Anti-Slug Control Experiments Using Nonlinear Observers
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAmerican Control Conference (ACC). 2013, 1056-1062. 10.1109/ACC.2013.6579976
Abstract: To prevent slug-flow on offshore oil production units, controlling a subsea pressure is the recommended solution. However, the subsea pressure is not often available as a measurement. The top-side pressure is usually measured but it is difficult to use for stabilizing control, because of its Right Half-Plane zero dynamics combined with nonlinearity. We have used the top-side pressure as measurement for different observers to estimate state variables of the system, and then used the estimated states for control. This scheme was tested in experiments using three types of observers. A simple Luenberger observer with a large gain was found to be more robust than the standard Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF). We modified the UKF to a Fast UKF for time-scale separation of the closed-loop system. The resulting observer was robust, also less sensitive to measurement noise compared to the simple Luenberger observer when measuring the top-side pressure. Surprisingly, the nonlinear observers were not able to work in closed-loop when the subsea pressure was used as the measurement. On the other hand, a linear observer worked very well for this case with a larger operating range compared to that of the top-side pressure.