an MPC framework to control such processes. The use of linear regression in addition to ANNs within the PLS model reduces the risk of overfitting and also reduces the computational e↵ort of the optimisation carried out by the controller. The benefits of the proposed modelling and control methods are demonstrated using a number of simulated batch processes.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorOgnjen Marjanovic (Supervisor) & Joaquin Carrasco Gomez (Supervisor)


  • batch processes
  • principal component analysis
  • artificial neural networks
  • partial least squares
  • model predictive control
  • statistical process control

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