Model predictive control for ethanol steam reformers with membrane separation

Journal Article (2017)


International Journal of Hydrogen Energy







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This paper focuses on the dynamic modelling and the predictive control of an ethanol steam reformer (ESR) with Pd-Ag membrane separation stage for the generation of pure hydrogen. Hydrogen purity necessary to feed a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is required. A non-linear dynamic model of the ESR is developed together with a procedure for adjusting the model parameters in order to fit a bank of experimental data of a real ESR system. Static and dynamic analysis of the non-linear ESR model is presented. From this non-linear model, a linear, reduced order and discretised model is derived and a model predictive controller (LMPC) is designed for the ESR system. Control objectives are pure hydrogen flowrate tracking and ethanol inlet minimization. Comparisons between the non-linear and linear models are carried out to determine the control constraints. Finally, simulation results for the implemented LMPC controller are presented and discussed.


control theory, optimisation, predictive control.

Author keywords

Ethanol steam reformer, staged-separation membrane reactor, control-oriented model, linear model predictive control

Scientific reference

M. Serra, C. Ocampo-Martínez, M. Li and J. Llorca. Model predictive control for ethanol steam reformers with membrane separation. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 42(4): 1949-1961, 2017.