Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 12:30 PM

Reduced-Order Model for Dynamic Optimization of Pressure Swing Adsorption

Anshul Agarwal1, Lorenz T. Biegler1, and Stephen E. Zitney2. (1) Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, (2) Collaboratory for Process and Dynamic Systems Research, National Energy Technology Laboratory, P.O. Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Over the past decades, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) processes have been widely used as energy-efficient gas and liquid separation techniques, especially for high purity hydrogen purification from refinery gases. The separation processes are based on solid-gas equilibrium and operate under periodic transient conditions. Models for PSA processes are therefore multiple instances of partial differential equations (PDEs) in time and space with periodic boundary conditions that link the processing steps together. The solution of this coupled stiff PDE system is governed by steep concentrations and temperature fronts moving with time. As a result, the optimization of such systems for either design or operation represents a significant computational challenge to current differential algebraic equation (DAE) optimization techniques and nonlinear programming algorithms. Model reduction is one approach to generate cost-efficient low-order models which can be used as surrogate models in the optimization problems.

The study develops a reduced-order model (ROM) based on proper orthogonal decomposition (POD), which is a low-dimensional approximation to a dynamic PDE-based model. Initially, a representative ensemble of solutions of the dynamic PDE system is constructed by solving a higher-order discretization of the model using the method of lines, a two-stage approach that discretizes the PDEs in space and then integrates the resulting DAEs over time. Next, the ROM method applies the Karhunen-Love expansion to derive a small set of empirical eigenfunctions (POD modes) which are used as basis functions within a Galerkin's projection framework to derive a low-order DAE system that accurately describes the dominant dynamics of the PDE system. The proposed method leads to a DAE system of significantly lower order, thus replacing the one obtained from spatial discretization before and making optimization problem computationally-efficient.

The method has been applied to the dynamic coupled PDE-based model of a two-bed four-step PSA process for separation of hydrogen from methane. Separate ROMs have been developed for each operating step with different POD modes for each of them. A significant reduction in the order of the number of states has been achieved. The gas-phase mole fraction, solid-state loading and temperature profiles from the low-order ROM and from the high-order simulations have been compared. Moreover, the profiles for a different set of inputs and parameter values fed to the same ROM were compared with the accurate profiles from the high-order simulations. Current results indicate the proposed ROM methodology as a promising surrogate modeling technique for cost-effective optimization purposes. Moreover, deviations from the ROM for different set of inputs and parameters suggest that a recalibration of the model is required for the optimization studies. Results for these will also be presented with the aforementioned results.