Extended version of paper "Plantwide control: Towards a systematic procedure" from ESCAPE 12 symposium, Haag, May 2002.
In 2006, the paper received the Best Paper of the year 2004 Award in Computers and Chemical Engineering.
Control structure design deals with the structural decisions of the control system, including what to control and how to pair the variables to form control loops. Although these are very important issues, these decisions are in most cases made in an ad-hoc fashion, based on experience and engineering insight, without considering the details of each problem. In the paper, a systematic procedure for control structure design for complete chemical plants (plantwide control) is presented. It starts with carefully defining the operational and economic objectives, and the degrees of freedom available to fulfill them. Other issues, discussed in the paper, include inventory and production rate control, decentralized versus multivariable control, loss in performance by bottom-up design, and a definition of a the "complexity number" for the control system.