Control For Energy and Sustainability

EPSRC Programme Grant

Project PS-E: Energy from Waste

Manager: Alessandro Astolfi

Investigator: Alessandro Astolfi

Research Staff:

Tudor C. Ionescu (TI) (Research Associate, from 18/01/10 to 30/08/13, moved to University of Sheffield)

Mario Sassano (MS) (Research Assistant, from 01/09/2011 to 31/07/13)

Mark van Logtestyn (ML) (M.Sc. student, University of Groningen, from 27/02/2012 to 03/09/2012)

A. Padoan (AP) (M.Sc. student, University of Padova, from 01/03/13 to 01/09/2013)

G. Scarciotti (GS) (PhD Student, from 01/10/2012)

Collaborators: Dr. S. Bardi (ABB Switzerland)

Orest V. Iftime (University of Groningen, the Netherland)

Jacquelien Scherpen (University of Groningen, the Netherland)

Patrizio Colaneri (Politecnico of Milan, Italy)

Sponsors: ABB

Start date: 01/10/2010

Linked Projects: UT-A, UT-C and UT-D


Industrial waste has been treated in waste incinerators for over a century. The incineration process reduces the waste's volume, and transforms any environmental hazardous components, such as aromatic hydrocarbons or organic solvents, into relatively harmless compounds. Since the incineration process is exothermic, the heat of combustion can be used to generate steam and/or electricity. The steam produced can be used for industrial processes, or for heating, and the electricity can be fed back into the grid.

Incineration processes are traditionally controlled using simple, empirically tuned PI-loops. While this leads to reliable and safe processes, the resulting energy efficiency is poor. Since incineration processes can be accurately modelled by exploiting standard thermodynamic principles, we aim to use these nonlinear dynamic models to improve current waste incineration processes. To obtain global stability and safety guarantees, we plan to address the control, optimization and safe operation problems by developing nonlinear reduced-order models that retain the physical properties of the system, and then use energy-based control methods to design control laws that guarantee global stability and satisfy requisite safety constraints. Controllers of this nature will be developed in conjunction with Projects UT-C and UT-D. They will be assessed in case studies, based on a large-scale physical model of a physical waste incineration process.

*Current Status: *

TI has developed novel results on the problem of model reduction for nonlinear passive systems, and for linear Hamiltonian systems. He is currently working on physics preserving model reduction, i.e. in model reduction problems in which the reduced order model has a physical interpretation compatible with the original system. He is also working on a new notion of moment for nonlinear systems.

MS has worked on numerical methods for the solution of nonlinear balanced truncation problems, introducing the notions of Dynamic Controllability and Observability functions, and exploiting these notions in model reduction problems and in the solution of the so-called sensor deployment problem.

ML has been working on the ABB simulation software and has generated reduced order models achieving zero-moment matching exploiting only input-output data. The models have been used to estimate the waste concentration and the steam production.

AP has been working on the model reduction problem for structured classes of linear systems, such as compartmental systems, and in the derivation of reduced order model achieving moment matching and retaining the physical structure of the underlying system.

GS has worked on the model reduction problem for linear delay systems, extending the notion of moment to this class of systems, and providing parameterized families of delays systems achieving moment matching.

The collaboration with the University of Groningen has been strengthened with the exchange of a Masters student. The work with the Politecnico of Milan has resulted in a journal publication.

Future work will focus on model reduction techniques for large scale nonlinear systems in which the topology of the interconnection is taken into account and on numerical issues.


[SA14a] G. Scariotti and A. Astolfi, Model reduction by moment matching for linear time-delay systems, IFAC World Congress, 24-29 August, Cape Town, 2014

[IAC14] T.C. Ionescu, A. Astolfi, P. Colaneri, Families of moment matching based approximations for high order linear systems, Systems and Control Letters, Volume 64, pp47-56, February 2014

[SA14] M. Sassano and A. Astolfi, Dynamic generalized controllability and observability functions with applications to model reduction and sensor deployment, Automatica, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp1349-1359, 2014

[IA13a] T.C. Ionescu, A. Astolfi, Moment matching for nonlinear port Hamiltonian and gradient systems, IFAC Nolcos, 2013

[IA13] T.C. Ionescu, A. Astolfi, Families of reduced order models that achieve nonlinear moment matching, American Control Conference, 2013

[IA11a] T.Ionescu and A.Astolfi, Families of moment matching based, structure preserving approximations for linear port Hamiltonian systems, Automatica, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 2424–2434, August 2013

[ISIA12] T.C. Ionescu, J.M.A. Scherpen, O.V. Iftime, A. Astolfi, Balancing as moment matching problem, 20th Symposium on Mathematical Theory of Networks and Systems, Melbourne, 2012

[SA12] M. Sassano, A. Astolfi, Dynamic Generalized Controllability and Observability Functions with Applications to Model Reduction,, Conference on Decision and Control, 2012

[II12a] T.C. Ionescu, O.V. Iftime, Moment matching with prescribed poles and zeros for infinite-dimensional systems, American Control Conference, 2012

[IA11] T.Ionescu and A.Astolfi, Moment matching for linear port Hamiltonian systems, 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Orlando, USA, Dec 2011

[A10] A. Astolfi, Model reduction by moment matching for linear and nonlinear systems, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 55,10 pp 2321-2336, Oct 2010

[A10a] A.Astolfi, Model reduction by moment matching, steady-state response and projections, 49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Atlanta GA, USA, Dec 15-17, 2010

[BA10] S.Bardi and A.Astolfi, Modeling and Control of a Waste-to-Energy Plant (Applications of Control), IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol 30, 6, pp 27-37, June 2010

[IA10] T.C.Ionescu and A.Astolfi, On moment matching with preservation of passivity and stability, 49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Atlanta Georgia, December 15-17 2010, Dec., 2010

[DAO09] W. Dib, A. Astolfi, R. Ortega, Model Reduction by Moment Matching for Switched Power Converters, 48th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Shanghai, P.R. China, December 16-18, 2009, Dec., 2009