Economic Model Predictive Control for Zero-Emission Industrial Processes

Zhanhao Zhang: An Economic Model Predictive Control Based Advanced Process Control System Could Reduce Oil Concentration of Discharged Water for Oil and Gas Production.

Reducing industrial emissions has become a major topic in recent years, and many countries have published legislation for it. Produced water from offshore oil and gas production, for example, is a significant industrial emission in Demark. The produced water contains pollutants that have an impact on the ocean ecosystem. Therefore, the produced water must be cleaned before being dumped into the ocean.

This PhD project is carried out in close collaboration with the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (DHRTC) and Aalborg University Esbjerg (AAU). Furthermore, the companies ABB and Total will follow the project and provide inputs and advice regarding industrial requirements. The main goal of this PhD project is to develop an economic Model Predictive Control (MPC) based advanced process control (APC) system that significantly reduces the oil in the produced water discharge from offshore installations.

As the underground hydrocarbon reservoir fields in the Danish North Sea mature, the increasing amount of produced water (PW) becomes an important challenge in offshore oil and gas production. The produced water contains oil and other pollutants and must be cleaned before it is discharged to the surrounding sea. Therefore, the treatment quality of the produced water is a significant environmental concern in offshore oil and gas production. Meanwhile, the slug flow phenomenon of the oil and gas extraction processes causes large production variance and traditional control algorithm can’t handle it. We want to implement economic MPC to solve these problems.

The figure illustrates the framework of the advanced process control system which will be implemented in this PhD project. We develop the APC system with high-level software engineering skills to efficiently handle and coordinate various APC system modules, such as multi-threads, synchronization, and a high-performance database, etc. By dockerizing the APC system, the APC system can be readily installed on a simulation model and actual oil and gas facilities. We want to show that economic MPC may stabilize the Oil and Gas extraction processes’ unstable operation point, avoiding the slug flow issue and resulting in high oil production with low production variability.

PhD project

By: Zhanhao Zhang

Section: Scientific Computing

Principal supervisor: John Bagterp Jørgensen

Co-supervisor: Steen Hørsholt

Project titleEconomic Model Predictive Control for Zero-Emission Industrial Processes

Term: 01/06/2021 → 31/05/2024


John Bagterp Jørgensen
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 30 88


Steen Hørsholt
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 30 15


Zhanhao Zhang
PhD student
DTU Compute