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Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Process Modeling, Simulation,


and Control4
Carla I. C. Pinheiro,*, Joana L. Fernandes, Lus Domingues, Alexandre J. S. Chambel, In^es Grac-a,
Nuno M. C. Oliveira, Henrique S. Cerqueira,# and Fernando Ram^oa Ribeiro

Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering (IBB), Department of Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Tecnico/Universidade
Tecnica de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Process Design and Modeling Division, IFP Energies Nouvelles  Lyon, Rond-point de lechangeur de Solaize, B.P. 3,
69360 Solaize, France

Centre for Chemical Processes Engineering and Forest Products (CIEPQPF), Department of Chemical Engineering,
Universidade de Coimbra, R. Slvio Lima  Polo II, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
#
ATP Engenharia, Rua S~ao Jose 90/2201-C, 20010-020 Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the uid catalytic cracking (FCC) process and reviews recent developments in its modeling,
monitoring, control, and optimization. This challenging process exhibits complex behavior, requiring detailed models to express the
nonlinear eects and extensive interactions between input and control variables that are observed in industrial practice. The FCC
models currently available dier enormously in terms of their scope, level of detail, modeling hypothesis, and solution approaches
used. Nevertheless, signicant benets from their eective use in various routine tasks are starting to be widely recognized by the
industry. To help improve the existing modeling approaches, this review describes and compares the dierent mathematical
frameworks that have been applied in the modeling, simulation, control, and optimization of this key downstream unit. Given the
eects that perturbations in the feedstock quality and other unit disturbances might have, especially when associated with frequent
changes in market demand, this paper also demonstrates the importance of understanding the nonlinear behavior of the FCC
process. The incentives associated with the use of advanced model-based supervision strategies, such as nonlinear model predictive
control and real-time optimization techniques, are also presented and discussed.

1. INTRODUCTION
Growing demand for renery products combined with the
decreasing quality of crude oils and tighter product specications
due to environmental constraints is forcing reners to make
signicant investments. In fact, during the past decades, new
hydroprocessing units have been built, together with the revamping of old rening processes to meet market demands.1 In this
context, the use of advanced process engineering tools has become
essential for reners, not only for design but also in the tasks of
process control, optimization, scheduling, and planning. Besides
the application to specic process units, these techniques are also
being used for the entire renery supply chain.2
Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) remains a key unit in many
reneries; it consists of a three-step process: reaction, product
separation, and regeneration. In this cyclic process, gas oils from
vacuum distillation towers and/or residues from atmospheric
distillation towers are converted into lighter and more valuable
products. One of the most desired products is cracked naphtha,
which is the major constituent of the gasoline pool.3 Operating
conditions comprise high reaction temperatures in the range of
750800 K and pressures close to atmospheric conditions. FCC
is able to process a wide variety of feedstocks and is suitable to
operate in special campaigns46 that may also soon include
coprocessing of renewable feedstocks.79 Nowadays, more than
400 FCC units are operated worldwide.10
A multicomponent catalyst that usually contains an acid USHY
zeolite, an active alumina matrix, an inert matrix (kaolin), and a
r 2011 American Chemical Society

binder is responsible for the very large number of reactions involved


in the FCC process.11,12 Dierent additives may also be added to
the FCC catalyst with the purpose of modifying the FCC yields
and/or reducing pollutant emissions.13,14 The most common are
combustion promoters,15 octane and light olens booster,13,1618
SOx and NOx reducers,19,20 and metal traps.21
Like all industrial processes involving heterogeneous catalysis,
the FCC process also deals with catalyst deactivation.22 Actually,
a signicant fraction of the FCC feedstock (usually 6 wt % from
a typical vacuum gas oil plus residue feedstock23) is converted
into a mixture of compounds (called coke) that remain retained in
the catalyst structure after stripping. These compounds quickly
deactivate the acid sites of the catalyst, resulting in a signicant
activity loss.23,24 For that reason, the FCC unit was designed to
allow a continuous recirculation of catalyst between the reactor and
the regenerator, where coke is removed from the catalyst by
combustion at high temperatures (typically 9501030 K). One
advantage of this continuous catalyst recirculation is that FCC units
operate in heat balance; that is, the heat released during the burning
of the coke deposited on the spent catalyst is utilized to heat the
regenerator ue gas, to vaporize and heat the feed to the reaction
temperature, and to heat the steam and the additional quench
Received: April 7, 2011
Accepted: November 17, 2011
Revised:
October 21, 2011
Published: November 17, 2011
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Figure 1. Scheme of some FCC unit designs: (a) UOP stacked unit; (b) model IV; (c) Exxon Flexicracking unit; (d) R2R residue unit (adapted from
Montgomery32).

streams to outlet temperatures while providing enough heat for the


endothermic cracking reactions and remaining heat losses.
During the successive reactionseparationregeneration cycles, the FCC catalyst particles may break, producing nes that
will result in particulate emissions. To compensate for this loss
(and hence to maintain the catalyst activity), addition of fresh

catalyst is frequently required. Moreover, for FCC units processing feedstocks with high levels of metals,2527 it is also common
to replace a portion of the inventory by fresh catalyst, to keep the
amount of contaminant metals at an acceptable level. This
regular addition of fresh catalyst makes the FCC process one
of the most important markets for catalysts.12,21 As a result, the
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so-called equilibrium catalyst (e-cat) circulating in the FCC unit is a


heterogeneous mixture, ranging from young particles (fresh, highactivity catalyst with very low metal concentrations) to old particles
(aged, low-activity catalyst with high metal concentrations).
Since the rst FCC unit started operation in 1942, several
design improvements have been made.28 Indeed, almost all of the
components of the FCC unit have been modied to improve
performance.29 The rst unit in operation was model I from
Standard Oil Development Co. (SOD), now ExxonMobil. This
unit was composed of multiple small vessels and had a catalyst
up-ow conguration in both the reactor and regenerator vessels.
The regenerator operated at low pressures, and external cyclones
were used. In 1947, UOP built the rst unit that used the concept
of spent catalyst stripping: the stacked FCCU (Figure 1a). This
unit had smaller and improved regenerators, where the regenerated catalyst was lifted to a bed cracking reactor by vaporized feed
and the spent catalyst own by gravity to the regenerator.30,31
In 1951, M. W. Kellogg introduced the Orthoow unit, composed by a low elevation regenerator and a high reactor with an
internal stripper. In this model, the catalyst ow was made through
internal vertical straight tubes, a standpipe, and a lift line, controlled
by plug valves. Another FCC conguration, called model IV, was
introduced by SOD in 1952. This unit presented smaller vessels
arranged side by side (Figure 1b) and was operated at higher
pressures and internal velocities; catalyst ow control was done by
changes in the dierential pressure between the reactor and
regenerator (U-bend concept) and by changes in the aeration in
the spent catalyst entrance to the regenerator. The riser cracking
unit was rst proposed by Shell in 1957, which, together with the
introduction of high-activity zeolite catalysts in the 1960s, denitively established this conguration. Since then, all new FCC unit
designs have included riser cracking reactors.28
The improvement of FCC catalysts (e.g., through addition of
combustion promoters) allowed further developments in the
FCCs regeneration systems, which made possible the reduction
of coke on the regenerated catalyst to <0.1% wt. Kelloggs
Orthoow F process, with two stages of regeneration in the
same vessel, appeared in 1973. Later, in 1978, UOP introduced a
typical side-by-side unit with a high-eciency regenerator unit.
This regeneration system was designed to operate in the fast
uidization regimen and was composed by a combustor and a lift
of small diameter that discharge the catalyst and the combustion
gases in a disengagement vessel. In 1979, Exxon introduced the
Flexicracking unit (Figure 1c) that maintained a side-by-side
arrangement but included a riser with an elevated stripper/
disengager vessel and a lower elevation regenerator.28
During the 1980s, the increasing need to process heavier feeds
brought new developments to existing FCC designs. In 1981,
Total Petroleum USA developed its residue FCC unit (R2R unit,
now licensed by Axens/IFP and Stone & Webster), presenting a
side-by-side conguration with a two-stage regeneration system
without catalyst cooling, which occurs in two separate stacked
vessels, and a straight riser reactor with a proprietary feed injection
system and an internal exit separation system (Figure 1d). Further
developments continued with improved designs focusing on atmospheric residue conversion,3234 proposed by UOP (UOPs Residue
Processing) and Petrobras (Petrobras Advanced Converter).35
This later technology encompasses a set of proprietary developments, namely, the PASS closed cyclones system and the Ultramist
optimized feedstock injection system, combined with improvements in the riser and optimization of the mechanical design of the
equipment.

Besides the developments in FCC technology toward the


conversion of heavier feedstocks, recent developments have also
been implemented to satisfy the increasing propylene demand.
The FCC Alliance between Axens, Shaw, Total and IFP Energies
Nouvelles (IFPEN) have proposed since 2008 the PetroRiser
technology for the production of high yields of propylene. This
new technology incorporates a second riser in the FCC complex
to which the light cracked naphtha produced in the rst riser is
sent for further processing.36,37
Due to the diversity of physicochemical phenomena that
occur, FCC processes are characterized by complex steady-state
and dynamic behavior, requiring detailed process models to
adequately express the nonlinear eects and the extensive interactions among variables that are observed in industrial practice.
Various eorts to model the behavior of FCC units have resulted
from academic eorts and have already provided important
insights into the functioning of these important processes. In
parallel, a signicant number of such models have also started to
be used in actual plants as the basis for various routine tasks, such
as model-based control and optimization. The FCC models
currently available dier enormously in terms of their scope,
level of detail, modeling hypothesis used, and solution approaches. Additionally, the potential advantages of their more
eective use are also starting to be widely recognized by the
industry. Consequently, improving the existing modeling approaches and introducing further developments in this area are
goals with important practical implications. With the aim of
making a contribution to the facilitation of this task, the main
objective of this work is to provide a comprehensive review of
past modeling approaches of FCC units, both in dynamic and
steady state, and to survey the various model-based approaches
reported in the open literature for the supervision, control, and
optimization of these units. The structure of the paper is as
follows: Section 2 describes the various modeling approaches
proposed, including the description of the cracking kinetics and
the various frameworks available to model the deactivation of the
catalysts. An analysis of the existence of steady-state multiplicity
in these models and their characterization is presented in section
3. Monitoring of these units, in terms of both process and quality
variables, is analyzed in section 4. Finally, the various approaches
developed for the control and real-time optimization of these
units are described in section 5, followed by nal remarks and
conclusions.

2. MATHEMATICAL MODELING
The implementation and maintenance of model-based engineering tools are currently limited by the lack of experienced
manpower in the reneries.38 Consequently, it has become
common practice for reners to request costly hand-in-hand
solutions from companies specialized in the development of
these engineering tools. Model development and process identication are probably the most time-consuming steps in the
implementation of many advanced process engineering strategies at the industrial level. Advanced control strategies usually
rely on linear black box models from step identication tests
carried out on the unit. Although these models are faster to
develop, they are valid only in the operating region where they
were obtained, and they do not usually capture the nonlinearities
of the industrial process. In addition, it is dicult to use
simultaneously these models for plant optimization, which
requires accurate and rigorous models for a wider range of
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gas oil (VGO) feeds70,71 and for coke formation,72 based on the
single-event approach. This modeling technique aims at retaining
the full detail of the reaction pathways of all individual feed
components and reaction intermediates, by describing the reaction network in terms of elementary steps.73 Therefore, this
requires a very detailed characterization of feeds and products,
which is generally not available in industry, and is computationally more demanding than the lumped models.
Semilumped models that consider the dierent reaction types
occurring in catalytic cracking have also been proposed, in which
the products and reactants are grouped by common characteristics such as the carbon number and types of molecules such as
parans and olens.74,75 Unfortunately, studies concerning this
type of model have been carried out mainly for model molecules
and, like the single-event models, require a good characterization
of the reactants and products.
In the case of very complex feeds containing several chemical
species, such as the FCC feedstock, a detailed composition can be
obtained from partial analytical data through molecular reconstruction techniques. The so-called feedstock reconstruction
method was proposed by Verstraete et al.76 by means of an
algorithm that generates a complex mixture of molecules based
on standard petroleum analysis, which was validated for FCC
gasolines,76 VGO,77 LCO,78 and VR.79 It consists of a two-step
approach; in the rst step, called stochastic reconstruction, a
large representative set of molecules is created. It is initially assumed
that the oil mixtures can be described by distributions of structural
blocks (polycyclic cores, rings, chains, etc.), the transformation
from a set of distributions into an equimolar mixture of molecules being performed by Monte Carlo sampling. The properties
of the mixture are then optimized using a genetic algorithm to
minimize the dierence between calculated properties and
experimental data. The second step, named reconstruction by
entropy maximization, further improves the representativeness of the set of constructed molecules by adjusting their molar
fractions.
The choice of the kinetic model used should be supported by
the level of detail desired, which normally depends on the type of
usage that the FCC model will have. It is also important to keep
in mind that it is not realistic to attempt to dene a detailed
microkinetic model for gas oil industrial cracking, because it
would involve hundreds of elementary steps, for which kinetic
parameters would need to be determined.70,80 Nevertheless, if
one intends to predict the behavior of FCC industrial units, it is
necessary to choose a kinetic model with a reasonably detailed
product distribution.75
2.2. Deactivation. In addition to the already mentioned difficulties in modeling the catalytic cracking kinetics, other important
aspects are the ad/desorption steps of reactants and products on the
catalyst surface8184 and the very fast deactivation of the catalyst that
complicates the independent determination of the kinetic reaction
rates and the catalyst deactivation.58,65,85,86 Indeed, the main cause of
FCC catalyst deactivation is the coke formation and deposition on
the surface of the catalyst.22,32,39,42,84,87 The first efforts in modeling
coke formation were made by Voorhies:88 he proposed an empirical
correlation for coking in the catalytic cracking of gas oil that depends
on the catalyst residence time.
Two fundamentally dierent approaches to modeling catalyst
deactivation have been used: the time-on-stream and the coke-oncatalyst functions. Nam and Kittrell89 addressed this issue and
concluded that time-on-stream functions exhibit the advantages of simultaneously allowing the deactivation mechanisms

operating conditions. The development of rigorous models is,


however, a dicult task inherent to the complexity of the
industrial processes. Besides, the insuciently detailed feed
characterization and the nonexistence of true steady states in
typical plants lead often to imprecise and poorly detailed models.
The success of real time optimization applications is thus
dependent on more accurate models and more reliable feed
characterization data.38
The next sections consider the dierent mathematical models
that have been applied to the FCC process aiming at the simulation,
control, and optimization of this key downstream unit.
2.1. Cracking Kinetics. The catalytic reactions occur on the
surface of the catalyst particles through a positively charged
intermediate. This intermediate can be either a carbenium ion,
CR3+, or a carbonium ion, CR4H+ (where R represents either an
alkyl group or a hydrogen atom3,32). The carbenium ion is a
tricoordinated species with three bonds, whereas the carbonium
ion is a pentacoordinated species with five bonds. These carbocations can be formed on either Brnsted or Lewis acid sites of
the FCC catalyst39 and undergo several reactions.
The primary reaction in catalytic cracking is the -scission
reaction that occurs by breakage of the CC bond to the
carbon with the positive charge; thus, an olen and a new
carbocation are obtained. The new carbocation is now free to
react with another paran molecule and continue the -scission
reaction. As the reaction proceeds, smaller olens and parans
are produced from the original larger feedstock hydrocarbon
molecules. The reaction ends when the carbocation loses a
proton to the catalyst and is converted to an olen or the
carbocation picks up a hydride ion from a donor, such as the
coke, and is converted into a paran.39,40
A number of secondary acid-catalyzed reactions such as
isomerization, alkylation, hydrogen transfer,41 and condensation
also occur under FCC conditions.3,41,42 Considered together, the
presence of thousands of reacting species (both in the feed and in
the products), the need for extensive analytical resources available in production facilities, and the computational eort required both in parameter estimation and in model simulation
make dicult the development of detailed and accurate kinetic
rate expressions for commercial FCC reactions. To overcome
these limitations, a typical approach groups dierent molecules
(lumps) according to their boiling point and/or their molecular
characteristics (parans, olens, naphthenes, and aromatics).
One of the rst and most widely used catalytic cracking kinetic
models was the three-lump model proposed by Weekman,4345
which mainly focused on feedstock conversion and gasoline
selectivity. The lumps considered were the feedstock, the gasoline (C5-221 C), and the remaining gases plus coke. To account
for the coke on the catalyst a four-lump model was proposed by
Lee et al.46 This lump model was extensively used by many other
authors in their works4754 because it allowed the prediction of
coke formation, which is essential for the simulation of the entire
reactorregenerator unit. Various other authors have further
extended this lumping approach on the basis of the FCC product
fractions.5566
Other detailed kinetic modeling approaches have also been
applied to catalytic cracking. The structure oriented lumping
(SOL) approach proposed by Quann and Jae67,68 and Christensen et al.69 was based on an extensive network of reactions
between lumps that are represented as an assembly of molecular
building blocks. Froment and co-workers proposed detailed
kinetic models for the catalytic cracking of industrial vacuum
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(e.g., basic nitrogen titration simultaneous with coking) together


with the mechanistic kinetics of coke formation. Corella and
Monzon90 considered that dierent kinds of coke (whiskerlike,
pyrolitic, polymeric, in multilayers, etc.) can be present in the
catalyst. Although they all contribute to increased coke content
on the catalyst, they do not contribute equally to deactivation;
therefore, it is more appropriate to use time-dependent relationships in the presence of multiple deactivation causes. Froment
and Bischo91 criticize the use of time-on-stream functions and
attribute their frequent use to the simplicity of this approach;
a coke content function requires an additional rate equation for the
coke formation (to introduce the process time) and characterization data from spent catalyst.
The use of coke-on-catalyst relationships provides additional
insights into the deactivation mechanism, through the inclusion of
microbalance data and coke-bed prole data.89 Furthermore, this
type of relationship can be used for catalyst regeneration studies,
because it accounts for the eect of nonregenerated coke at the
riser inlet.89,92 However, a function of coke content requires an
additional rate equation for the coke formation to introduce
the process time and characterization data from the spent catalyst
as well.91
The two distinct approaches to model catalyst deactivation, as
a function of time-on-stream or coke-on-catalyst, can be unied
by tracking catalyst activity as a function of the decrease on
eective diusivity of the reactants due to pore occlusion
(external) by coke.93 Jimenez-Garca et al.93 considered the pore
blockage, caused by coke growth at the external surface of the
catalyst, to be the main reason for catalyst deactivation. This
situation leads to an increase of Thiele modules and consequently to a decrease of the eectiveness factor of each reaction.
This approach was applied to the simulation of both a MAT
reactor and an industrial FCC riser.93 The authors model
consisted of ve lumps described by a set of seven rst-order
reactions. Nonetheless, knowledge of mean free path and molar
mass for each lump is required to determine the eciency factor.
These properties are not, however, easy to determine because
they require the lump composition and knowledge of the
molecular diameter for each component in every lump. Simplication of lump composition may lead to a high uncertainty in
the value of the eciency factor; however, the exact composition
of each lump may be very dicult or very resource-consuming to
determine and, therefore, not practical.
Besides these dierent approaches, various correlations (mainly
exponential and power laws) are available in the literature to
describe the deactivation rates.43,59,91,94,95 Despite their mathematical dierences, good adjustments against experimental data have
been reported. Nevertheless, realistic comparison between the
proposed functions becomes dicult, due to the dierent experimental conditions at which deactivation data were obtained,
aecting the coke formation, which is highly dependent on
operating conditions, feedstock, and catalyst properties.
As major reasons for having signicantly dierent equations
that adjust well to experimental data, Larocca et al.96 and Corella
et al.94 point out the dierences in the catalyst residence times
used by dierent researchers and the diculty in obtaining data
at very low residence times in traditional bench-scale reactors. It
has been experimentally observed by these authors that in the
rst seconds the deactivation behavior is dierent, presenting a
dierent decay order94,96 or a dierent decay coecient in the
exponential function.96 The decay order depends on the feedstock and catalyst used.97

A general equation for deactivation considering variations in


the decay order can represent the dierent mechanisms of deactivation for all reactions:71,94
d
 d
dx

In this formula represents an average value that measures the


catalyst activity for all of the reactions and dierent mechanisms of
deactivation and for all active site strengths present in the catalyst
surface, represents the kinetic deactivation constant, and x can be
either the time on stream or coke on catalyst. The decay order (d)
can be related with the number of active sites involved in the steps
controlling the main reaction mechanisms and the catalyst deactivation for that reaction.94 This equation can be integrated for
dierent decay orders.
Another important aspect of FCC catalyst deactivation is the
use of selective versus nonselective deactivation models. Selective deactivation models are more rigorous and accurate than
nonselective models, explaining the variation of product selectivity with time-on-stream, coke-on-catalyst, or catalyst poison
concentration.98 In fact, depending on the poisoned acid sites,
the overall distribution of acid sites may change, which should
aect product selectivities. In this scenario, the deactivation of
the catalyst can aect to dierent extents the reactions in the
network considered.72,98 This means that dierent deactivation
functions (with distinct deactivation constants or both deactivation
constants and orders) should be used for each reaction or group of
reactions. When detailed analysis of the coke is available, the
deactivation function may also take into account dierent toxicities
for the dierent types of coke present on the catalyst surface.99
Until now, the use of selective deactivation models is very
scarce in the literature, because it adds a signicant degree of
complexity that requires more experimental data and could
potentially result in overparametrization of the kinetic model.98
To avoid this problem, four simplied scenarios were considered in
an experimental study of how catalyst deactivation aects each
reaction in the cracking network, considering a ve-lump model:99
(1) similar for all reactions (nonselective catalyst deactivation);
(2) dierent for each reactant in the lumping scheme; (3) dierent for
each product in the lumping scheme; (4) dierent for each reactant
in the lumping scheme, except for dry gas, which is considered to be
produced via thermal cracking and not aected by catalyst deactivation. A power law (function of the residence time) was used to
describe the deactivation in the catalyst. These four scenarios were
compared using experimental data obtained in a pilot plant, with
the deactivation order varying for the selective deactivation scenarios (2, 3, and 4). The authors concluded that, although scenario 3
gave better global results, the dierences between the selective or
nonselective models were not suciently signicant to justify the
large number of parameters to be estimated. The deactivation
function can also be dependent on the type of coke present in the
catalyst.82 In this case more detailed characterization data on the
types of coke (CH2Cl2 soluble and insoluble) is required.42
Recently, signicant progress was made by a group from the
University of Ghent in the development of a single-event
microkinetic model (SEMK) for catalytic cracking of alkanes
and mixtures of alkanes or cycloalkanes with 1-octene, which
takes into account deactivation by coke formation.100102 Beirnaert et al.100 and Quintana-Solorzano et al.101,102 improved the
description of coke formation in terms of elementary steps and
the interaction between coke formation and the actual cracking
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reactions,100,101 as well as the description of the single-event


kinetics in relumped form. Coke formation is indeed considered
as starting from carbenium ions on the catalyst surface, and the
concentration of the carbenium ions on the catalyst surface is
obtained via the single-event modeling of the catalytic cracking
reactions as such. This approach presents the advantages of
requiring a less detailed feed characterization and allowing a fast
simulation of a riser reactor.103,104
2.3. Riser Models. The feed vaporization and the cracking
reactions occur inside the riser, while catalyst, hydrocarbon liquid
droplets, and hydrocarbon vapors travel upward. Therefore,
there are several chemical and physical complex phenomena
occurring simultaneously that need to be considered.
The rate of feed vaporization in the riser aects its performance to a great extent. A liquid phase feed has a negative eect
on the cracking reactions, whereas a slow vaporization leads to
very high eective CTO, that is, the catalyst to vaporized feed
ratio. The presence of liquid feed combined with the high
catalytic activity and temperature in the riser entry zone51 can
lead to undesirable secondary cracking reactions, accelerating
coke formation and decreasing gasoline yield.51,53 For this
reason, extensive research has been done in the development
of eective injection systems capable of atomizing the feed in
very ne drops, leading to fast vaporization and short and
intimate contact between catalyst and oil.105,106
Although the feed vaporization section is considered to be one
of the most important parts of the riser, it is rarely modeled for
riser simulation purposes, because considering instantaneous vaporization simplies considerably the process modeling. However,
modeling the vaporization is important for the optimization and
design of feed injection systems and nozzles. Theologos and
Markatos107 mention that the vaporization takes place in the rst
1.53 m of the riser, which corresponds to 510% of the riser
total length (3040 m). On the other hand, Ali et al.48 state that
the feed needs only approximately 3% of the mixture residence
time to vaporize completely, which corresponds to 0.330 ms
according to drop size.108 Also, the cracking reactions occur only
when the feed is vaporized,3,109 which justies the assumption of
instantaneous vaporization and will not introduce a signicant
error in yield or conversion calculation.
Vaporization modeling involves three phases: catalyst particles, hydrocarbon liquid droplets, and hydrocarbon vapors. It
also requires dierent balances to account for the sensible heat
gain of the liquid droplets (while the temperature in the droplet is
below vaporization temperature), the vaporization of the liquid
droplets with mass transfer from the droplet to the gas phase, and
the heat transfer between the catalyst and gas phases after vaporization is complete. Moreover, modeling feed vaporization implies
predicting the diameters of the liquid droplets and relates the
vaporization rate to droplet sizes and mass transfer to the gas
phase, together with estimating the heat transfer coecients
between the two phases. The complexity of these requirements
explains why only a few authors have included feed vaporization in their riser models.49,52,54,107,110,111
Although various modeling approaches for the riser can be
found in the literature, a one-dimensional (1-D) model is the
most commonly used method to describe industrial FCC
units.49,112 With the more complex 3-D models, two kinds of
approaches are applied to describe the riser hydrodynamics: the
EulerianEulerian and the EulerianLagrangian approaches,
both implemented by computational uid dynamics (CFD)
modeling techniques. The EulerianEulerian methodology

considers both gas and solid continuum phases. A set of balance


equations is written for each phase, representing conservation of
mass, momentum, and energy inside the riser. In this approach,
the particle ow characteristics are modeled in the framework of
the kinetic theory of granular ow.113115 On the other hand, the
EulerianLagrangian approach considers the gas to be a continuum phase, whereas the particles in the solid phase are described
using the Lagrangian equations of motion for each particle of the
system, with a prescribed set of initial conditions.115118 Previous
authors have considered that the overall performance of the riser
can be accurately predicted by using simple 1-D mass, energy, and
chemical species balances.28 However, to evaluate heat transfer,
chemical reaction, and geometry eects, especially at the feed
injection area of the riser, a 3-D model is usually required.109,117,119
Nayak et al.54 used the EulerianLagrangian approach to
develop a 3-D adiabatic model of the FCC riser reactor, which
simulates heat transfer, evaporation, and cracking. The motion of
the solid catalyst particles and the liquid droplets was modeled in
the Lagrangian framework, whereas the motion of the continuous phase was described in the Eulerian framework. Although a
3-D model was presented, simulations were carried out only for a
1-D model, to study the inuence of the droplet diameter on the
riser performance. These simulations were used for evaluating
the cost benet of new FCC nozzles and for related decisionmaking. All of these developments addressed mainly steady-state
simulations and the study of equipment performance, design, and
optimization.
Besides the 1-D plug ow model and the complex 3-D
approaches, there is also the coreannulus model.47,53,120 This
conceptualization considers two zones, with a central core where
gas is owing upward at high velocity, entraining dilute solid with
a small slip velocity, generally equal to the particle terminal
velocity. The second zone is a peripheral annulus where concentrated solid is owing downward, with a gas velocity close to
zero. Moreover, this model is based on hydrodynamic correlations that account for the slip velocity and porosity variations
along the radial and axial directions in the riser.
Common assumptions in the 1-D model are plug ow for both
vapor and catalyst phases, adiabatic operation, and no mass or
heat transfer resistances between the two phases. The ratio
between the gas and catalyst velocities, usually called the slip
factor ( = vg/vc), is commonly neglected. However, considering
the existence of a slip between the gas and the solid velocities is
quite important, because it aects the contact time between the
hydrocarbon vapors and catalyst ows and, consequently, the
feed conversion. Dierent assumptions have been considered for
the slip factor between the catalyst and vapor phases. Malay
et al.50 assumed a constant slip factor. Corella and Frances97
considered the riser to consist of three or four well-mixed
compartments, with variation of important quantities such as
the slip factor and the molar expansion factor from compartment
to compartment, whereas they were assumed to be constant
within each compartment. Han and Chung121 wrote momentum
equations for both phases, which allow determination of the
velocity proles along the riser reactor and account for the slip
velocity between the gas and catalyst particles. Gupta and Rao52
considered the slip velocity equal to the terminal velocity of a
single particle.
Apart from describing the velocity proles for both phases,
another important factor in determining the slip factor is the
diameter of the solid particles. In fact, for particles with diameters
typical of FCC catalysts, the slip factor approaches very rapidly 1,
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which means that the gas and solid velocities are practically
coincident.121 This disagrees with typical slip factors, close to 2,
that are usually reported in the riser by many other authors.50,117,122
High slip factors, up to 4, have been experimentally observed and
can be related to the formation of clusters along the riser
reactor.122,123 A cluster is an aggregate of particles moving together
with the same velocity (Figure 2). It has a higher free falling
velocity than the terminal velocity of the individual particles.
Hence, when the amount of clusters increases, the slip factor
between gas and catalyst will also increase. The reported size of
FCC catalyst clusters is between 2 and 15 mm.124 However, in the
dilute region of the riser the probability of cluster formation is
smaller due to the higher velocities, and the slip factor decreases
signicantly in that region. Subbarao125 has recently presented a
model for the structure uidsolid in a riser, which includes an
equation developed for estimating cluster size.
Although there are studies that experimentally demonstrate
the formation of clusters in the riser reactor,122,124,126 this factor
is not usually considered in modeling these sections.52,117 The
studies that consider the formation of hydrodynamic clusters in
1-D simulations give comparable results to 3-D simulations for
product yield and conversion, if an eective cluster diameter is
used instead of the catalyst single-particle diameter.52,117 Nevertheless, the 3-D simulations describe better the gassolid slip in
the riser, considering a larger range of operating conditions and
model parameters.
Computational uid dynamics (CFD) simulations with a
EulerianEulerian two-uid modeling approach of gassolid
ow in the riser have been widely conducted to predict hydrodynamics in circulating uidized bed risers, by including cluster
diameter correlations used within the framework of the energy
minimization multiscale model.127129
The behavior of catalytic cracking reactions of particle cluster
in uid catalytic cracking risers was recently numerically analyzed
using a hydrodynamics model coupled with a four-lump mathematical model.130 The eects of the cluster porosity, inlet gas
velocity, and cluster formation on cracking reactions were
investigated. Distributions of temperature, gases, and gasoline
from both the catalyst particle cluster and an isolated catalyst
particle are presented. Simulated results show that the reactions
from VGO to gasoline, gas, and coke of individual particles in
the cluster are slower than those of the isolated particles, but
faster for the reaction from gasoline to gas and coke. Particle
clustering will reduce the reaction rates from VGO to gasoline,
gas, and coke and increase the reaction rates from gasoline to gas
and coke.130
2.4. Stripper/Disengager Models. In contrast to that on the
riser, research on stripper/disengager vessels published in the
open literature is scarce.131 There are, nevertheless, some studies
in cold-flow units (in the absence of reactions) using CFD for
detailed modeling of the hydrodynamics of the stripper/disengager vessels in the FCC unit. The main objective of these studies
is to improve the design of the internal hardware in this section,
such as the riser termination device, the cyclones system, and
stripper baffles132136
Besides cold-ow modeling, only the authors that proposed
models for the integrated reactorregenerator system have
described the stripper/disengager vessel as a component in their
models. This is particularly important in the dynamic models,
because in modern units the catalyst holdup in this vessel is high
and contributes signicantly to the transient behavior of the FCC
unit. Moreover, it is important to predict the percentage of

Figure 2. Hydrodynamic cluster formation (adapted from Parssinen124).

hydrocarbons that remain adsorbed/occluded in the catalyst


pores after stripping (cat-to-oil coke), because they contribute
to increase the H/C molar ratio in coke and consequently the
heat produced in the regenerator.131,137
Only a few models can be found in the literature for the
dynamic simulation of the stripper/disengager section in a FCC
unit.48,50,51,138141 In these studies the stripper and disengager
are always considered as a unique section, so they are modeled
together. The usual assumption is that the stripper/disengager
section can be modeled as a continuous stirred tank (CST)
without reaction. Some authors have also proposed linear
empirical correlations to predict cat-to-oil coke as a function of
stripping steam ow rate.51,138,140 Other authors have proposed
an empirical exponential law function of catalyst, feed, and
stripping steam ow rates.51
Furthermore, there are steady-state studies that include the
stripper/disengager vessel mass and/or energy balances. Some
authors considered the energy balance of this vessel in their
model,92 whereas others modeled this section as a continuous
stirred tank in steady state, using a Stone & Webster proprietary
model to estimate the cat-to-oil coke that remains adsorbed in
the catalyst after stripping.142
2.5. Regenerator Models. In FCC modeling, studies of the
regenerator hydrodynamics and steady-state behavior have been
conducted early on by Errazu et al.143 and De Lasa and Grace.144
Moreover, the combustion phenomena in the regenerator, such
as the CO postcombustion reaction145 and the prediction of the
CO2/CO ratio in the flue gas,146 have also been a matter of
interest for research.
FCC regenerators usually consist of large uidized bed
reactors with complex hydrodynamics, where the strongly
exothermic reaction of the combustion of coke on the catalyst
takes place. Inside the regenerator, two distinct regions can be
postulated: the dense region and the dilute region (frequently
referred to as the freeboard). Most of the solids and gases are
concentrated in the dense region, where almost all reactions
occur, whereas the freeboard is a very low concentrated region,
resulting from bubbles that erupt at the surface of the dense
uidized bed, projecting particles into the region above. In this
region, the concentration of solids decreases sharply with
height.144 The catalyst particles carried away in the freeboard
are returned to the dense region via cyclones.
Because most FCC units have a large uidized bed type
regenerator, many of the original models for the regenerator
section use the two-phase theory for modeling the dense phase
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region. According to this theory,147 the gas ow is divided into


bubble and emulsion phases in the dense region. The emulsion
phase consists of the gas necessary to uidize most of the solids.
The bubble phase is assumed to result from the excess gas in
relation to the minimum uidization ow rate that passes
through the bed, as bubbles are essentially solid free. In the
two-phase theory, the bubble phase is considered in plug ow
and the emulsion phase is modeled as a continuous stirred tank
reactor (CSTR) or a plug ow reactor (PFR). Because the bubble
phase is solid free, no reactions or only gas-phase reactions are
considered in this phase.
Kunni and Levenspiel148 proposed the bubbling-bed model,
which is a three-phase model that assumes the presence of a thin
layer around the bubble, with less solid content than the emulsion (the cloud) and a similar zone being pulled up by the
bubble (the wake). Two-phase models neglect the cloud and the
wake, an assumption usually justied when small particles are
uidized, as in FCC regenerators. Another model was proposed
to distinguish the grid region at the regenerator inlet.143,149 The
grid region is the gas feed zone at the bottom of the uidized bed,
where the gas is not yet dispersed as bubbles but ows as jets that
will break down to bubbles in the highest part of the catalyst bed.
The jets are assumed to be well mixed in the radial direction and
to follow a plug ow regimen in the axial direction. The emulsion
and the bubbles in the grid region are assumed to be perfectly
mixed. The grid model was further improved by dividing the
domain into two regions: the grid region and the bubbling-bed
region.150 The bubbling-bed region was modeled with the twophase theory, whereas the grid region was subdivided into a dead
zone and a fully mixed zone. The dead zone includes two phases:
the jet and the grid; no chemical reactions take place in either
phase. The fully mixed zone is formed only by one gassolid
emulsion phase. In this zone, the porosity is the minimum
uidization porosity and the gas ow is equal to the gas ow of
the feed. The transfer line that carries the spent catalyst was also
included in the regenerator description,151 which was modeled as
plug ow with chemical reaction. Simulation results showed
that <4 wt % of the carbon on the spent catalyst removal occurs in
this region.
Lee et al.152 applied three dierent models (two-phase, grid,
and bubbling-bed) of the dense region of a typical regenerator
and compared them with experimental results of an industrial
plant. They concluded that the bubbling-bed model gives the
smallest error in describing the experimental data. Steady-state
studies were carried out to compare the application of one- and
two-phase theory models to the regenerator, assuming that the
dense region can be modeled as a CSTR.142,143 They concluded
that there were no signicant dierences between the predictions
of the two models. This means that a model as simple as a CSTR
can be used to predict the overall performance of a complex
uidized bed FCC regenerator. On the other hand, Secchi
et al.139 have also compared a one-phase model with the twophase model and concluded that the one-phase model does not
predict well the behavior of the regenerator and that a two-phase
model should be used instead. These authors justied this
conclusion with the fact that, in the real plant, oxygen is not
homogeneously distributed in each phase. The CSTR model
shows kinetic limitations to the consumption of oxygen only in
the uidized bed, therefore allowing larger consumption of
supplementary quantities of oxygen.
There is more consensus in the modeling approach for the
dilute region of the regenerator (freeboard). Due to incomplete

Figure 3. Fluidized bed regenerator model (adapted from Krishna


et al.151).

combustion in the dense region and also to afterburning reactions,15


modeling the dilute region of the regenerator can be of considerable
interest to predict the regenerator temperature in this phase. Therefore, several authors have considered the freeboard and modeled it as
a 1-D plug ow reactor (Figure 3).121,140,144,147,151,153155
In contrast to the riser models, there are several regenerator
models for the dynamic state when the entire FCC reactorregenerator system is modeled.48,50,121,138140,154 The reason for this fact is that the regenerators dynamics contribute
signicantly to the FCC unit dynamics, because the regenerator
presents a much higher characteristic time than the riser (of the
order of some minutes to an hour, depending on the type of
regenerator).
A detailed dynamic model of the regenerator as a standalone
unit was proposed by Faltsi-Saravelou and Vasalos,147 applicable
to particles of Geldart groups A (which is the case of FCC
catalyst) and B. Their model includes a rigorous description of
the hydrodynamics of a uidized bed using the two-phase theory
and a detailed combustion kinetic model that considers carbon,
hydrogen, and sulfur combustion. Later, Penteado et al.155
proposed a dynamic model concerning only the regenerator of
an industrial FCC unit. Their model includes both the dense
region and the dilute region. The dense region is considered to
have two phases: the emulsion phase and the bubble phase, both
modeled as CSTRs. The bubble phase contains only gases, and
homogeneous oxidation of CO to CO2 is considered in this
phase. The dilute region is modeled as a 1-D plug ow reactor.
For combustion, it is often considered that coke is composed
of only carbon and hydrogen. Moreover, no distinction is made
between dierent types of coke molecules with respect to their
combustion. This last assumption might be subject to discussion,
as it is assumed that gaseous hydrocarbons entrained with the
catalyst (soft coke) burn in the same way as hard coke, which is a
solid deposited on the catalyst.137,156
The kinetics of the regeneration of carbonaceous deposits on
cracking catalysts has been extensively investigated since the
early days of FCC. Arthur157 showed that the intrinsic carbon
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burning at the catalyst site favored the formation of CO over CO2


and proposed a widely used correlation to predict the intrinsic
molar ratio, , which states that decreases exponentially with
temperature. Weisz and Goodwin158,159 presented a pioneer
work concerning the combustion of carbonaceous deposits on
porous particles. They found that the kinetics is controlled by the
rate of pore diusion of oxygen to the coke surface. Observing
the coke combustion, they found also that the reaction kinetics
were best described by a rst-order rate equation. The intrinsic
molar ratio CO2/CO was also a subject of their studies.146 They
showed that this ratio is modied by further oxidation of CO to
CO2, catalyzed by the presence of transition metal oxides.
However, these early works were conducted for the regeneration
of amorphous bed catalysts at relatively low temperatures
(600 C). During the 1980s, dierent studies dealt with the
combustion of coke in zeolite catalysts, at temperatures up to
800 C and residual coke contents down to 0.05%.160,161 Kinetic
equations for both carbon and hydrogen combustion were
proposed and tted to experimental data. Hydrogen combustion
kinetics is much faster than carbon combustion kinetics at lower
temperatures (600700 C). Assuming that coke consists of
only carbon, it was demonstrated that the intrinsic kinetic
constant for coke burning at the reaction site was equal to the
global kinetic constant.145,161 The kinetic rates for coke burning
and for catalytic and homogeneous CO oxidation were obtained
from experimental data on oxygen, CO, and CO2 concentrations,
assuming that coke burning and CO oxidation reactions are
additive. The rate equation obtained for carbon burning is rst
order in both carbon-on-catalyst and oxygen, whereas the rate
equations for CO oxidation reactions are both rst order in CO
and half order in oxygen. Another study, based on open literature
data and pilot plant studies,151 had already suggested the same
dependences for the kinetic rate equations for carbon combustion and CO homogeneous and catalytic oxidation (eqs 2 and 3).
The intrinsic molar ratio, , was considered to decrease exponentially with temperature. The following stoichiometric equations were proposed for the overall reaction of the combustion of
coke:


2
x

O2 g f
COg
CHx s
2 1
4
1
1
x

CO2 g H2 Og
2
1
2
2COg O2 g f 2CO2 g

hydrogen conversion be expressed as a function of carbon


conversion.153
2.6. Fluid Catalytic Cracking ReactorRegenerator Models. For the purposes of monitoring, controlling, and optimizing
FCC units, both steady-state and dynamic models have been
proposed.
2.6.1. Steady-State Models. Corella et al.92 presented detailed
steady-state mass and energy balances for a commercial FCC
unit. A five-lump model is used to describe the cracking kinetics,
and eight installation factors are included in the heat balances
to provide a good match to particular units. This model can
therefore be used to study the influence of the main process
variables, as well as to predict and improve the performance of
existing commercial units.
Kumar et al.163 developed a steady-state process simulator
(named CATCRACK) for a FCC reactorregenerator system.
This process simulator resulted from the integration of already
existing models of the kinetics of cracking and reactorregenerator
hydrodynamics. The description of each component in the FCC
reactorregenerator system was based on a detailed discussion of
existing individual models and their limitations. A 10-lump
kinetics164 is used for the cracking reactions, assuming plug ow in
the riser and using Errazus grid model for the regenerator. This
model can be used in preliminary calculations for the design,
monitoring, and optimization of FCC units.
Another steady-state model of an industrial R2R FCC unit
(Figure 1d) that can realistically predict the performance of this
type of unit was presented by Vale.142 For the riser reactor, he
considered a 1-D plug ow model with a six-lump model to
describe cracking kinetics. For the regenerator, dierent models
were compared against industrial data, considering one or two
phases in the dense region and dierent combinations of hydrodynamics (plug ow or CSTR). The author concluded that the
one-phase CSTR model gave better results.
Gupta and Rao66 extended their riser model52 to the entire
reactorregenerator system, to study the eect of feed atomization (quantied by the initial drop size produced by the feed
nozzle) on the performance of the unit at constant coke yield.
They observed that for smaller drop size the overall performance
of the unit improved, presenting increased conversion and lower
regenerator temperatures.
A series of papers focused on simulation studies using a steadystate model of a model IV unit (Figure 1b) that includes a threelump model to describe cracking kinetics.165167 Both reactor
and regenerator were modeled using the two-phase model for
uidized beds from Kunii and Levenspiel.148 Their model was
then used to study the eect of the main operating variables and
feedstock compositions in the bifurcation behavior of the FCC
unit and its implications on gasoline yields.165,166 The eect of
the bubble diameter in the hydrodynamic models of the reactor
and regenerator vessels was also studied.167 Additional references
also consider a modied steady-state model of an industrial FCC
unit, including a riser type reactor modeled as 1-D plug ow
reactor.168
2.6.2. Dynamic Models. Several authors have presented dynamic models that describe the transient behavior of a FCC
unit.49,121,134,138,140,169175 A reference model for the FCC
system, cited many times, is the one proposed by McFarlane
et al.171 They developed a dynamic simulator for the reactor
regenerator system and ancillary equipment (feed preheater,
air blower, and wet gas compressor) of an old Exxon model IV
FCC unit for the AIChE industrial challenge problem. This model

Although hydrogen and water are considered in the global


equation for coke combustion, no kinetic rate equation is
proposed to describe hydrogen burning. Neglecting hydrogen
combustion and assuming instantaneous combustion are common assumptions in the modeling of coke combustion. However,
according to Faltsi-Saravelou and Vasalos,162 this reaction should
be explicitly considered, because it has signicant thermal eects.
Wang et al.160 proposed a kinetic law for hydrogen combustion,
which was rst order both in oxygen and in hydrogen.
A more recent experimental work has shown that the carbon
combustion rate and the ratio are aected by additional
variables apart from temperature, such as water concentration,
coke conversion, and metal content. Therefore, a kinetic rate
equation for carbon burning and a correlation for the intrinsic
molar ratio were suggested, depending on oxygen and water
partial pressure and temperature. It has also been proposed that
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However, this model integrates a steady-state plug ow riser


model with Weekmans43,44 kinetic scheme with three lumps to
describe cracking kinetics.
An enhanced model of the reactorregenerator system of a
R2R FCC unit was presented by Fernandes et al.180,181 to
describe the steady-state and dynamic behavior of this unit. This
model was later modied to describe the UOP FCC unit with a
high-eciency regenerator, which diers mainly in the conguration of the regeneration section.180,182 The model was derived
from fundamental principles, considered dierent cracking kinetics (using a six-lump model adapted from Takatsuka et al.55),
and explicitly described the freeboard region in the regenerator
vessel. The resulting model was tted against industrial data for
parameter estimation and validation, reaching a good agreement
between simulated, industrial, and previously published results.
A detailed description of important characteristics of these units,
such as the hydrodynamics and the cracking kinetics, was considered in this model, to allow its use in a large range of process
optimization tasks, including model-based control.
Han and Chung121 developed a model for a FCC unit with a
side-by-side reactorregenerator system with the purpose of
using it as a tool (i.e., a virtual plant) for carrying out various
process systems studies like control and optimization. Their
model describes a FCC unit comprising a riser, stripper/disengager, regenerator, and catalyst transport lines with slide valves.
Besides the mass and energy balances for the riser, the authors
also included momentum equations for the gas and catalyst
particles. This allowed determining the velocity proles along the
riser reactor and accounting for the slip velocity between gas and
catalyst particles. A four-lump model was used to describe the
cracking kinetics.
A dynamic simulator of a FCC pilot plant has been used in the
Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute (CPERI) in
Thessaloniki, Greece.147 The simulator predicts the feed conversion, coke yield, and heat of catalytic reactions in the FCC
riser on the basis of semiempirical local models, based on pilot
plant data. The ultimate scope of this research study was to use
the simulator in the development of model-based control
structures for the pilot plant, thus improving the process
productivity for catalyst benchmarking experiments at constant
feed conversion and riser temperature, by allowing accurate
targeting of prescribed operating conditions with a minimum
number of experiments.

represents well the dynamics of the catalyst circulation in that


specific unit and the interactions between the main process
variables. Therefore, it can be used for identification, control,
and optimization. Nevertheless, the units profit is largely dependent on the market demand of the products; because this model
lacks a detailed description of the catalytic cracking kinetics, it
is consequently unable to predict the corresponding product
distribution.
Elnashaie and Elshishini174 have extended their steady-state
model to a dynamic model of the riser reactorregenerator system
to investigate both the open-loop and closed-loop behaviors of a
feedback-controlled industrial model IV FCC unit. Zheng172
developed a dynamic model of the reactorregenerator system
to simulate the startup, shutdown, and routine operation of a FCC
unit. This author used the four-lump model to describe the cracking
kinetics and assumed a steady state in the riser. The combustion
kinetics are the same as in Krishna and Parkin.151
Moro and Odloak176 proposed a dynamic model of a Kellog
Orthoow F converter, for use in control applications. Their
model is based on a previous one that includes the riser, the
reactor separation vessel, and the two regenerator stages that
operate in partial combustion mode. Although the model is
capable of representing well the important dynamic aspects of
the system, it includes only the coke balance in the riser and no
description is given for the product distribution.
Arbel et al.138 presented a model for a typical side-by-side FCC
unit with a bubbling bed regenerator that can predict both the
dynamic and the steady state of these units. For the riser, their
model assumed a pseudo steady state, plug ow, no slip velocity
between the gas and catalyst particles, constant supercial
velocity, and adiabatic operation. The regenerator was modeled
considering the dense and dilute regions. The cracking kinetics
were described by means of the 10-lump model proposed by
Jacob et al.164 Arbel et al.177179 used this model in posterior
studies on the state multiplicity and control problems of industrial FCC units.
Ali and Rohani49 and Ali et al.48 developed a dynamic model
that predicts both the steady-state and dynamic behavior of an
UOP stacked unit (Figure 1a). Their model includes a 1-D plug
ow riser with a four-lump kinetic model. The two-phase theory
was used to model the dense region in the regenerator vessel,
whereas the freeboard was neglected. This model was later
modied by Malay et al.,50 who included the eects of the
volumetric expansion of gases and the slip velocity between the
gas and solid phases in the riser. The model was developed for
design, control, and optimization applications.
For the stacked UOP FCC unit (Figure 1a), there is also a
model presented by Secchi et al.,139 in which the riser is described
as a plug ow reactor in dynamic state, however, with no overall
mass accumulation. Slip velocity between the gas and catalyst was
not considered, and cracking kinetics was based on a 10-lump
model.164 Two hydrodynamic models were proposed for the
regenerator: a CSTR and a two-phase theory model. According
to Secchi et al.,139 the use of the 10-lump kinetics allows the use
of this FCC model in the development of new control strategies
needed to adjust the production on the basis of variable market
demands and to maximize the units prot.
In an advanced control study, Cristea et al.175 presented a
dynamic model for a UOP side-by-side FCC unit, with a
bubbling-bed regenerator that operates in the partial combustion
mode. Their model is based on the work of McFarlane et al.,171
using the original model equations for the ancillary equipment.

3. STEADY-STATE MULTIPLICITIES IN FLUID CATALYTIC CRACKING UNITS


The possibility of the existence of multiple steady states in
FCC units has a major impact in the supervision of these systems.
The causes for these behaviors are usually due to the exothermicity of the catalyst regeneration reactions and the strong interactions between the reactor and the regenerator systems. Distinct
approaches have been used to dene and search for the existence
of steady-state multiplicity in a FCC unit.
If one considers a generic process model of the form
dx=dt f x;u

y hx

where x Rn are the state variables, u Rm are the input variables,


and y Rp are the output variables, a steady-state solution (uss,
xss, yss) to the above equations is denoted by the subscript ss;
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thus, 0 = f(xss,uss) and yss = h(xss). In the denition of multiplicity


of equilibrium states, the trivial situations that originate from
nonsquare systems should be excluded (e.g., when m > n),
because in this case the number of solutions is generally
unlimited and also occurs with linear models. Therefore, given
a known steady-state solution xss and assuming that m e n, the
above model presents input multiplicity when there is more than
one solution to the square algebraic system
0 f xss ;u1 , u2;ss

associated with a given set of outputs. In this situation, the system


can possibly reach a steady state that is dierent from the desired
operating point.190
A dierent line of study consists in looking for output multiplicities.140,165168 In this case, the study includes the inuence
of the operating conditions in the number of steady states as well
as their behavior. Arbel et al.177 have shown the dierences
between input and output multiplicities and addressed both
types of multiplicities. Due to the consecutive reactions in the
regenerator, these authors reported the possibility of having more
than three steady states, although they also conclude that in actual
FCC operation there should be only three. Hernandez-Barajas
et al.140 also relate the possibility of nding more than three steady
states due to the inections in the heat-generated curve that result
from the migration from one combustion mode to another.
However, in their simulation results, there is evidence of only
three possible steady states in both partial and complete combustion modes. Furthermore, these authors suggest that the number
of steady states in FCC units is xed and independent of the
operating conditions, at least within the typical operating range.
Elnashaie et al.168 considered the feedback eects resulting
from complex nonlinear interactions between the regenerator
and the reactor as the main cause for output multiplicity. After
investigation of several industrial units, these authors state that
the behavior of the dierent industrial FCC congurations diers
quantitatively, although qualitatively they are very similar. According to them, congurations with riser-type reactor and
regenerator are expected to exhibit output multiplicity, although
each part of the unit will not exhibit such behavior individually.
Also, according to Arbel et al.,177 all FCCs should exhibit multiple
steady states, because they are autothermic reactors in which
the heat of combustion is used to heat the incoming feed to the
required temperature at which the reaction occurs.177,191 The
high-eciency regenerator has a behavior closer to a plug ow
reactor than to a CSTR, and usually plug ow reactors do not
show output multiplicity. However, if one considers the FCC
system as an autothermal plug ow reactor with external heat
exchange, then output multiplicity will likely occur. The interactions between the endothermic reactions that occur in plug ow
in the riser, together with the highly exothermic catalyst regeneration, lead to a system with multiple steady states within the
normal range of operating conditions.
More recently, Fernandes et al.180,181,186 presented an analysis
of the existence of output and input multiple steady states in a
UOP FCC unit with a high-eciency regenerator. This study
shows that changes in the operating conditions can lead to the
possibility of nding between three and ve multiple output
steady states. However, this hypothesis is aected by unit
disturbances and model uncertainties, such as coke, feedstock
composition, and cracking enthalpy. These authors also conclude
that other process inputs such as the regenerator pressure (PRG),
combustion air temperature (Tair), and feed temperature (Tfeed)
can also inuence the number (and position) of steady states.
Figure 4 shows the eect of changing each of these operating
conditions, by xing the remaining operating variables, in the
heat curves. Thus, changing the regenerator pressure (Figure 4a)
will only slightly aect the curve of heat generated because higher
pressures favor the combustion rates, resulting in an increase of
the heat generated. On the other hand, changing the combustion
air temperature (Figure 4b) aects only the heat-removed curve,
and, as expected, low air temperatures increase the quantity
of heat removed, because more heat is needed to warm the

where u1 R is a subset of the elements of u and u = {u1 u2}. If


m e n, the input multiplicity would be observed for multiple
solutions of 0 = f(xss,u). These situations are of particular interest
when u1 (or u) can be manipulated for control purposes.
In a similar way, given a known steady-state solution uss, the
above model presents state multiplicity when there is more than
one solution to the square algebraic system:
n

0 f x;uss

Finally, output multiplicity can be dened in cases when the


algebraic system
0 f xss ;uss

y hxss

has more than one solution. This can be caused by the presence
of state multiplicities, particularly when y corresponds mostly to a
subset of the state vector.
Because output multiplicities are easier to study and validate
than state multiplicities, their identication is much more often
carried out in practice. A common way of determining output
multiplicity in chemical systems is to plot the curves that refer to
removed and generated heat. The intersections of these two
curves represent the steady-state points of the system.183185
The identication of output multiplicities is important, from an
operational point of view, mainly due to two reasons:186 (1)
Having several steady states in feasible operating regions may
result in very distinct economical returns. (2) Operating conditions can be changed in such a way that a stable steady state is lost.
In this case, the unit may wind down to the cold steady state
(which can be physically infeasible and imply the shutdown of the
unit) or else reach an unstable steady state that needs further
stabilization by the online control system.
Steady-state multiplicity is an important feature of FCC units
and has been analyzed in various references.140,168170,177,186189
The rst author to study this phenomenon was Iscol,188 in 1970. Lee
and Kugelman169 claimed that in a typical open-loop FCC there is
only a unique steady state at xed feed rate, catalyst circulation rate
(Fc), and air ow rate (Fair). However, their concept of uniqueness is
restricted to an operation region of practical interest. Oliveira189 also
studied state multiplicity in FCC units, using the same model as Lee
and Kugelman,169 and reached the same conclusion.
Other authors have used the term multiplicity of steady
states in the sense of input multiplicity. In their studies, they
searched for multiple steady states by xing process variables
such as the feed ow rate, feed temperature, and combustion air
rate, while the catalyst circulation rate was allowed to vary to keep
the riser reactor temperature constant.170,187 Under these conditions, two steady states were obtained. A system with input
multiplicities can be dicult to control because there exist more
than one set of steady-state values for the manipulated variables
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Figure 4. Eect of operating conditions in the heat generation and heat removal lines in an industrial UOP FCC unit with a high-eciency
regenerator:186 regenerator pressure (a), combustion air temperature (b), and feed preheat temperatures (c).

combustion air inside the regenerator. Changing the feed temperature (Figure 4c) aects both the heat-removed and heatgenerated curves. The heat-removed curve changes position,
because the requirements to heat and vaporize the feed ow rate
also change. On the other hand, the feed temperature directly
aects the temperature in the riser and subsequently aects the
formation of coke and the heat-generated curve. Furthermore,
panels b and c of Figure 4 show that low feed and air temperatures can even result in the loss of the intermediate and upper
steady states. This situation would result in a set of nonpermissible operating conditions, because the only steady state available
would be the cold point.186 These dierent heat curves and
consequently the multiple steady states can be very close to each
other, so in industrial operation the behavior can shift from one
steady state to another, and this is an incentive for choosing a
robust control system.
Therefore, from a control point of view, particular care is
required in the choice of manipulated variables that will allow
correct operation of the unit in the region of ve steady states.
Depending on the choice of the control structure, input multiplicities can also cause stability problems. An important consequence of the input multiplicity is that there are usually points in
the operating region where the steady-state gain matrix becomes
singular.192 This means that changes in the sign of the steady-state
gains are possible, which poses additional diculties, especially
for linear control actions, because if the controller gains are
maintained constant, positive feedback will be introduced in the
system.189 Hence, for processes with such characteristics, nonlinear control strategies can be the only feasible approaches for

eective supervision of these units. Therefore, the identication of


these model features is an important aspect of the dynamic study
of FCC units and fundamental information for the synthesis of
adequate control structures for the corresponding industrial units.
Fernandes et al.186 have shown that these stability problems
can be avoided by operating the FCC unit with a high-eciency
regenerator under full combustion conditions, using a 2  2
control structure to monitor the riser reactor temperature and
the oxygen level in the ue gas. Moreover, the results obtained by
Fernandes et al.180,181,186 have also shown that it is not recommended to use the same control structure for operation in partial
and full combustion modes, especially with traditional linear
controllers, because signicant dierences were found in the
dynamic behavior of these two cases. In this situation, the
operating point should be chosen in a manner such that a
transition between modes of combustion will not occur. Given
the eects that possible perturbations in the feedstock quality and
other unit disturbances might have, this also demonstrates the
importance of understanding the nonlinear behavior of the FCC
unit and the possible incentives to the use of more sophisticated
nonlinear control strategies.
It is possible to envision a control strategy for industry based
on two legs: a linear one for control around a stable steady-state
point combined with a nonlinear one for more signicant
variations such as major disturbances, startup, or shutdown.

4. MONITORING OF PROCESS AND QUALITY VARIABLES


Extensive collection and analysis of process data are required
for the safe operation of FCC units and also to evaluate and
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improve the eciency of operation. In addition to online process


measurements gathered by the process distributed control
system (DCS), this also includes various oine measurements,
essential to evaluate the quality of the products and to understand their relative yields. Relevant data include (1) mass balance
data (product ows, densities, pressures); (2) heat balance data
(temperatures, ue gas composition, air rate); (3) feedstock characteristics (density, refractive index, sulfur, metals, etc.); (4) essential product properties (distillation curves, octane numbers, sulfur,
viscosity); and (5) equilibrium catalyst analyses (activity, residual
coke, metals, among others).
In many cases, measurements that enable the closure of the
heat and material balances are available on a continuous basis
from the process DCS. Feed and product analyses are usually
performed at least weekly in the laboratory.193 The e-cat analyses
are usually conducted weekly. To minimize the cost associated
with these analyses, the product properties are usually limited to a
number of well-dened key characteristics. Various methods
exist to estimate hydrocarbon composition or carbon atom
distributions in FCC feeds, as published by ASTM, API, and
some oil companies.194 However, the unit performance is often
explained adequately using just the basic analyses such as density,
refractive index, or aniline point directly, without conversion into
compositional breakdowns. The carbon atom distribution can be
used to estimate the maximum crackability of the feedstock. All of
these data need to be validated through the elimination of gross
errors and inconsistencies through the use of a data reconciliation
methodology195,196 before they can be used in model-based
tasks, such as advanced control and optimization and process
diagnosis.
Due to interactions between the reactor and regenerator units,
the heat balance of a FCC unit is of major importance to
characterize the eciency of the operation. The most signicant
independent variables in the heat balance of the reactor and
regenerator are (i) the quantity of processed feed, (ii) the
properties of processed feed, (iii) circulating catalyst properties
(activity and selectivity by coke), (iv) the temperature of
combined feed, (v) the temperature at discharge of lift reactor,
and (vi) the relation of combined feed. The three most signicant
dependent variables are regenerator temperature, catalyst-to-oil
(CTO) ratio, and coke yield. Often the regenerator mass balance
provides the air/coke and hydrogen/coke ratios, whereas the
heat balance is used to calculate the catalyst/oil ratio (from
regenerator side balance) and the heat of cracking (reactor
side).197
Unit monitoring data constitute often the basis to predict the
eects of process changes from previous operating data, using
various statistical frameworks. For instance, this approach can be
used to model the eects of frequent changes in the feedstocks on
the product yields, and their properties can be predicted from
existing experience. When a catalyst replacement is evaluated, the
same calculations can help to normalize the units data to
constant conditions and feed quality, unit operating conditions,
and catalyst type. This is also true for variables such as the
gasoline octane and the FCC standard conversion (dened as the
mass or volume percentage of VGO and/or residue that is
converted to products other than oils such as LCO, HCO, and
DO). The predictions can be used in a straightforward sensitivity
analysis to increase the protability, for example, by variation of
the feed rate or other operating parameters. Consistent monitoring of the performance of the unit also oers the opportunity to
test whether the catalyst in use is at its optimal activity level.

Simultaneously, it provides a database for process review, which


can be used to detect abnormal modes of operation and to ag
developing problems for correction.
Besides the use of linear statistical methodologies, articial
neural networks (ANN) have also been used to regress FCC data
and estimate various product quality properties, using process
and laboratory data. A neural network is a processing structure
consisting of an arrangement of interconnected simple processing elements (called neurons) and is characterized by parallel
computation and learning capabilities, which can approximate
arbitrary nonlinear mappings.198,199 ANN empirical models can
predict the regenerator average temperature, catalyst circulation
rate, reactor top temperature, and product ow rates (fuel gas,
LPG, naphtha, LCO, HCO, and slurry).200 In addition, ANN
models can be built to estimate several product quality properties such as density, sulfur content, initial boiling point, RVP,
octane number, and product compositions (aromatic and olen
contents).
One important diculty in the eective analysis of process
information is the relatively large volume of information that is
available. To help in this task, Wang and McGreavy201 developed
a data-mining system capable of classication of process data into
classes, corresponding to dierent operational modes or regions,
relying on a Bayesian automatic classication method. This
system was tested using a FCC model provided by a dynamic
simulator developed for training industrial operators. Various
cases were simulated corresponding to normal operation and
various failure conditions. A comparison of the performance of
the system with an ANN is also provided. The authors concluded
that, in both cases, reasonable classication for practical purposes
can be achieved, provided that the thresholds for discrimination
are adequately represented.
The reduction of operation data to a small number of
operating regions is also considered by Sebzalli and Wang,202
using principal component analysis (PCA) and fuzzy clustering.
This technique allows the determination of the variables that
contribute most importantly to the denition of each operating
region, therefore facilitating the development of simpler but
robust process monitoring strategies. PCA is also used to detect
abnormal conditions in sensor validation and fault diagnosis of
FCC units by Pranatyasto and Qin.203 This technique is able to
identify process faults even when used in a unit equipped with
model predictive control (MPC). This observation is relevant to
practical experience because with the introduction of feedback
terms in the controller, and its multivariable nature, the eects of
faults in the measured and manipulated variables can become
closely related.
Han et al. considered the use of process data for parameter
estimation of a steady-state model of a FCC unit under the full
and partial combustion modes.180 Depending on the type of data
available, a total of up to 52 model parameters can be simultaneously adjusted. After minimization of the plantmodel mismatch, this model is used for process optimization using an
economic objective function. Because essentially the same detailed model can be used for data reconciliation and parameter
estimation (and later process optimization), various authors
advocate that these two tasks should be considered simultaneously through the solution of a large online optimization
problem, using a global errors-in-variables approach, for which
decomposition strategies are available to speed its solution.204,205
A number of industrial reports reinforce the importance of the
parameter estimation task to the success of developing adequate
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models for the application of model-based supervision strategies


to FCC units.206208

5. CONTROL AND OPTIMIZATION OF FLUID CATALYTIC CRACKING UNITS


Huge economic incentives are normally tied to operating FCC
processes at optimal conditions, because these units are responsible for approximately 40% of the gasoline pool.207,209 In
practice, this implies remaining close to physical and operating
constraints of various kinds (blower capacity, limit material
temperatures, etc). Given the complexity of the process, achieving this goal while simultaneously guaranteeing the safety of
operation requires the use of elaborate supervision strategies,
making these units natural candidates for the development and
implementation of advanced control and real-time optimization
studies.198,207,210
A key aspect in most of these strategies is the presence of
various layers, each addressing a specic set of operational
objectives, arranged in a hierarchy of decisions, as illustrated in
Figure 5. The lowest level is the regulatory control (also called
basic or local control), which is composed by the control loops
that allow safe basic operation of the unit. These loops are often
linear controllers with proportionalintegralderivative (PID)
actions integrated in the DCS of the plant. The remaining block
levels in the control hierarchy address the plant optimization at
dierent levels, by coordinating the various loops in the regulatory level and specifying additional degrees of freedom in the
process. Research studies concerning FCC control applications
at each level in the control hierarchy can be found in the
literature175,207,211220 and will be discussed in the next section.
5.1. Control of Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units. Besides the
need to operate close to process constraints, strong interaction
between the individual control loops and the nonlinear behavior
of the unit constitute major challenges in the design and
implementation of the basic regulatory layer.211 This control
structure has also to deal with time constants of different scales
and to efficiently reject unmeasured disturbances.175 A key aspect
in the design of this control layer is the choice and pairing of
controlled and manipulated variables. Previous experience has
shown that a relatively small set of variables has a primordial
importance in the safe and efficient operation of the unit.194,198,211
The most important controlled variables are the stripper catalyst
level (which provides stabilization for catalyst circulation), the riser
temperature (which directly influences the feedstock conversion),
the stack gas oxygen concentration (to achieve the desired coke
combustion), the regenerator temperature (to allow the required
recovery of catalyst activity, without causing excessive irreversible
catalyst deactivation), and the cyclone temperature (due to the
afterburning effect, thus providing safe thermal operation). The
most important manipulated variables include the spent and
regenerated catalyst flow rates, the stack gas flow rate, and the
blower air flow rate.178,198,211,222224
5.1.1. Regulatory Control Structures. Several researchers have
relied on the relative gain array (RGA) technique for the
choice of the pairings between controlled and manipulated
variables.211,223 Hovd and Skogestad211 presented a detailed
study on the selection of the structure of the regulatory control
loops in FCC units, based on the analysis of linear models
derived from the nonlinear model of Lee and Groves.225 These
authors also state that a good selection of the control structure at
the regulatory level is fundamental, because the performance of

Figure 5. Hierarchy of control structure in a modern processing plant


using MPC technology (adapted from Qin and Badgwell221).

the higher levels will depend critically on the effectiveness of this


regulatory control system. In their study, they present a quantitative analysis of five 2  2 control structures for the partial
combustion mode and three 2  2 control structures for the
complete combustion mode. Some of these structures were also
previously analyzed by Hicks et al.226 and Kurihara,227 who were
two of the first authors to address the issue of loop selection for
regulatory control. To evaluate the controllability of the FCC
system using each of these control structures, the right half-plane
transmission zeros (RHP) and the RGA of the process transfer
function matrix were determined. The control structures considered (Table 1) allowed the conclusion that for partial combustion mode the most appropriate control structure is the one
proposed by Hicks et al.,226 although the use of the conventional
control structure has been predominant for many years. For the
complete combustion mode, the most appropriate structure is
the conventional control structure with the pair [TRT, yO2,RG]T as
controlled variables.
Arbel et al.178,179 also studied the problem of the selection of
appropriate control structures, using a dierent approach. The
following elements were considered: the derivation of a reduced
mathematical model, the identication of the dominant variables
in the system, the study of the nonlinearities (including the
determination of the regions with output and input multiplicities), checking the time scale of responses to set-point
changes and disturbances, and the suciency of the control
system relative to the desired specications and constraints. Here
the dominant variables are dened as the process variables that
tend to have a stronger impact on the overall process behavior
and, therefore, intuitively constitute good candidates for controlled variables, as their control helps to maintain a larger set of
process variables within their respective bounds. A good example
of a dominant variable is the riser temperature. Partial control
means that control of these dominant variables is sucient to
indirectly achieve acceptable control of the unit, whereas exact
control aims at keeping the controlled variables at their set
points. Although Arbel et al.178 reach the same conclusions as
Hovd and Skogestad211 on the selection of the control structure
for complete combustion mode, for partial combustion mode the
structure that seems to perform better is the riserregenerator
control structure (Table 1). Besides the distinct analytic methodologies, and like the dierent conclusions derived by various
authors on the multiplicity of steady states, these contradictory
results can result from signicant dierences in the mathematical
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Table 1. FCC Decentralized Control Structures211


manipulated variables, u

controlled variables, y

partial

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRT, TRG]T

Fc controls TRT; Fair controls TRG

Kurihara

partial

[Fc, Fair]

[TRG, TRG]T

Fair controls TRG; Fc controls TRG

alternative Kurihara

partial

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRG, TCY]T

Fair controls TRG; Fc controls TCY

Hicks

Partial

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRT, TCY]T

Fc controls TRT; Fair controls TCY

riserregenerator

partial

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRT, TRG]T

Fc controls TRT and Fair controls TRG

conventional

complete

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRT, yO2,RG]T

Fc controls TRT; Fair controls yO2,RG

Kurihara

complete

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRG, yO2,RG]T

Fc controls TRG; Fair controls yO2,RG

riserregenerator

complete

[Fc, Fair]T

[TRT, TRG]T

Fc controls TRT; Fair controls TRG

control structure
conventional

combustion mode

models used in each case. This phenomenon reinforces the


previous observation that detailed mathematical models are
needed to capture the most important details to enable an
accurate description of the global dynamic behavior of the unit.
Alhumaizi and Elnashaie224 considered six dierent proportional control loops and investigated their eect on the bifurcation behavior and gasoline yield of an industrial model IV FCC
unit (Figure 1b). This included four single-inputsingle-output
(SISO) and two multi-inputmulti-output (MIMO) control
structures, where the temperature of the combustion air and
the catalyst circulation rate were used as manipulated variables
and the reactor temperature and the dense bed regenerator
temperature were the controlled variables. The global stabilization of the industrial operating point was achievable only when
using the combustion air temperature as the manipulated variable. Moreover, using the regenerator dense phase temperature
as the controlled variable, the MIMO control loops allowed the
use of lower gains to globally stabilize the system around the
desired set point. They also concluded that the operating point
with the maximum gasoline yield needs very high values of the
controller gains to be stable with the proposed control solutions
for the FCC unit, which justies the use of more advanced
control strategies.
Ali et al.48 and Arandes et al.154 studied the inclusion of the
three primary PI controllers commonly used in industrial FCC
units operating in complete combustion mode to control the
reactor temperature, catalyst bed level in the stripper. and dierential pressure between the reactor and regenerator. The manipulated variables are, respectively, the regenerated catalyst ow rate,
the spent catalyst ow rate, and the ue gas ow rate that exits the
regenerator. Ali et al.222 obtained the RGA for this 3  3 control
structure and conrmed that these were the most appropriate
pairings between these controlled and manipulated variables.
Fernandes180 determined the best pairings for decentralized
control using 2  2 and 4  4 schemes, by calculation of the RGA
matrix. For the 2  2 scheme the conventional control structure
(Table 1) was obtained, whereas in the 4  4 case the best pairing
was obtained with the regenerated catalyst slide valve, spent
catalyst slide valve, stack gas slide valve, and combustion air ow
rate controlling the riser temperature, catalyst level in the
stripper, regenerator pressure, and stack gas oxygen content,
respectively. However, to compare the dynamic responses with
industrial data, only three of the four control loops were implemented: riser temperature, stripper catalyst level, and regenerator
pressure loops. These three loops were eld tuned228 because the
strong interactions caused the process to become unstable when
controllers tuned using ZieglerNichols (ZN) rules were used
instead. Good adjustments were reported in the comparison of the
responses of the controlled variables.

observations

More recently, the application of a statistical framework to


characterize the dynamics of the riser temperature was
proposed,229 with the purpose of decreasing its variability and
increasing gasoline yield. The model used by the authors was
based on the model proposed by Ali et al.222 and was validated
with operating data from a real unit. On these bases, the authors
concluded that the two main causes for large variability observed
were the presence of nonlinearities and chaos. After model
validation, the authors retuned the parameters of the two
operating PID controllers with respect to three step disturbances: feed ow rate, feed temperature, and saturated steam
ow rate. A decrease from (5 to (1.5 C in the variability of the
riser temperature as well as a relative increase of 17% in the
gasoline yield was claimed.
5.1.2. Advanced Control Strategies. Besides the conventional
PID feedback controllers, more complex control strategies are
normally used in industrial FCC operation.199,217,218,230233
Among these strategies, model predictive control (MPC) has
been thoroughly studied and is well accepted in industrial
practice. Its multivariable characteristics, together with the
inherent anticipative nature, and the aptitude to explicitly handle
constraints in the controlled and manipulated variables give
MPC a better control performance over conventional decentralized PID control.198,221
At each sampling instant, the MPC algorithm attempts to
optimize future plant behavior by determining the best sequence
of future manipulated variable actions relative to a given performance objective, considering a set of constraints on the process
variables. The rst input of the optimal sequence is then sent to
the plant, and the entire calculation is repeated in each of the
subsequent sampling intervals.221 Most MPC controllers minimize a quadratic control cost function, with the future behavior of
controlled variables being specied by one of four basic alternatives: set point, zone, reference trajectory, or funnel. Using a
set-point specication, any deviations from this value are penalized. If the controlled variables are specied within a zone, then
penalization will occur whenever they are predicted to lie outside
the zone with constant bounds. In the case of a reference
trajectory, penalization in the objective function will exist whenever the predicted value is dierent from the reference value.
Finally, if a funnel (zone control with various upper and lower
bounds) is used, then penalization will occur every time the
controlled variable is predicted to lie outside the bounds.221,234
One of the major requirements for the use of MPC is the
availability of a process model; these can be either linear (LMPC)
or nonlinear (NMPC). The most popular MPC applications are
based on linear models, with a quadratic objective function that
can be easily solved with available optimization software, resulting in reliable and practical MPC applications. Apart from the
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Table 2. FCC Control Structures for LMPC175


control scheme
(name/dimension)
S1: 3  3

controlled variables
Wr, TRG, TRT

manipulated variables
FRC, FSC, FPF

MPC tunning parameters


Uwt = [120, 120, 0.8]
Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1]

S2: 3  3

Wr, TRG, TRT

FRC, FSC, FS

Uwt = [120, 120, 480]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1]

S3: 3  3

Wr, TRG, TRT

FRC, FSC, FV

Uwt = [120, 120, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1]

S4: 3  3

Wr, TRG, TRT

FRC, FSC, FV

Uwt = [75, 75, 300]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1]

S5: 4  4

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG

FRC, FSC, FS, FV

Uwt = [30, 30, 120, 120]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5]

S6: 4  4

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG

FRC, FSC, FPF, FV

Uwt = [150, 150, 1, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5]

S7: 4  4

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG

FRC, FSC, FMF, FV

Uwt = [150, 150, 300, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5]

S8: 5  5

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG TCY

FRC, FSC, FPF, FV, FMF

Uwt = [150, 150, 1, 600, 300]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5, 0.5]

S9: 5  5

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG, TCY

FRC, FSC, FPF, FV, FMF

Uwt = [30, 30, 0.2, 120, 60]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5, 0.5]

S10: 5  5

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG, TCY

FRC, FSC, FPF, FV, FS

Uwt = [150, 150, 1, 600, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5, 0.5]

S11: 5  5

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG, TCY

FRC, FSC, FMF, FV, FS

Uwt = [150, 150, 300, 600, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5, 0.5]

S12: 5  6

Wr, TRG, TRT, yO2,RG, TCY

FRC, FSC, FPF, FV, FMF, FS

Uwt = [150, 150, 1, 600, 300, 600]


Ywt = [0.1, 0.2, 1, 0.5, 0.5]

reduced computational eort required, this allows a desired


steady state to be maintained, using a linear model accurate in
the neighborhood of a single operating point.198 For processes
with signicant nonlinearities or that need to be operated over
larger variable ranges, nonlinear MPC has the potential to
provide better control performance and to allow the incorporation of more complex performance objectives, for example,
related to the economical optimization of the process unit. This
possibility is discussed in a separate section.
An alternative to the control hierarchy, presented in Figure 5,
is the development of the adaptive dynamic matrix controller
(ADMC).235 This controller uses the DMC algorithm and
operates at a high frequency on an open-loop model of the
process. ADMC eliminates the need for PID controllers by
including the regulatory loops (which are usually under PID
control). This elimination increases the signal-to-noise ratio of
the controlled variables. Further advantages oered by ADMC
include the ability to operate directly on a constraint and the

ability to more accurately model the performance of control


valves.235 The primary costs to switch from an existing controller
will be the engineering time to convert the closed-loop model,
commission the controller, and train the operators.
The application of linear MPC to industrial FCC units is
considered by Caldwell and Dearwater,236 describing its integration with the existing regulatory control structure, in order to
create a exible structure capable of supervising dierent operating modes of the unit. This solution is able to consider both
complete and partial combustion modes in the regenerator, using
an implementation partitioned on two control modules: regenerator loading control (regulating the combustion in the regenerator) and severity control (regulating the reaction temperature,
manipulating the feed rate, and addressing various operational
constraints). The loading control uses a SISO MPC with
feedforward inputs for the severity control. This last module is
based on MIMO MPC, incorporating a priority structure for the
selection of the manipulated variables used. The nonlinearity of
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model proposed by Cristea et al.175 extended to include the


main fractionators.219 Both MPC controllers outperformed the
PID loop strategy in rejecting disturbances and tracking setpoint changes, with the NMPC solution yielding better results
than LMPC.
Dong and Riggs218 focused on the detection of unmeasured
disturbances using a 2 test and observed that the performance of
MPC applications in FCC can be compromised by the eect of
unmeasured disturbances in the data used to identify the MPC
model. The usefulness of the proposed method was evaluated
using the detailed dynamic model presented by Han and
Chung51 to represent the real process behavior. The authors
arrived at the conclusion that the proposed asymptotical detection method successfully identied most of the corrupted
data. This enhanced the accuracy of the MPC model, relative
to the dynamic model taken as the real response. Additionally,
the method was shown to be insensitive to the level of sensor
noise veried.
Oliveira and Biegler193 studied the eect of active constraints
on the closed-loop stability of MPC controllers. The authors
showed that active output constraints can modify the feedback
law of the predictive controller in forms that can completely
overshadow the eect of the tuning parameters and cause closedloop instability. A similar eect can result from the presence of
active input constraints in open-loop unstable processes. This
eect is common both to LMPC and to NMPC and is especially
important for FCC units that frequently operate closer to
constraints, where the optimum operating points are located.238
This behavior was demonstrated with the Lee and Kugelman169
model. To overcome this diculty, Oliveira and Biegler193
proposed the reformulation of the problematic constraints as
soft constraints, using an exact penalty approach that is able to
retain the stability properties of the unconstrained system.
Due to their accentuated nonlinear behavior, FCC units were
among the process applications that motivated the development
of NMPC algorithms. Oliveira189 used the model of Lee and
Kugelman to assess the performance of a state-space NMPC
methodology, based on the ecient computation of model
sensitivities. This solution was able to provide close control of
the unit over a wide range of operating conditions (including
zones of open-loop instability), without changes in the tuning
parameters. The accentuated nonlinear behavior of the simple
process model considered is clearly visible from the proles
associated with the case studies presented and from the signicant changes in the process gains in the ranges studied.
Another NMPC algorithm with modied state estimation was
proposed by Ali and Elnashaie222 for stabilizing the operation of
an industrial model IV unit (Figure 1b) around an unstable high
gasoline yield operating steady state. The authors used the
nonlinear model previously proposed by Elnashaie and
Elshishini174 for the prediction of the outputs. The use of NMPC
coupled with state estimation allowed operation of the FCC unit
at the unstable region and revealed it to be better than a
conventional PI controller.
Ansari and Tade242 proposed a constrained nonlinear model
predictive controller strategy for the reactorregenerator system
of an FCC unit, based on the GMC algorithm. The objective
function penalized absolute deviations from the reference trajectories, together with deviations in the maximum rates of changes
toward constraint bounds. An approach based on weighted leastsquares to nd optimal parameter change was used to update model
parameters, to reduce the plant/model mismatch. The resulting

the model and the eects of plant mismatch are addressed by


control variable linearization and use of correction terms in the
model, based on predicted trends. The controlled variables
considered can also be selected within a group, according to
the most binding constraints. A single control move is calculated
in each predictive horizon, because the authors found no
improvement in the control performance relative to this tuning
parameter. A rigorous steady-state model is also used to identify
the priority selection structure for the manipulations and the
unconstrained input targets.
Kalra and Georgakis237,238 presented a study on the performance of a LMPC algorithm for the control of a FCC unit. They
rst considered the performance of the MPC algorithm based on
models obtained from step tests, using the nonlinear model
proposed by McFarlane et al.171 Four specic models were
derived at four dierent throughputs. Contrarily to what was
expected, the authors report in the rst paper237 that linear MPC
performed better at the higher throughput point, when using a
model derived from step tests relative to a lower throughput
operating point. Consequently, in their following paper model
identication was done using pseudorandom binary sequences
(PRBS) as process inputs,238 because the authors considered the
possibility that the step tests did not adequately excite all of the
dynamic modes of the process. The authors concluded that in
specic circumstances the step test methodology might not be a
safe approach to derive the required dynamic models.
Comparison studies between the performance of MPC algorithms and PID decentralized loops were done by several
authors.154,219,222,239241 Jia et al.240 used a subspace identication method (N4SID) available in Matlab to derive a linear step
model based on the nonlinear dynamic model previously presented by Ali et al.222 and Malay et al.50 The authors demonstrated that MPC provides better performance when compared
to the conventional regulatory control, because the PI controllers
were not able to bring the system to the desired operation point
in some scenarios, despite the use of integral action.
Cristea et al.175 tested dierent dynamic matrix control
(DMC) based MPC schemes, selected on the basis of a controllability study that included a RGA analysis, and compared the
results to decentralized PID structure. The dierent schemes are
presented in Table 2. For this purpose, a rst-principles model
was derived for the UOP Amoco model IV with the main
fractionators feed preheat system and combustion air blower.
The riser kinetic scheme was the three-lump kinetic model
proposed by Weekman and Nace.44 The best control schemes
for each category were S1 (3  3), S5 (4  4), and S10 (5  5).
The S12 (5  6) control scheme proved to be useful only when
constraints in the manipulated variables were used, due to the
loss in the number of degrees of freedom. Compared to the
decentralized control, the MPC showed improved performance
in both reducing overshoot and settling time. The authors also
tackled the issue of linearization errors compromising the LMPC
performance by using a model scheduling approach. This
approach consists of updating the linear models with a given
frequency (in this case, every 3000 s).
A comparison of the performance of conventional decentralized PID control with advanced control strategies using the
model developed for a UOP type unit showed that the decentralized approach was outperformed by the advanced control
strategy in both the overshoot and response time.217 A similar
study, focusing on the performance of nonlinear MPC to linear
MPC and decentralized PID control, was done using the FCC
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nonlinear optimization problems were solved with the SQP


algorithm of the Matlab Optimization Toolbox. This strategy
was tested in a real-time application, and the results were
compared with a linear MPC controller; the performances
of both control strategies were satisfactory, although the nonlinear GMC controller presented better results. According to
the authors, the use of nonlinear MPC control allowed the solution of smaller optimization problems. A strategy based on a
unique dynamic model also reduced the need for maintenance
and process re-identication eorts often necessary with linear
controllers.
Harnischmacher and Marquardt243 used block-structured
models (consisting of nonlinear static and linear dynamic
elements) to develop a NMPC solution with lower computational cost. Block-structured models provide approximations of a
more rigorous nonlinear model, establishing a compromise
between the evaluation of costly nonlinear dynamic models
and simpler linear models with poorer prediction abilities. On
the basis of the structures of discrete-time Hammerstein and
Uryson models, the authors derived a methodology for the
ecient calculation of the sensitivity information needed for
the solution of the corresponding optimal control problem. Also,
to avoid the disadvantages of nonlinear models in MPC applications and the shortcoming of linear models, various authors
considered the use of ANN to obtain empirical nonlinear
dynamic models.199,221,232
Nagy et al.199 compared the use of an o-line trained ANN
MPC scheme to an adaptive neural network MPC scheme, to
control an Amoco model IV FCC unit. They concluded that the
latter had better performance, based on the value of the integral
of the square error (ISE). Nonetheless, both outperformed the
3  3 decentralized PI structure proposed by the same authors.
Alaradi and Rohani232 used feedforward neural networks for
the steady-state and dynamic identication and control of a FCC
unit. To provide training and testing data, the authors used the
model of a FCC unit developed by Ali et al.222 A back-propagation
algorithm with momentum term and adaptive learning rate was
used for training the identication networks and for neurocontrol
of the process. Noise-free simulations showed that the adaptive
neurocontroller performed well in the presence of set-point and
disturbance changes. Also in this case, the adaptive neurocontroller outperformed the PID controllers.232
Vieira et al.244 implemented and evaluated the performance of
a neural network-based MPC applied to a Kellogg Orthoow F
unit. The neural network model was obtained from simulated data
using the nonlinear model proposed by Moro and Odloak176 and
introduced into constrained MPC. Overall, simulation experiments
conrmed good regulatory and tracking properties of the proposed
control system. Moreover, a comparison to the DMC algorithm
showed that the neural network MPC provided comparable and
smooth performance. The behavior of the neural network MPC
within noisy measurements proved to be adequate for implementation in an industrial environment.
Santos et al.245 compared MPC based on ANN with a
regulatory control scheme, using the model proposed by Moro
and Odloak176 as a substitute for the real process, and noted the
superiority of the former. However, and despite its potential
advantages, the use of ANNs is constrained by the large training
data sets required and the fact that, being black-box models, no
fundamental knowledge of the process is directly obtained.246
Besides model predictive control, other advanced control
strategies have been studied. One such strategy is fuzzy logic

control (FLC). This control strategy aims at emulating a human


expert, in this case with the knowledge of the human operator
transformed into a set of fuzzy linguistic rules, to approximate a
decision. This approach has also been used to control FCC
units.153,197 Taskin et al.247 applied this methodology, choosing
10 input variables and implementing 30 rules. The authors
argued that the results are in agreement with empirical FCC
data and concluded that additional proper and accurate results
can be expected by increasing the number of input variables,
increasing the data used to derive the rules for each variable.
More recently, Cristea et al.217 compared the FLC with ANNbased MPC control and classical regulatory control, using antiwindup PID digital controllers. The FLC approach considered
triangular and trapezoidal membership functions to fuzzify
both manipulated and controlled variables and yielded shortened
settling times and overshoots.
Additional advanced control strategies studied include the use
of coordination between control loops (such as cascade control)
and the use of state and parameter estimation to drive process
models that require detailed plant information. A strategy based
in a MIMO cascade control system was proposed by AlvarezRamirez et al.215 to regulate the gasoline composition in the FCC
products slate. Because this work is based on the same nonlinear
model as the one used by Hovd and Skogestad,211 they used the 2
 2 Hicks control structure for the regulatory control level of the
FCC unit. To design the multivariable temperature regulation loop,
linear inputoutput models were obtained, from a step identication test in the nonlinear model. In the proposed MIMO cascade
control system the slave controller is the loop that regulates the riser
temperature and the master is the one that uses the riser temperature set point to regulate the gasoline composition.
Control studies that include estimation techniques are able to
reduce plant/model mismatches by accounting for modeling
errors and uncertainty in the process parameters, as model
parameters are updated online.209,248,249 Aguilar et al.209 developed a robust PID controller to control the riser reactor
temperature. Uncertainties related to heat generation by the
cracking reactions were addressed using a proportional-derivative
reduced order observer that produced estimates for the heat of
reaction. This control strategy showed enhanced closed-loop performance, in comparison to ZieglerNichols (ZN) and internal
model control (IMC) tuning methodologies.
Huang et al.249 used a heuristic extended Kalman lter
(HEKF) for fault identication in a model IV FCC unit.
This study was developed on the basis of the FCC model of
McFarlane et al.171 The HEKF diers from the EKF by using
pseudomeasurements, obtained by interpolation between two
measurements, eectively reducing the sampling period and the
linearization error. Huang et al.249 compared the EKF to the
HEKF, in single-fault and multifault scenarios. The fault scenarios included variations in coke factor of the feed, heat transfer
coecient in the feed preheat furnace, catalyst particle density,
ambient temperature, and combustion air blower capacity.
Huang et al.249 observed that the EKF failed to converge for all
of the multifault scenarios, whereas the HEKF was capable of
obtaining the true estimate for all of the scenarios in a faster and
more accurate way. They concluded that the use of HEKF is
appropriate for large-scale nonlinear model-based state and
parameter estimation, especially for use in fault detection, isolation, and identication of complex systems.
5.2. Supervision and Optimization Strategies. As in many
other industrial processes, the most interesting operating
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Figure 6. Schemes of (a) two-layer approach, (b) one-layer approach, and (c) two-layer approach with two-stage MPC (adapted from Ying et al.261 and
Tatjewski262).

conditions for FCC units can change significantly in response to


varying market demands for products, variations in feed quality
and availability, and changes in equipment configurations, requiring a timely adaption of the process to remain competitive.
Consequently, and for the reasons discussed in the previous
sections, FCC units are recurrently considered ideal candidates
for the application of advanced supervision and real time
optimization (RTO) techniques, which complement the remaining control layers in a hierarchy of decision levels250 (Figure 5).
Generally, the RTO term is associated with strategies that
explicitly address the online economic optimization of a process
plant, using an economic objective function together with a
process model and operational limits as constraints.251
Two major approaches have been used to implement the RTO
functionality; these are illustrated in Figure 6. The two-layer
approach, also termed layered optimization and control, corresponds currently to the most common implementation of
advanced control and optimization (Figure 6a). It decomposes
the supervision problem into control (dynamic) and optimization (static) components, each implemented by a specialized
algorithm and process model. Various authors have presented RTO
studies of FCC units based on this approach176,194,228,252256 The
alternative methodology integrates the control and optimization
problems into a single-level strategy (Figure 6b), requiring the
solution of a dynamic optimization problem. This approach is

characterized by the simultaneous solution of the economical and


control aspects of the supervision task in a single stage, adopting
an optimal control perspective. Diverse RTO studies based on
the one-layer methodology are also available.254,255,257260 A
hybrid implementation of the two-layer approach that is also
available on commercial MPC solutions considers the existence
of an additional stage in the MPC layer, by including a steadystate controller in cascade with the MPC controller (Figure 6c).
This is introduced to facilitate the adaptation of the optimal set
points determined to actual process conditions, avoiding large
changes in the process variables, eliminating osets, and guaranteeing the feasibility of the specications used by the MPC controller.261 The extra function introduces also an additional
opportunity of including economic objectives in the MPC layer,
by considering either additional quadratic approximation terms or
direct minimization of a nonlinear objective, and the use of extra
manipulated variables in nonsquare congurations.246,255
The major advantages of the two-layer approach are related to
the functional separation achieved, which simplies the solution
of each optimization problem, therefore becoming less demanding in terms of computational power and creating the possibility
of using specialized (robust) components. However, this also
involves additional coordination between the decision layers;
because the optimization is based on steady-state models, it
also creates the potential for suboptimal operation and data
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inconsistencies, when the process spends a large fraction of time


in a transient regimen. Using an integrated approach can provide
additional economic benets, with faster adaptation times to new
process conditions. On the other hand, this typically involves
higher computational eort and more severe consequences
associated with the nonconvergence or down-time of the optimizers. Comparisons of these two methodologies are available in
various references.209,227,231,232,234,263
The rst successful applications of optimizing control to
industrial FCC units using MPC technology were described by
Prett and Gillette.264 The optimization level was accomplished
using linear programming, by considering a linearization of a
steady-state mechanistic process model. The optimum operating
point was sent to the DMC controller as new reference values,
using a two-layer approach. After this controller was able to move
the unit to the new steady state, the previous procedure was
repeated. Modications were required in the basic DMC algorithm to prevent the violation of absolute input constraints when
this combined strategy was implemented.
McFarlane and Bacon252,265 developed an adaptive optimizing
control strategy for nonlinear, multivariable, constrained processes and applied it to a model IV FCC unit (Figure 1b), where
the optimization objective was the maximization of the FCC
prot, using a process model proposed by Kurihara.227 The
authors considered a procedure based on adaptive multivariable
internal model control (MIMC), where the internal control law
was updated online on the basis of information provided by a
dynamic model. The steady-state optimization relied on sectional (or sequential) linear programming (SLP). Both dynamic
information for control and steady-state information for optimization were obtained from the original process model. This
corresponds to a two-layer approach, as the controller runs more
frequently than the optimizer, which feeds data to it. The
controller performed satisfactorily both for set-point changes
and for unit disturbances.
Grosdidier et al.253 presented a paper on the implementation
of advanced computer controls in an industrial FCC unit
operating at Neste Oys Porvoo renery. This was done in a
three-level hierarchy control system that included regulatory,
constraint, and optimization modules. The lowest level of this
hierarchy consisted of six PI ow and temperature controllers
that regulate the FCC unit operation and are included in the DCS
of the plant. The set points of these DCS controllers are the
manipulated variables of the multivariable reactorregenerator
controller. This second level of control was implemented with
constrained linear MPC. The MPC algorithm tries to keep all of
the manipulated variables at their ideal resting values (IRV),
calculated by the third-level optimization control module.
Khandalekar and Riggs228 applied nonlinear process modelbased constraint control (PMBC) to a dynamic simulator of a
model IV FCC unit. The nonlinear model used by the controller
was composed of approximated macroscopic models of the
reactor and regenerator, based on the model proposed by Lee
and Groves.225 These models were parametrized to facilitate
their regular online update. The nonlinear PMBC was based on
generic model control (GMC), and its performance was compared to conventional PI control. An online steady-state optimizer was placed on top of the PMBC, using an unconstrained
optimization algorithm. Process constraints were included as
penalties in the objective function.
Moro and Odloak 176 proposed a two-step control structure that includes both regulatory and optimization functions.

The regulatory layer was based on the DMC algorithm, whereas


the optimization layer solves a linear programming (LP) problem
to perform steady-state economic optimizations. These two functions are executed sequentially and at the same frequency. Constraints were also considered as penalties in the objective function.
A nonlinear dynamic model is used as a reference in the design
of the control algorithm. This model compared satisfactorily
with the plant data for open-loop changes in the air ow and
the regenerated catalyst valve opening. Therefore, for some of the
controlled variables, the model step responses could be used
directly in the DMC, avoiding extensive identication testing in
the plant.
Yang et al.194 proposed a two-level control structure for the
control of a FCC reactorregenerator system. The lower level
control is based on a DCS regulatory control system, with some
of set points regulated by a second level. For the upper level a
predictive control algorithm based on a transfer function matrix
model of the FCC unit was used. The model was obtained from
real plant step test data. Recognizing that when input variables
reach their limits, they might no longer be suitable for use as
manipulated variables, these authors developed explicit solutions
of the unconstrained predictive control problem for various
degrees of freedom, including the situation when more controlled variables are available than manipulations. A priority
matrix is also established, dening selection priorities that
depend on the inuence that each manipulated variable has on
each controlled variable. The control system will prefer the use of
controlled variables with highest priority. If one of these variables
is already at one of its constraint limits, the controller will select
the next variable with higher priority for the given output and so
on. Yang et al.194 added a third level to this control structure. The
third-level function aims to determine at regular times the
optimum operation point (set points of the controlled variables)
and send it to the multivariable predictive controller (two-layer
approach).
Lid and Strand257 described an implementation of a real-time
optimizer (RTO) in the control system of a residue uid catalytic
cracking (RFCC) unit at Statoil Mongstad renery. The models
used by the optimizer were regressed from a sequence of plant
experiments, along with data from ordinary operation. The
optimization problem was solved using a commercial sequential
quadratic programming (SQP) routine, subject to process constraints and downstream processing capacity. The optimization
system was implemented in a plant computer along with modelpredictive control (MPC) applications, both interacting with the
real-time process database. On the basis of preliminary estimates
and optimization runs during commissioning, the project payback time was two months.
Using the constrained nonlinear PMBC controller previously developed by Khandelakar and Riggs,228 Ellis et al.266
also considered the optimization of a model IV unit. The main
dierences of this work included a 10-lump kinetic model in
the nonlinear model164 and the use of SQP software for the
solution of the constrained steady-state optimization problem
(two-layer approach).
Gouv^ea and Odloak258 compared the performance of the twolayer and the one-layer approaches for the LPG production
maximization in the FCC converter. The authors concluded that
the one-layer approach was able to assimilate changes in the
economic objectives much more quickly than the two-layer
approach and provided a smoother and more stable dynamic
response. They also observed that the one-layer approach could
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Table 3. Summary of RTO Studies Based on One-Layer and Two-Layer Approaches


author

year

approach

description

Prett and Gillette264

1989

two-layer

steady-state (SS) model; DMC controller; SLP optimization

McFarlane and Bacon252

1989

two-layer

dynamic model; adaptative MIMC; SLP optimization

Grosdidier253

1993

two-layer

SS model; constrained linear MPC

Khandalekar and Riggs228

1995

two-layer

dynamic model; PMBC based on GMC; SS optimizer;

Moro and Odloak176

1995

two-layer

nonlinear dynamic model; DMC controller; LP based on DMC; SS optimization

Abou-Jeyab and Gupta268

1996

one-layer

linear step model based; SMPC; LP problem

Yang et al.194,256
Lid and Strand257

1996, 1998
1997

one-layer
one-layer

nodel from real plant step test; transfer function matrix; MPC
industrial application at Statoil Montgomery Plant; model

Ellis et al.266

1998

two-layer

PMBC controller based on GMC; SQP; constrained SS optimization

Loeblein and Perkins267

1999

one-layer

MPC integrated with inline optimization; unconstrained MPC based on

Zanin254

2001

one-layer

industrial application at Petrobras; constrained optimization; SQP solver

Ansari and Tade242

2000

one-layer

RTO/MPC, NLP problem; generic model control (GMC), SQP solver

Zanin et al.250

2005

two-layer

proprietary model SimCraqOTL; proprietary advanced control SICON;


NLP optimization problem; SQP solver

Souza et al.260

2010

one-layer

SRTO/linear MPC, QP problem

unconstrained optimization algorithm

from unit operational data and step tests; SQP optimizer; MPC

a linear-time invariant state space model

become more sensitive to plant/model mismatch errors, because


these are reected not only in the set points to where the process
is driven but also on the form of the overall closed-loop response.
On the other hand, the discontinuous application of the optimization level in the two-layer approach was found to produce
strong control actions in the rst instants before plant stabilization, suggesting the introduction of a lter to attenuate abrupt
set-point changes.
Loeblein and Perkins259,267 described an integrated model
predictive regulatory control and online optimization analysis of
a FCC reactorregenerator system. The MPC algorithm was
based on a linear-time invariant state space model, considering
both the conventional and the riserregenerator control structures. An evaluation of the economic performance of each
control structure was developed, both alone and as part of a
combined real-time optimization strategy. The unconstrained
MPC control law was used to fully characterize the variances of
the constrained variables and, consequently, the necessary operational distance from the existing hard constraints. Although
the conventional control structure showed better dynamic
economic performance at the regulatory control level than the
riserregenerator control structure, the economic performance
of the integrated optimization and regulatory control system was
better for the riserregenerator control structure. These results
indicate a clear advantage in the simultaneous design of the
online optimization and regulatory control systems, considering
the economic performances of both levels in an integrated
framework.259
Zanin254 and Zanin et al.255 carried out a comparative study
between the behaviors of the two-layer and one-layer approaches
and proposed an approach to facilitate the integration of steadystate optimization results in the MPC layer. This involved the
addition of various terms to the objective function, which
included the calculation of an economic cost function using
the nal predicted values of the input and output variables at the
end of their horizons (assumed at steady state). This scope is
similar to the one previously reported on the basis of a Petrobras
industrial unit, with more manipulated and controlled variables.258

The constrained optimization problems were solved using SQP


and a process model based on the work of Moro and Odloak.176
The main goal was to maximize the LPG production in the FCC
unit. The authors showed that the economic returns achieved with
the improved two-layer approach match reasonably well the results
possible with the integrated one-layer methodology, providing a
signicant improvement to the performance of the original twolayer supervision scheme.
A similar methodology to integrate the results of the RTO
layer in the control structure is described by Souza et al.260
Instead of calculating the nonlinear cost function, the authors
used its reduced gradient; this leads to the solution of a QP
problem instead of a NLP problem, very similar to the scope of a
conventional MPC controller. An iterative algorithm is described
to guess the correct active set in the calculation of the gradient of
the economic objective function. The results are comparable
with the ones obtained by Zanin254 regarding the economic
performance and stability of the combined methodology.
An alternative solution to integrate the economic optimization
is described by Zanin et al.250 in the context of the implementation of RTO in a dierent commercial FCC unit. Five degrees of
freedom are considered at the RTO level, consisting of three
manipulated variables (feed temperature, suction pressure of the
wet gas compressor, and pressure dierence between the reactor
and regenerator) and two controlled variables (riser outlet and
regenerator second-stage dense phase temperatures). A two-level
MPC controller is used to interface these decisions with the
linear MPC controller (Figure 6c), using a quadratic program
that penalizes dierences between the actual and desired reference input proles and the sizes of the predicted input moves
together with a quadratic penalty for violation of the output
constraints. An increase of approximately 6% in the unit prot
was registered during the commissioning period of the integrated
optimization system.
All of these studies (Table 3) reinforce the conclusion that the
success of advanced supervision strategies depends critically on
the following factors: (i) good integration between the various
supervision layers, minimizing potential inconsistencies between
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process information available at the various decision levels;


(ii) eective usage of process information for adaptation of the
models to the actual operating conditions; and (iii) detailed
process models, able to capture the major nonlinearities and the
interactions among the model variables.

balance, improving the use of the regenerator heat will therefore


serve to increase the units energy eciency.
Increasing productivity, improving energy eciency, and
minimizing operating costs are also paramount to the protability of FCC units. An advanced control application could
reduce the standard deviation of controlled variables by at least
50%. This allows the controller to keep the controlled variables
closer to the constraints, without jeopardizing on-spec production. A larger implementation of advanced process control,
modeling, and simulation techniques will help reners to run
the FCC at optimized operating conditions, limiting its operational
costs. These technologies can also help to improve economics by
optimizing maintenance activities and monitoring catalyst activity.
As illustrated by the multiple applications considered, accurate
modeling of FCC units remains a key component for the success of
applied optimization strategies. The best process models for this
purpose must have a high level of detail (to capture nonlinear
behavior and variable interaction) and must be highly adaptive (to
translate accurately the state of the real process). Control and
online optimization using nonlinear lumped kinetic models considering deactivation as a function of coke content and nature (or
location) will play an even more signicant role in the future. Given
the increasing robustness and performance of nonlinear optimization codes, it is natural to expect that the powerful one-layer control
and RTO approach will be found more often in the future as the
preferred implementation of the hierarchical chain of control and
RTO in FCC units.
To benet from these developments, great use of advanced
process simulation and optimization environments is required, to
assist in the life cycle of the process models, in order to eectively
counter the limited availability of specialized manpower, a factor
that often constitutes a major limitation in the deployment
of model-based strategies for process improvement. Commitment from management and a strong execution plan are needed
to capture the benets and to increase the number of successful
projects. Competent engineers will be required to execute
and maintain RTO applications, to improve model accuracy
through technology, and to improve the quality of online data.
The main benets that can be obtained through the implementation of all these integrated advanced technologies and strategies are improvement in product quality, energy savings,
improved operational stability, increased yields of the most
valuable products, and improved protection of the process from
violating operational constraints. All of these potential benets
have not yet been captured by the current typical hierarchy of
applications.

6. FINAL REMARKS
Historically, the uid catalytic cracking unit has expanded its
role from a gasoline machine to a LPG and propene producer and
a residue upgrader. FCC technology advances played an essential
part in renery prot. Recent FCC challenges are related to
environmental regulations and the drive to produce cleaner fuels.
It also seems that in the coming decades the FCC will take on two
additional roles: it may (partially) use feeds from renewable
sources and be combined with a CO2 capture process to alleviate
growing concerns over energy consumption and global warming.
With combined eorts by reners and technology developers,
the process will continue to demonstrate superior adaptability to
the changing market requirements.
The importance of catalyst formulations (e.g., additives, new
or modied zeolites, functional ingredients) will continue to be a
major aspect. Process congurations and hardware improvements such as feed injectors, riser and stripper internals, and
termination devices will continue to be developed. These modications, combined with advanced control techniques, are
essential to sustain both the yield and the quality of FCC gasoline
with the future feedstock scenario. Reneries equipped to process
heavy crudes have, so far, reported better rening margins because
they can take advantage of less expensive opportunity crudes.
Residue uid catalytic cracking is an important component in the
upgrading of such crudes, with unit protability depending upon
the extent to which heavy hydrocarbons in the feed are cracked into
valuable products. Technology advances in catalysts, hardware,
and monitoring will improve residue FCC operations. Although
the coprocessing of renewable feeds with FCC gas oils can be
performed in the existent FCC infrastructures with minimal
changes, the use of renewable feeds alone may require signicant
modications in the FCC unit.
Feed characterization is a key area for improvement. Predicting unit dynamics caused by feed changes is important in
optimizing unit operation, especially for atmospheric distillation
residues. Product recycles and multiple reaction sections seem to
be the most prevalent technology trends. Improving feed injectors, riser termination and catalyst separation devices, strippers, and regenerator components are good revamp options
for existing units. As feeds get heavier, the trend toward a higher
stripper residence time and, thus, increased mass transfer between
entrained hydrocarbons and steam will continue. Moreover, the
role of the regenerator is expected to evolve because of CO2
emission reduction requirements.
Several of todays FCC units were built in the 1970s, when
ecient energy use was not of primary concern. These units have
been revamped to improve energy performance. The coke yield
of a FCC unit is dictated by the energy needs of the unit. The heat
of reaction from catalyst coke combusted in the regenerator is
used to heat and vaporize fresh and recycled feed, heat atomizing
steam, provide the heat required for endothermic cracking
reactions, heat the combustion air to regenerator ue gas
temperature, make up for heat lost to the surroundings, and
produce stripping steam. Because the FCC unit operates in heat

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Corresponding Author

*Tel: +351 218 417 887. Fax.: +351 218 419 198. E-mail: carla.
pinheiro@ist.utl.pt.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
L.D., A.J.S.C., and I.G. thank the Fundac-~ao para a Ci^encia e
Tecnologia (FCT) for nancial support (ref SFRH/BD/60668/
2009, ref PTDC/EQU-ESI/73458/2006, and ref SFRH/BPD/
74457/2010, respectively).

DEDICATION
4
In memory of Prof. Fernando Ram^oa Ribeiro, recently deceased.
22

dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie200743c |Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2012, 51, 129

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

REVIEW

ABBREVIATIONS
ADMC adaptative dynamic multivariable controllers
ANN
articial neural networks
API
American Petroleum Institute
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials
CFD
computational uid dynamics
CPERI Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute
CST
continuous stirred tank
CSTR continuous stirred tank reactor
CTO
catalyst-to-oil
DCS
distributed control system
DMC dynamic matrix control
DO
decanted oil
e-cat
equilibrium catalyst
EKF
extended Kalman lter
F
ow rate
FCC
uid catalytic cracking
FCCU uid catalytic cracking unit
FLC
fuzzy logic control
GMC generic model control
HCO heavy cycle oil
HEKF heuristic extended Kalman lter
IFP
Institut Franc-ais du Petrole
IFPEN Institut Franc-ais du Petrole  Energies Nouvelles
IMC
internal model control
IRV
ideal resting values
ISE
integral of the square error
LCO
light cycle oil
LMPC linear model predictive control
LP
linear programming
LPG
liqueed petroleum gases
MIMC multivariable internal model control
MIMO multi-inputmulti-output
MPC
model predictive control
N4SID numerical algorithms for subspace state space system
identication
NMPC nonlinear model predictive control
NLP
nonlinear programming
PCA
principal component analysis
PFR
plug ow reactor
PI
proportiona-integral
PID
proportionalintegralderivative
PMBC process model-based constraint control
PRBS pseudo-random binary sequences
QP
quadratic programming
RFCC residue uid catalytic cracking
RGA
relative gain array
RHP
right half-plane
RTO
real-time optimization
RVP
Reid vapor pressure
SCP
sequential linear programming
SEMK single-event microkinetic
SISO
single-inputsingle-output
SLP
sequential linear programming
SMPC simplied model predictive control
SOD
Standard Oil Development Co.
SOL
structure-oriented lumping
SQP
sequential quadratic programming
SRTO simplied real-time optimization
SSM
steady state models
T
temperature
U
manipulated variable matrix

VGO
VR
W
Y
ZN

vacuum gas oil


vacuum residue
catalyst inventory (level)
controlled variable matrix
ZieglerNichols

Superscripts and Subscripts

air
c
CY
Feed
MF
PF
r
RC
RG
RT
S
SC
SS
V
wt

air to regenerator
catalyst
cyclones
feed stream
main fractionators (top)
preheating furnace fuel
stripper (historically reactor)
regenerated catalyst
regenerator
reactor section (riser + disengager + stripper)
stack gas
spent catalyst
steady state
regenerator air nypass
weighting matrix

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