Project Summary

COOPOL (Control and Real-Time Optimisation of Intensive Polymerisation Processes) is an EU collaborative research project. Its goal is to achieve a significant increase in the product quality of polymerisation reactions for intensified semi-batch and ‘smart-scale’ continuous polymerisation processes in the chemical industry.

A downloadable document summarising the project is available here

AIM

COOPOL will develop new methods and tools for modelling and control, based on real-time sensing, which will facilitate the development of a new paradigm of intensive, low-impact, sustainable chemical processes. The new processes developed will be benchmarked against current industrial processes, including technological, economic, risk and environmental factors leading to the rapid transfer of research into innovation.

FUNDING DETAIL

Programme: FP7-NMP Modelling and control of intensified process systems
Project Reference: 280827
Project Dates: 2012-03-01 to 2015-02-28 (36 months)
Funding: 3392800 Euro (4584430 Euro project cost)


For further programme detail please visit the CORDIS website

BACKGROUND

Transitioning the Process Industries towards a more sustainable model of manufacturing is a key priority for the European Research Area and is crucial for continued growth and global competitiveness. Achieving this requires the adoption of novel reactor technologies, greener reactions and an increase in the use of intelligent systems within the processing industries. This means improving processes through the use of real-time information and the ability to affect processes in real-time.

Within the chemicals sector polymer production plays a significant role, with a European market share of 25% and providing employment for 1.6 million people within EU27. Many polymer products are manufactured using batch and semi-batch reactors. In most cases the process parameters, such as temperature profile, feeds, etc follow a specific time schedule, which has been fixed after an expensive period of product and process development. This tight recipe schedule is sensitive to disturbances e.g., unexpected variation in operating conditions, variation in feed purity etc., which inevitably leads to variations in polymer structure and to inter-batch variability and off-spec products.

Furthermore, the use of empirically determined recipes with fixed-time controls does not allow intensification of the process which requires time-varying feeds and reactor temperature to run the reaction faster and hence closer to its limits, and also to switching from a semi-batch to other reactor or process types.