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Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering

Print version ISSN 0104-6632On-line version ISSN 1678-4383


CUBILLOS, F. A.; ACUNA, G.  and  LIMA, E.L.. Real-time process optimization based on grey-box neural models. Braz. J. Chem. Eng. [online]. 2007, vol.24, n.3, pp.433-443. ISSN 0104-6632.

This paper investigates the feasibility of using grey-box neural models (GNM) in Real Time Optimization (RTO). These models are based on a suitable combination of fundamental conservation laws and neural networks, being used in at least two different ways: to complement available phenomenological knowledge with empirical information, or to reduce dimensionality of complex rigorous physical models. We have observed that the benefits of using these simple adaptable models are counteracted by some difficulties associated with the solution of the optimization problem. Nonlinear Programming (NLP) algorithms failed in finding the global optimum due to the fact that neural networks can introduce multimodal objective functions. One alternative considered to solve this problem was the use of some kind of evolutionary algorithms, like Genetic Algorithms (GA). Although these algorithms produced better results in terms of finding the appropriate region, they took long periods of time to reach the global optimum. It was found that a combination of genetic and nonlinear programming algorithms can be use to fast obtain the optimum solution. The proposed approach was applied to the Williams-Otto reactor, considering three different GNM models of increasing complexity. Results demonstrated that the use of GNM models and mixed GA/NLP optimization algorithms is a promissory approach for solving dynamic RTO problems.

Keywords : Grey-box neural models; Real Time Optimization; Genetic Algorithms.

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