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Power Station and Process Control Systems

Modern Control Algorithms

in Process Control Systems

Observer-based State Control

Contents Page

Modern Control Algorithms in Steam Generator and

Auxiliary Plant Control
Calculation-guided Closed-loop Control Systems 4
Observer-based State Control 4
Unit Model (Steam Generator and Turbine) 5
Fuzzy Control Algorithms 5
Practical Utilization 5
PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer 6
Performance Comparison using an Application Example 6
Conventional State Controller with Observer 7
Mauell State Controller with Observer (MZR) 8
Tools for the Calculation of the Controlled System Parameters 9
Measuring Value Acquisition of the Controlled System
Response 10
Identification of the Controlled System and Indication of the
Characteristic Parameters 10
Load Level Balancing of the Superheater Time Response 11
Comparison Between PID and MZR 12
PID Controller 12
Mauell State Controller (MZR) 14
Retrofitting Projects 15
Conclusions 15

Observer-based State Control 3

Modern Control Algorithms for Steam Generator and Auxiliary Plant Control

District heating

1 2

Heat value G
correction 6

- Brown coal
- Refuse

1 Unit model (smooth load control) 4 Fuzzy control

2 Condensate stop control 5 Turbine speed and power control
3 Calculation-guided control 6 Observer-based state control

Unit control concept and use of modern control algorithms

Calculation-guided Closed-loop Control Systems furnace operation setpoint control. Model errors are corrected by
the secondary setpoint controllers of all major process areas, such
Fields of application and characteristics as FD floating pressure, turbine extraction pressure, heating
condenser pressure.
• Condensate stop control
• District heating supply from cogeneration Observer-based State Control

Calculation-guided closed-loop controls are primarily used in Field of application and characteristics
complex power station heat circuits where often contrasting task
definitions have to be taken into account: • Live steam temperature control
• Fast and opposite load variations at the consumer end, • Intermediate superheater temperature control
e.g., turbines / generator and district heating system
• Control loops with highly load-dependent time constants and of
• Slow increase of the steam generator output higher system order
Using conventional closed-loop control circuits responding to The state controller with observer is used for higher-level processes
system deviations, these tasks can only be solved with a maximum with self-regulation, but can also be used for processes with dead
effort in the planning and commissioning phases. They also hinder time. The process/plant-specific disturbance analysis is carried out
a dynamic operation of the plant. by an internal state observer and the analysis result is taken into
The block model assigns parameters on the basis of the account when the manipulated variable is generated. Actuator
technological design specifications, supplies reference input non-linearity, system dead time, etc. are taken into account by
variables for all control loops of the meshed system - right up to the internal compensation circuits so that a persisting system deviation
is avoided. An online parameter adaptation derives the optimal

4 Observer-based State Control

state controller parameters from the controlled system The method of multi-variable control based on a Fuzzy algorithm
characteristics. can be used for non-linear and linear processes. Reference
setpoints are derived from the various actual values for all furnace-
relevant control loops (e.g., control of the roller/ travelling grate
The use of a state controller results in an aperiodic and asymptotic
speed, primary/secondary/tertiary air quantities, refuse feeding
damping of the controlled variable characteristics which leads to a
speed, backup firing).
smooth actuator operation and therefore a smooth response of the
linked variables.
Practical Utilization
Unit Model (Steam Generator and Turbine)
The described control strategies are implemented on the standard
processors of the ME 4012 process control system so that the
Fields of application and characteristics
practical utilization of these modern control concepts is greatly
• Anticipation of the boiler and turbine output development, gradient
limiting for the load balancing through the block capacity control
(to avoid irregular block operation).

Large-scale power station components only allow certain load

characteristics. A setpoint control that is not optimally adjusted to
the possible actual conditions will lead to unnecessary fluctuations
in the control response and thus to unauthorized controller actions.
This puts unnecessary strain on the materials and reduces plant
efficiency. If the time characteristics for the setpoint control of the
essential components is derived on the basis of plant-specific
parameters (load level setpoint gradient, storage capacity, etc.), the
block model can be used to implement a specific setpoint control of
all large-scale components which takes into account the actual
process conditions. This will result in an optimal utilization of the
dynamic performance and a higher overall efficiency at load
variations. Untimely correction of the control process through the
secondary setpoint control systems can be avoided.

Fuzzy Control Algorithms

Fields of application and characteristics

• FGD plant optimization of the deposition degree of the SO2

content in the raw gas by selecting and specifying the number of
the spraying levels in operation
• Correction of the furnace operation control due to fluctuations in
the heat value and mass current measurement errors, e.g., solid
waste or refuse-fired furnace.

Plant areas producing inconsistent process variable fluctuations

which cannot be measured are difficult to control satisfactorily, even
if complex control loops with a high degree of intermeshing and
complex feedforward control are employed. The calorific value of
refuse or brown coal, for example, cannot be determined
satisfactorily due to the fluctuations in the composition of these
fuels. The operation of incinerators in particular requires various
fuelling parameters to be taken into account in order to achieve a
high energy utilization factor. Such parameters would be, for
instance, the furnace temperature range, the minimum retention
time of the gaseous products at specific temperatures, air excess
or starvation in the various burning zones, the quality of the steam

Observer-based State Control 5

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer • User-friendly and objective parameter setting and optimization
Analog, standard algorithm PID control on a pneumatic, hydraulic
or electronic basis has proved its worth over many years, and is still Performance Comparison using an Application Example
first choice in daily control circuit design even in the days of digital
process control systems. Despite the fact that the PID controller In this section we compare the performance of a Mauell state
structure is not adapted to the controlled process and its setting controller with that of a PID controller. In our example the
parameters do not allow to draw direct conclusions on the control controllers are used for the live steam temperature control of a
quality, points in favour of its use are the detailed knowledge on steam generator, which is characterized by large and highly load-
how the PID controller works, and the many years of experience dependent time constants, a higher system order (n = 3....5 typ.),
that provide plant engineers with the intuitive feel for tuning. external disturbances due to fluctuations in the heating of the
superheater, and high demands on the control quality.
In this report, we confront the well-established technique (PID
control) with the new technique (observer-based state control) and The application example will also demonstrate the versatility of the
show that an alternative exists for the PID controller that is equally Mauell state controller with respect to the fields of application and
practical but more robust to unpredictable changes in the behaviour its suitability for all aperiodic systems with compensation or dead
of the controlled system (e.g., superheater processes). times. It will show that the state controller offers clear advantages
when used in higher-order systems and control loops with long
Based on the state controller described in technical literature and dead times and actuator-dependent non-linearities.
many application reports, Mauell extended the observer concept of
the state controller by implementing essential features that have not The effect of the two alternative control concepts is illustrated for a
been fully documented in the past. steam generator with a two-line superheater (see figure below).

Essential modules of the observer concept:

• State observer
• Disturbance observer
• Actuator observer

• Dead time compensation

Example of a steam generator with a two-line superheater, displayed on the ME-VIEW operator control and monitoring system. Line 1 is
equipped with a PID controller, line 2 with state controller.

6 Observer-based State Control

In the following we will only look at the structure of the Mauell state However, this conventional state control has the following short-
controller as the structure and principle of operation of the PID comings:
controller is common knowledge.
• The state observer cannot fully compensate for the observation
We start with a summary of the concept of conventional observer- error ∆Ta - T3 and is thus not able to completely reproduce the
based state control so that you will be able to compare it with the required state variables.
Mauell state controller and easily recognize its advantages and • In the steady state, the state controller produces a permanent
innovative features. control deviation.
• Adaptation of the internal parameters to the load is practically not
Conventional State Controller with Observer
The figure below shows the basic structure of a conventional state • The state controller is adapted to the structure of the controlled
controller with state observer and secondary injection controller system. However, as secondary control loops and actuators with
their mostly non-linear behavior are also part of the system to be
implemented in a 3rd order controlled system.
controlled, they too must be taken into account. Adaptation is
therefore more difficult to achieve and the controller adjustment is
From a complete set of state variables that clearly describe the less exact.
system state, the conventional state controller generates a
manipulated variable by means of linear combination. • Dead times of the controlled system cannot be taken into account.
• There is no tool for user-friendly and objective parameter setting
Owing to the fact that only the state variable can be measured, the and optimization.
state observer derives the other required state variables T1 and T2
and transmits them to the state controller. The variable T3 is The commissioning of the conventional state controller therefore
derived by the state observer and is the equivalent to the system requires extensive knowledge of the state space representation.
deviation ∆Ta = Ta - Ta, soll.
We see that the practical use of the conventional controller is
From the observer deviation ∆Ta -T3 and the input variable Te, the limited because of the drawbacks described above. Also, plant
state observer then tries to determine the external disturbances designers and commissioning engineers, even the service
(manipulated-variable independent changes of the output variable) personnel, must have special knowledge of state space systems.
on the controlled system.

Te Ta

- Ta soll
State observer DTa
h1 x h2 x h3
+ + +

T1 T2 T3

k1 k2 k3
x x x
Te, soll + +
PI -
State controller

Conventional state controller with observer

Observer-based State Control 7

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer

Mauell State Controller with Observer (MZR) The additive connection of the state observer’s integrator output for
the elimination of the steady-state deviation is expressed by the
The Mauell state controller has inherited the basic structure of the factor k0. As the calculation of the factor k0 takes the transfer
conventional state controller which has been extended by function of the controlled system into account, inaccuracies in the
additional structural features. These new features are described in elimination of the system deviation must be expected.
the following.
Due to the fact that deviations in the steady state between the
Elimination of the Steady-state Observer Error controlled system and the model in the state observer are taken
into account by the disturbance observer, model errors, especially
In order to eliminate the steady-state observer error (∆Ta - T3), the gain factor deviations, have no influence on the control precision of
basic structure of the observer concept is extended by a the steady-state controlled system.
disturbance observer so that the observer error ∆Ta - T3 converges
towards zero. Compensation of the Non-linearities of Secondary Follower
Controllers and Actuators
Elimination of the Steady-state System Deviation
To make the state controller robust to non-linear variations of the
For known disturbances on the controlled system, the steady-state follower controller and actuator, a so-called actuator observer has
deviation of a state controller can be determined from the transfer been implemented.
function of the controlled system and the parameters of the state
controller. The actuator observer has the task of varying the state variables
T1 to T3 so that they can be used for the determination of the state
As the disturbances are statically mapped by the state observer, it controller’s manipulated variable without showing any signs of the
is possible to evaluate the contents of the integrator and as a result secondary control loop’s dynamic behavior.
compute the ‘± change’ of the state controller’s state variable in
order to eliminate the steady-state system deviation. Therefore, within the framework of the overall cascade, the
secondary control loop has only a delaying effect. It does not affect
In this context, the reference input variable can also be considered the stability of the state controller.
as a disturbance in the sense of a shift of the neutral position.
These observations formed the basis for the development of the
Mauell state controller.

Te Ta

Load balancing

Disturbance observer State observer

System parameters:

n Order
h0 h1 h2 h3
X X X X ks Gain

T Denominator
time constant

T1 T2 T3 Tt Dead time
State controller Tz Numerator
k0 k1 k2 k3
time constant
from the system
PI identification

l1 l2 l3
X X X v

Actuator observer Speed

Mauell state controller (implemented in a 3rd order controlled system) with its internal structure adapted to the order of the controlled

8 Observer-based State Control

Dead Time Compensation of the Controlled System controller, obtains the following controlled system parameters by
applying a step change and recording the response to this step
The actuator observer divides the entire feedback system into the change:
two decoupled subsystems ‘PI follow-up control’ and ‘State setpoint
control’. n = Order
k = Gain
If the controlled member of the setpoint control (in our example this T = Time constant
is the superheater) has a dead time (from the superheater inlet Tt = Dead time
temperature Te to the outlet temperature Tt), this cannot be taken
into account by the state observer. Function generators adapt these parameters to the current
operating point as a function of load.
This will also be compensated for by the actuator observer. The
actuator observer represents the third decoupled subsystem, the The only parameter of the Mauell state controller that remains to be
so-called ‘Dead time system’. Like the secondary PI follow-up set is the speed factor V. This parameter defines by what factor
control, it has only a delaying effect on the feedback control the feedback control loop is to be faster than the controlled system.
(corresponding to the dead time) and does not in any way affect
the stability of the state controller. Next, we shall briefly discuss the steps to go through to determine
the controlled system parameters.
Tools for the Calculation of the Controlled System Parameters
and the Optimization of the Mauell State Controller

A concept had to be developed that allows to determine the

controlled system parameters n, k, T and Tt and to set up and
optimize the controller parameters in a convenient and practical
way. This concept was implemented in the Mauell controller setup
tool AE 4012BS-EH.

A special algorithm based on online computing of the numerous

parameters of the disturbance quantities, actuator and state
observers and state controller and its integration in the Mauell state

Controlled system
Controlled system model

Step change
inquiry System parameters:
M - System order n
- Gain factor k s
- Denominator time constant Tn
- Numerator time constant Tz
- Dead time Tt


Controller model

Controller in PLS Kp tn tv generator

Structure of the controlled system and controller model generation for the optimization of the setting parameters

Observer-based State Control 9

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer

Measuring Value Acquisition of

the Controlled System

The measuring value acquisition

records the response of the
controlled system to a step
change of the manipulated
variable. Before the step change
is applied the controlled system
must be in the steady-state
condition, or at master controller
optimization, the follow-up control
(e.g., inlet temperature control)
must operate in automatic mode.

The amplitude of the step input to

the manipulated variable should
differ clearly from that of any
superimposed disturbances.
While the measuring values are
being recorded, the diagram axes
are automatically zoomed and
scaled to offer a good overview of
the measured data.

The transfer function of the

Measuring value acquisition of a step response
controlled system is obtained
when the controlled system has settled and returned to the steady- Identification of the Controlled System and Indication of the
state following the application of the step change. The data record Characteristic Parameters
of the measured values can now be saved together with a
comment (e.g., the corresponding load point or operating point). A mathematical model is created from the measuring data set of
the controlled system step response that clearly describes the
dynamic behavior of the controlled system.

Via menu the stored measuring values are loaded for the
identification of the controlled
system together with their time
specification and recording
information. The actual
identification starts with the
marking of the point of time
when the step change was
applied (change of the
manipulated variable).
The automatic determination of
the model parameters is
completed as soon as the optimal
model quality is reached, i.e., if
the error area between the
simulated behavior of the
controlled system on the basis of
the mathematical model and the
measuring data set of the step
response is at a minimum.
The parameters of the controlled
system are also displayed.

After the identification of the

controlled system, the parameter
set of the controlled system
model can be stored together
with a comment for
documentation purposes.
System identification during the computing of the step response with mathematical description

10 Observer-based State Control

Load Level Balancing of the
Superheater Time Response

The derived values can be used

directly for adjusting the Mauell
state controller. Only the time
constant T is varied load-
dependently, as shown in the
figure, based on the assumption
that the time constant T changes
inversely proportional to the steam
quantity. This behavior results
from the higher steam flow
velocities at a high steam quantity.

The parameters for the Mauell

state controller can be set online
by directly transmitting the derived

Load level balancing

Graphical configuration interface with online process data for entering the controlled system parameters as well as the speed factor V.

Observer-based State Control 11

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer

Comparison between PID and MZR

PID Controller

The alternative control loop with PID controller has also been The optimization procedure starts with the simulation of the closed
optimized on the basis of the data of the controlled system control loop as a response to a step change of the reference
identification. Supplementary to the procedure for the state variable. The program provides you with a continuous graphical
controller, the program module Controller Design has been representation of the optimization sequence.
The optimization procedure is completed as soon as the specified
The program module Controller Design allows you determine quality criteria are reached, supplying the optimal controller setting
optimal parameters for P, I, PI, PD and PID controllers on the basis parameters (see diagram below):
of the system model from the controlled system identification.
P component Proportion. coefficient kP
The first step is to select the system model of the ‘Controlled I component Reset time Tn [s]
system identification’ process. The program loads a graphical D component Setup time TV [s]
representation of the system model.

The desired control algorithm is specified by enabling the

parameters (kp, Tn, Tv).

The control quality can be specified by entering the maximum

overshoot and adapting the dynamic behavior of the actuator signal
to that of the actuator. Also, only moderate actuator speeds should
be selected to avoid unnecessary wear of the servo drive and

Deriving the optimal setting parameters kp, Tn, Tv for a PID controller with the help of the Controller Setup Tool

12 Observer-based State Control

Optimization Complexity

The PID controller tuning is based on the characteristic quantities n,

k, T and the parameter T of the controlled system. These
parameters can be determined in a convenient and straightforward
way using the AE4012BS-EH controller setup tool, and adjusted

Using the program module Controller Design, the PID controller

can be optimized by deriving optimal kp, Tn and Tv parameters.

Assessment of the PID Controller

The controller results can be characterized as follows:

• Rise time Longer than for the MZR

• Settling time Longer than for the MZR
• Overshoot Depending on the parameter
• Error area Larger than for the MZR
• Actuator movement Uneven, highly intervening
• Commissioning Similar to the MZR, more
complex for highly nonlinear
• Operating point dependency Partially controllable through
controlled adaptation of the
parameters kp, Tn, Tv (very

Detail diagram of the PID controller in the ME-VIEW operator control and monitoring system (line 1 of the superheater)

Observer-based State Control 13

PID Controller versus State Controller with Observer

Mauell State Controller (MZR) It was not necessary to implement feed forward control.

The analysis of the model parameters n and k and the load- Assessment of the Mauell State Controller
dependent parameter T specified for the state controller revealed a
very good model adaptation. The controller results can be characterized as follows:

The advantages of the actuator observer have been proved true as • Rise time Shorter than for the PID
only the superheater behavior from the superheater inlet • Setting time Much shorter than for the PID
temperature to the superheater outlet temperature had to be taken
into account for the parameter assignment of the state controller. • Overshoot 0%, always with asymptotic
damping and thus a good
condition for a smooth process
Possible variations from the secondary injection control, the
injection cooler and the actuator, are not taken into account in this • Error area Much smaller than for the PID
model. This increases the model quality considerably as difficult to • Actuator movements Accurate, even, allowing
model nonlinearities can be neglected. temperature adjustment with
minimum feed water quantity.
The initially selected presetting for the speed factor V (initial value • Commissioning Similar to the PID
1.5), that corresponds to the maximum value of the concurrent PID
• Operating point independence Can be compensated for by
controller, could be increased to the speed factor V = 3.5.
adjusting the load-dependent
system time constant T.
Optimization complexity

The Mauell state controller tuning is based on the characteristic

quantities n, k, T and the parameter Tt of the controlled system.
These parameters can also be determined using the AE4012BS-
EH controller setup tool, and adjusted load-dependently.

The speed factor V is the only setting parameter that affects the
dynamic behavior of the control loop. The adaptation of this
parameter does not require any specific knowledge.

Detail diagram of the MZR controller in the ME-VIEW operator control and monitoring system (line 2 of the superheater)

14 Observer-based State Control

Measured data monitoring

[°C] TA - Tr/SC TA - Tr/PID TWA - Tr : Outlet temperature


[t/h] Time

FEW/PID FEW : Injection water quantity

Momentarily superposed control

FEW/SC (interfering) command. The commands are
set off with a time delay to get clear


Qualitative comparison of the controller results TA - Tr / ZR (state controller) and TA - Tr PID (PID controller)

Retrofitting Projects Conclusions

The state controller with observer can be retrofitted to boilers with The above comparison between a PID controller and a Mauell
conventional process control system (hard-wired control and state controller showed that the Mauell state controller with
analog feedback system with control console operating elements) observer has clear advantages when used in complex systems that
as well as to newer plants with digital process control system and would be difficult to control using standard algorithms.
video terminals, simply by integrating a module of the ME 4012
digital process control system in the existing control systems. The The control behavior illustrated in the example has been verified by
existing connections between the control room, controller modules concrete industrial applications and proven its worth. Mauell
and servo drives remain unchanged. The integration can be observer-based control is for example implemented since October
carried out while the system is operating provided the necessary 1996 in block 5 (coal-/oil-fueled, 420t/h steam capacity) of the
preparations have been made. Hafen power plant, Stadtwerke Bremen AG.

It is also possible to integrate the Mauell state controller on the Other applications, like for example the four boilers and the 1000t/h
basis of a Mauell hardware platform so that the plant operator is steam generator of the waste-fueled power station of AWG
provided with the familiar operator control and signalizing concept. Wuppertal, confirm the successful employment of the Mauell state
The communication with the third-party system is established over controller with observer.
a serial or parallel-wire connection. The parameters can be
assigned online.

Observer-based State Control 15


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