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Extended State Observer Based Robust Feedback Linearization Control Applied to an Industrial CSTR


In the chemical and petrochemical industry, the Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors (CSTR) are, without doubt, one of the most popular processes. From a control point of view, the mathematical model describing the temporal evolution of the CSTR has a strongly nonlinear crosscoupled character. Moreover, modeling errors such as external disturbances, neglected dynamics, and parameter variations or uncertainties make its control task a very difficult challenge. Even though this problem has been the subject of a wide number of control strategies, this article attempts to propose a viable, robust, nonlinear decoupling control scheme. The idea behind the proposed approach lies in the design of two nested control loops. The inner loop is responsible for the compensation of the nominal model nonlinear cross-coupled terms via static nonlinear feedback; whereas the outer loop, designed around an Extended State Observer (ESO) of which the additional state gathers the global effect of modeling errors, is charged to instantaneously estimate, and then to compensate the ESO extended state. This way, the CSTR complex dynamics are reduced to a series of decoupled linear subsystems easily controllable using a simple Proportional-Integral (PI) linear control to ensure the robust pursuit of reference signals respecting the desired performance. The presented control validation was performed numerically by an objective comparison to a classical PID controller. The obtained results clearly show the viability and the effectiveness of the proposed control strategy for dealing with such nonlinear, strongly crosscoupled plants subject to a wide range of disturbances despite the precision of their described mathematical model.