A hierarchical physical model-based approach to predictive control of a thermal power plant for efficient plant-wide disturbance rejection

G Prasad, GW Irwin, E Swidenbank, BW Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Extending the work presented in Prasad et al. (IEEE Proceedings on Control Theory and Applications, 147, 523–37, 2000), this paper reports a hierarchical nonlinear physical model-based control strategy to account for the problems arising due to complex dynamics of drum level and governor valve, and demonstrates its effectiveness in plant-wide disturbance handling. The strategy incorporates a two-level control structure consisting of lower-level conventional PI regulators and a higher-level nonlinear physical model predictive controller (NPMPC) for mainly set-point manoeuvring. The lower-level PI loops help stabilise the unstable drum-boiler dynamics and allow faster governor valve action for power and grid-frequency regulation. The higher-level NPMPC provides an optimal load demand (or set-point) transition by effective handling of plant-wide interactions and system disturbances. The strategy has been tested in a simulation of a 200-MW oil-�red power plant at Ballylumford in Northern Ireland. A novel approach is devized to test the disturbance rejection capability in severe operating conditions. Low frequency disturbances were created by making random changes in radiation heat �ow on the boiler-side, while condenser vacuumwas �uctuating in a random fashion on the turbine side. In order to simulate high-frequency disturbances, pulse-type load disturbances were made to strike at instants which are not an integral multiple of the NPMPC sampling period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-128
JournalTransactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


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