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Optimal operation of parallel dead-end filters in a continuous bio-based process

Bähner, F.D., Santacoloma, P.A., Huusom, J.K.
Food and bioproducts processing 2019 v.114 pp. 263-275
case studies, filters, filtration, guidelines, mathematical models, prediction, process control, raw materials, uncertainty
Dead-end cake filtration as one of the first unit operations deployed in biochemical production plants has been subject of academic investigation for many decades. The recurrent discrete reinitialisation events are challenging from a process control point of view, especially in a continuous downstream line. The complexity that arises when multiple units are operated in parallel seems to have received little attention. This work aims at illustrating this complexity and delineates the arising plantwide control problem. Guidelines for optimised operation are derived from general process understanding and at hand of an industrial case study. The need for a predictive model to solve multiple scheduling problems is identified, and a mathematical model based on conventional filtration theory is derived. Due to raw material variability and operational uncertainties, the predictions are found to be too imprecise for deployment. This is expected to be representative of many bio-based processes, where manual scheduling needs to be integrated effectively into plantwide control structures.