Determination Of Control Structure Of Reactive Distillation Control System In Dimethyl Ether Synthesis

Abdul Wahid, Erwin Firmansyah Saputro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Conventionally, dimethyl ether (DME) was synthesized from methanol and purified using two distillation columns, which contributes about 50-70% to the cost of production. Using reactive distillation process, the conversion of methanol can be enhanced greatly and purifying the DME at the same time, thus reducing the cost of production, significantly. The two processes (reaction and separation) occurred in the same column reduce the number of control valves as the actuator for control system. This makes reactive distillation column is very non-linear in terms of controllability, and therefore the design of control system of such column can be quite a challenge. In this research, the optimum PI controller configuration will be obtained. The parameters for this configuration are the choice of manipulated variable (MV) that can be the feed flow rate or steam flow rate in reboiler and the controlled variable (CV) that can be the most sensitive tray temperature or the production rate. The configuration also including the PI controller tuning by using Auto Tuning Variation (ATV) method. The CV-MV pairing choice results two possible control structures, namely CS 1 and CS 2. The result showed that the tray #5 was the most sensitive tray temperature and selected as CV. The dynamic simulation showed that CS 1 failed to handle -5% disturbance change, while CS 2 succesfully handle up to ±25% disturbance change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 1st International Joint Conference on Science and Technology (IJCST)
PublisherUniversitas Pembangunan Nasional Veteran Jawa Timur
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Dimethyl ether
  • Methanol
  • Reactive Distillation
  • Nonlinearities
  • Control Structure


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